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   What's  A  Dedicated Captain  Like  You  Doing..
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           Page Two
Note: Music soundtrack is high quality and slow loading in some cases. Patience. :)


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"Good! Then go away cause I'm telling you, I'm perfectly--"
Dixie sneezed and immediately, she gasped, grabbing
her stomach.

"Oh, really?" Gage moved in for the kill. "That was normal,
eh?.. Come on, Dix. Let me see your stomach!" Johnny said,
reaching out for palpating check.

McCall whipped up the blanket to her chin, deflecting
Johnny's hands as she resumed her angry stare.
"Touch me, and I swear I'll bite your hand off!
Today is gonna be all MINE!" she yelled, barely
keeping it below a quiet roar.

--------------------------------------------------------------
"Is there a problem here?" came an authoritative
voice.

Both the battling Dixie and Gage looked up, kinda
startled for a moment. They had forgotten about
the cop being there. And his report.

"No..no.."
"Nope. Not at all." they both stuttered.

"We're through.." said Dixie firmly. Johnny said
the same words, meekly obedient. "We're through,
officer.. uh,...I guess.."

"Okay, then you wouldn't mind if I go over a few
details with Miss McCall here about the Miller boy.
That's if.. you found that she's still medically ABLE to.."
the police officer hinted.

"I AM." Dixie punctuated, dismissing Johnny with
a wave.

Johnny cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Go right
ahead, officer." Gage postured, backing away and
wrapping up his stethoscope.

He fired off one last glare at her when the cop wasn't looking.
"You call us back if ANY of those symptoms return. Understood?!"
he hissed, stabbing down a finger at the air. That gesture
immediately turned into a farewell wave when the police man
glanced up at Johnny with a disapproving raised eyebrow.

Dixie celebrated. "Mother's keeper.." And then she stuck out
her tongue at him. "In...your....dreams..."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, having chalked up one save and another one as unresolved,
Station 51 tucked their tails back between their legs and
left the neighborhood. The engine returned to base as unavailable
and the squad remained 10-7 to Rampart until everyone was
freed up from their mutual responsibilities.

Gage continued to pore over Dixie's symptoms.

"Maybe I should let one of the docs know about her." he mumbled
to Chet on the way back.

"I wouldn't if I were you. You still have to WORK with Dixie later on,
man. Do you really want to face her once she's over that cold
of hers?"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was an hour later, not long after the Miller boy had been
stabilized cardiac wise from respiratory acidosis. He had gone
on to Broncoscopy for a thorough check on the extent of the
alveoli damage that he sustained from his aspiration of
chlorinated pool water into both his lungs.

Kel was very happy with the teenager's labwork, C spine
and chest x-ray films. He was being kept under the paralytic
agent to thwart another surprise occurance of intubation
laryngospasm. The boy had been reunited with his family
and things looked good on the EEG. Dr. Brackett was almost
certain that no brain damage took place while he had been
arrested. ::Helps that someone was there to work on his resuscitation
so quickly.:: he theorized. ::My gut feeling on his neurological status
will just be confirmed when he wakes up tomorrow morning.::

That line of thinking reminded Kel yet again of his short,
revealing conversation with Roy DeSoto about Dixie McCall.

The four firemen from 51's had gone back to the station as soon
as they were freed from the Miller kid's care and paperwork,
jammed together in the rescue squad. He had wished that
he could've talked to Johnny Gage directly about his head nurse's
symptomatic findings, but he had been too tied up with his
teenaged patient's surgical intubation procedure.

Kelly Brackett excused himself from the Emergency Department
floor, letting Carol know that he'd be in his office for a few minutes.
His simple nod and gesture toward its ornately polished dark oaken
door guaranteed that Carol would indeed notify him the moment
another patient case announced itself either by paramedic biophone
or via the waiting room.

The babble of hospital activity was mercifully muffled when he
shut the door behind himself. Kel Brackett immediately went
to the olive green phone on the desk.

His fingers danced over a familar sequence of numbers on
the rotary dial and he impatiently sat through four telephone
rings before he finally heard a sleepy voice pick up. "Dix?
It's Kel." he began. "Talk to me."

He heard a tired groan on the other end of the line followed by
a tight cough and a rustling of blankets when McCall's gravelly
voice finally addressed him. "...hmm. Kel? For Pete's sake, what
time is it?"

"Time for your attending physician to get some answers pronto."
he said firmly. "Just what were you thinking when you sent the
paramedics away following your little stunt nose diving into
your apartment complex's swimming pool?"

In a point assuredly in her favor in Dr. Brackett's book, Dixie
McCall immediately got angry. "Give me one good reason why
I shouldn't hang up on you right now, Kel Brackett. I was sleeping
soundly for the first time in..."

"Roy DeSoto. He was worried enough about you to let me know
what had happened to you in the Treatment Room after your neighbor
was brought in." Brackett fired back.

"That b*st*rd!" and there was a silence on the other end of the phone.
" Whatever happened to patient/paramedic confidentiality?! I didn't know
Johnny Gage was such an irritating example of a gossiping SOB!"

"Pipe down! He only did his job like any paramedic worth his salt
should've done. He notified his attending medical director of a potential
medical problem. The fact that he did it through his partner's a moot point
and you know it."

Dixie quieted down, thinking of her unexpected rescue victim. "How's
Ger doing?" she asked, sitting up in bed, smothering up a wince so
it wouldn't be apparent vocally.

The lamp turning on in her darkened bedroom did more than just stab into her
eyes.
It brought on the mother of all headaches and a wave of unexpected
deep nausea which the nurse fought down by putting a hand to her mouth.

She bore through Kel's ire bravely.

"I'll get to Gerald Miller as soon as I know that YOU'RE all right. If you
were symptomatic enough to red flag Roy and Johnny, you automatically
red flag me. So again, I say, talk to me.." he said no nonsense.

Dixie sighed, pulling a waste can full of used tissue and half eaten cough
drops into her lap. "There isn't much to say, Kel. What's so unusual about
having a stomach virus?"

"When did that come on?"

"Yesterday morning at work."

"What are your symptoms and vital signs?"

"Oh come off it, Kel. Quit being a mother hen. I'm not a hypochondriac
to take notes on every little incidence of the sniffles."

"Humor me."

"Kel....no." she spat tightly. "This is my day off, and it's gonna stay that
way.
We're not going to be getting together over dinner tonight. No police officer's
gonna stop by for more details on Ger's drowning. And no pesky off duty
paramedic is gonna come calling to my front door. Nada. End of story.
I know my rights as an ex-emergency medical patient."

"What about my rights as your closest friend? Does that matter any?
Forget about my white coat, Dix. That and my stethoscope are still
hanging up on the hat rack across the room!" he boomed.

McCall sighed, resting her head onto her bare knees. "I'm sorry, Kel.
I get cranky with colds. When I get them.." she bemoaned.

"Oh, so now you're telling me that you've got a cold and not a stomach
bug. Which is it?"

"I don't know.. and I don't care. All I want is twenty four hours uninterrupted
down time as is due me on my off day. Is that such an unreasonable request?
The fact that Ger Miller's accident interceded has absolutely no bearing on
the issue!"

"You're right, Dix. It doesn't." Kel agreed rapidly, toning down the frustration
in his voice. "And thank you for being there. He's gonna make it with flying
colors.."

"Paralysis?"

"None. His films are clear."

"Coma?"

"There're no signs. You guys were absolutely amazing with keeping him
one hundred percent oxygenated. Just be grateful to Brantigan and Grow for
Roy's military needle cric technique that he so kindly shared with me during
the last paramedics meeting. Miller's already been decannulated and
there's no indication of any subglottic stenosis at all. Now enough about him."

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"Kel, read my lips, or at least listen to them. Go away. I'm fine. I'll call
you after sundown in an update. Just keep Johnny and Roy outta my hair
tonight and I'll think about staying your best friend. Good night or good
afternoon and good riddance!" and she slammed her elegant white and
gold Victorian phone receiver down and cut off the connection.

Kel Brackett winced at the vigorous slam of noise into his ear. He
held the phone in his palm for a few seconds, half considering calling
Dixie back again. :: Do I have the right to bother her any more? She
sounds like she knows what she's doing. And I'll get my second phone
call in five hours.:: he thought, looking at his watch.

McCall barely made it to the bathroom in time before vomiting and
suffering a bout of miserable diarrhea. "Oh, god I hate the flu bug.."
she groaned. Long minutes later, wet from the shower and naked,
Dixie crawled back into bed and pulled the covers over her head.

Making a decision, Dr. Brackett decided candor was the better part of
valor and he dialed the number out to Station 51.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Los Angeles County Fire Department, this is Fireman Mike Stoker.
Can I help you?" Mike glanced up, "Gage. It's for you. It's Brackett."

"It is?" he said, his mouth full of burger. "It's about time I heard from
him. Roy, did I ever tell you I love you for spilling the beans about Dix's
little fainting stunt to him?"

"No. But I think you can refrain from expressing yourself. Joanne
might get a little jealous." DeSoto quipped.

Johnny jogged to the phone, dodging around all the gangs' shoulders
in his hurry to cut physical corners to reach the doctor. "Dr. Brackett?
Johnny Gage."

"Gage. I talked with her."

"And?"

"And...there's nothing more I can do at the moment. She's adamant about
refusing to see me or any other doctor for her illness."

"That's sheer craziness, doc." Johnny said, spitting out his mouthful of
burger into a napkin. "She's gotta be seen sometime. You weren't there.
I was. She was paler than anything once I rolled her face out of the
water."

"Did she breathe any of that in?"

"No. She woke up too fast for that."

"Did her BP stay bottomed out?"

"No. It got back up into the low hundreds."

"And that was sitting up, right?"

"Yeah, doc. Look. Now you know as much as I do. So
bottom line. Are ya gonna do anything about her?"

"I can't. Not by law."

"I'm going over there."

"No you aren't. You'll only get hauled off for
trespassing. Dixie mentioned something to that effect."

Gage threw up his hands. "Wonderful. Now how are we gonna
have any guarantees that she's all right?"

"I sort of got one."

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"How...?" Gage asked sarcastically.

"She's gonna call me at sundown with an update."

"Fair enough. I'll call off Roy, too, from going over there only so
long as we hear from you as soon as you hear from her."

"Consider that a promise."

"Thanks, doc."

"No problem. I'll hear from you next rescue call. I got
the floor from lunch time through the rest of the night."

"Bye, Doctor Brackett. Talk to you then."

Johnny hung up the phone.

He wandered back over to his chair and sat down,
ignoring the bowl of potato salad that Chet pushed over
to his end of the table to cheer him up.

Cap inquired finally. "So, how's she doing? Is she gonna
get checked out?"

"No."

Roy looked up from his lunch. "You're kidding."

"Wish I was, pally. Kel just made me promise that
you and I won't stop by over there in between calls."

"On the strength of what guarantee?!" Chet whined.

"On the fact that Dixie's promised to keep phone tabs with
him every couple of hours."

"And Kel Brackett bought that line of malarkey?" Cap
sighed sarcastically.

"Yep." Johnny said, balling up his napkin and tossing
it onto his plate in irritation.

Roy had some input. "You know, fellas, this could be a case of
personal feelings getting in the way. Those two did date once
you know. Maybe they're dating again. It could explain the doc's
lack of medical bulldog tenacity because it concerns someone
he truly cares about. He doesn't want to offend her."

"That's just stupid, Roy. If you were Dixie right now, being sick
and all, stepping on eggshells is the last thing I'd be doing
about you. I'd be busting down your door with a full med kit."
Johnny interjected loudly.

"I don't think it'll come to that." DeSoto grinned reasonably.
"After all, Dixie's a veteran registered nurse of twenty years.
She'd never let an illness go on untreated if it were truly serious."

"I'm still not comfortable." Gage said, narrowing his eyes.

"Neither am I." said Chet, fully in agreement. "I think we should
go around the both of them and let Joe Early in on this. No one
will be held accountable if he's the one who suddenly shows up
on Dixie's doorstep. He's gotta go over there tonight anyway."

"How so, Kelly?" Marco asked.

"To deliver a box of tickets for the Fireman's Annual Picnic
Event. Dixie's one of the primary sellers this year since Gage
didn't come forward and volunteer himself for it like he did
for last year's."

"Why should I have? I'm a rotten seller." Johnny defended.

"Ummm hmm, but you're too good a paramedic not to
meddle with a friend who might be in trouble and I'm too
good a fireman to let someone burn themselves unnecessarily.
I'm gonna go call Joe right now." he said, getting up. "Look, you
two have done your job, and so has Dr. Brackett. It's now my
turn to go to bat. Calling Joe'll only take a minute. Excuse me.
And Gage, if you touch my burger, you're dead meat.."
Chet warned as he dialed the phone without turning around.

The others laughed when Johnny snatched his creeping hand
back into his lap.

Roy leaned over the table. "This sorta compromises the patient
paramedic confidentiality thing. You feel good about Chet
getting Dr. Early involved, Cap?"

"You bet your *ss I do. Somebody's gotta take a stand. Cause who's
gonna watch out for Dixie's, if we don't?" Hank replied, biting into a
potato chip.

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dixie McCall awoke to a full darkness, broken
only by the pale moonlight streaming in through
the lacy curtains of her bedroom window. Her bleary
fever dry eyes, made out the time on her nightstand
clock. 00:38. She tried to move, in a reach for a
half full, luke warm water glass, when the sharp belly pain
doubled her up making her grab around both knees,
in a surge of choking nausea.

"Owww..." she moaned. "Ok, enough's enough.." she
grunted, half sobbing. She hugged herself under the
blankets in suffering, burning agony. "I give up. I give in.
I'm going to see a doctor. I promise....Just...just
ease up and let me dress." she said to her stomach.

Her belly pain, had moved. It was now pinpointed, in a
spot between her right hip bone and her navel.

She frowned, unable to make the significant connection
with that new finding. Her mind was too muddled.

Dixie had pulled on pants over her pajama shorts and had
snatched up her car keys from the dresser,
when the pain toppled her onto the rug.

She lay there, curled in a ball, soundless, as wave after
wave of pure agony swept over her. Her bedroom
furniture and the moonlit ceiling blurred. "No, not gonna
black out. Oh, boy. Kel's never gonna forgive me for
trying to wait it out." she cried, leaking tears of misery.

Dixie crawled trembling fingers across the rug until they
reached the phone cord trailing from the Victorian receiver on
her nightstand. With a jerk, she pulled the phone down
from the table. It clattered in a tangle of cord around
her head. "...ohhh..hhh..." McCall moaned, dragging
the phone and its hand held receiver to her face.

She dialed seven numbers, leaving the phone tipped
over sideways, out to the only number she could remember
entirely.

A male voice came on the other end of the line, questioning,
and concerned, when Dixie didn't answer.

Dixie passed out close to the receiver, where her strained
breathing could be heard clearly, in fevered distress.

The time was 00:51.

***************************************************************
From: "wone3" J.Wilds
Date: Wed Oct 27, 2004 1:40 pm
Subject: The Call out

The number Dixie remembered and dialed was Station 51 and
she had been really lucky as the whole station was just returning
from a vacant house fire with no injuries to be transported that had
occupied all of them for the last hour or so.

Mike Stoker had just pulled the engine in place and raced to pick up
the phone beating Captain Stanley to it.

He heard the distressed breathing on the other end and when he tried
to get the person to talk, he received no answer from the other
end. "Can you please tell me who you are? " he said into the phone.

Suddenly, Johnny realized that they hadn't heard anything about Dixie
since being called out for the coaster incident. "Do you think it is
her?" he said aloud. "Ask the person if it is Dixie." he said.

Mike called into the phone, "Dixie, Miss McCall is that you?" He
heard a quiet groan on the other end.

Roy, who was right beside the receiver heard the groan, too, and grew
concerned that it might be Dixie.

Roy called over to the Captain, "Cap, can you call us in a silent
alarm for Dixie's place? We should go check it out to be sure. Could
you also call over to the hospital? Doctors Brackett and Early will
want to know what's going on, we promised to keep them in the loop as
they promised us."

Cap reassured them that the docs would be called as he hurried to
call the alarm into dispatch. "Dispatch this is Station 51, calling
in a silent alarm for squad 51 to 213 Elm Street, Apartment 6."

Dispatch answered, ##10-4. Squad 51, time out, 00:51.##

Captain answered, "10-4, KMG 365." He went over to the squad with
the call slip as the guys were waiting in it. Marco ran over to open the
bay door for the squad to exit.

Cap told the guys, "Be careful, but get there quickly. We'll make the
call. If you need to take her in, you can stay available from the
hospital. Call us once you find out anything though, OK?"

Both Johnny and Roy echoed, "We will, Cap, and thanks." They
then sped out of the bay on a speed trip to Dixie's apartment.

***********************************************************************
From: "Patti Keiper"

On the way, with lights and siren running, Roy DeSoto
had a thought. "Johnny, do you think we'll need PD for
this call? We might freak out a lot of Dixie's neighbors
if we force our way into her place without alerting em
ahead of time."

Johnny let out a big sigh, crumpling up the address slip.
"It is the middle of the night, and you know how we need
the police for most of our other calls like this. I'll raise em
on the horn." said Gage with a nod. He lifted the mic,
"L.A., this is Squad 51."

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##Go ahead, 51.##

"Send out a squad car to our silent alarm's location. We may
need official authorization for a break in." he said and then he
hung up the microphone head onto its spigot.

##10-4, 51. LAPD says their ETA is fifteen minutes.##

"What?!" Johnny said in exclamation. "That's sheer craziness!
What if Dixie's condition's serious? We can't wait that long just
hanging about outside her patio...." he empathized out loud
as he listened to L.A. notifiy a police patrol car about their
medical emergency private home entry request.

Roy said. "If we can't see her in the window, that's what
we're gonna haveta do, junior. A phone line with a history
of heavy breathing doesn't mean a life or death situation."

"But it doesn't negate it either." Gage said, very unhappy,
as he clunked a jacketted elbow down on the open edge
of his passenger window. "You told me you and Stoker
definitely heard a groan on that line."

"It IS near Halloween, Johnny."

"Yeah, but why would kids prank call a firehouse? Usually
kids think we're really cool and...leave us alone." Gage
said.

"I can think of half a dozen crank calls B shift's had over the
last two months that started up just like this one."
Roy just shrugged. "We'll have at least some answers
in...." he looked at his watch in the glow of the bar lights
reflecting off the squad's hood. "....four minutes....."

"I got a better idea....." Johnny said with a finger snap.

"What?" Roy asked, glancing away from the road.

Johnny picked up the radio mic again.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Engine 51 roared off the freeway ramp and pulled up behind
the squad in front of Dixie's apartment complex. The noise
of her arriving Code Three woke up everyone within ear shot
to a distance of two hundred yards.

"Is this your idea of a brilliant idea?" DeSoto asked Gage
while they wound through the night clothed crowd of people,
now milling about the pool area, fully loaded with gear.

"Yeah..." Johnny grinned. "Now we have witnesses..."
"And Cap's just as concerned about that phone call
as we are. He's not gonna yell. Not in the slightest."

"You're right about that." Roy considered. "It's not like
it's a busy night for firehouse calls. Being available here
or at the station's pretty much the same thing I guess."

"Exactly.." Johnny said.

As they neared apartment six, the gang piled out
and went immediately to the front entryway to ring
the doorbell while Roy and Johnny covered the back
patio facing the moonlit pool to see what they could see.

Johnny upped his ante. "Would someone turn on the lights
out here? We gotta see what we're doing!" he shouted to
the babbling, gossiping crowd of residents around them.

The off hours overhead suddenly kicked on over the
party hut at the far end of the pool, lighting their way
through the thick palms and bushes surrounding Dixie's
patio.

"Thank you!" shouted Roy. Then he mumbled. "Geesh,
talk about an abundance of bystander help."

Johnny's HT came to life in his jacket pocket. He
pulled it out. It was Cap. ##No answer at the front door
at the bell or with the knocker. And we've no windows
to look inside. How about on your end?##

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"Still getting there. I wouldn't say Dixie's a premier..."
he grunted as he forced O2 tank and com box through
the hedges.." gardening type. It's a sheer jungle over
here, but we're getting there." Johnny told Hank.

"She does like her privacy.." Roy grinned.

Gage sighed and finally his shoes reached the concrete
slab of her patio. "You know, there's another reason
why I used the engine to wake everybody up."

"Why's that?" Roy asked as he, too, fought through
the bushes to join his grinning partner on Dixie's
back yard landing.

A commotion on the sidewalk of fast stepping slippers got
their attention and a thick, hidden ivy covered gate
that neither Roy nor Johnny knew was there, suddenly swung
open onto the patio where they were, revealing a woman in a
robe of quilted pastels with a thick ring of keys in her hand.

"That's why.." Gage pointed at her. "I figured one of these
crowd folks just had to be the land lady.." Johnny said, tilting
his head. "Dragging out the Ward, too, just bettered our
chances in finding her.."

"Will wonders never cease.." Roy sighed with a half smile,
pulling off his helmet. He quickly explained the situation to
the land lady about Dixie McCall.

"Oh, sure.. Here, let me let you in. The poor dear. We all
thought she was just tired from saving Gerald Miller. The
kids saw her go back inside right after you fellas left."

Johnny was still peeking through the windows, shining his
flashlight. He couldn't see anything. "Thanks, Ma'am, for
coming. You see, the cops are delayed a bit. And this can't
wait."

"No, of course it can't.." said the landlady. "Here you go boys.
Can I come in? I'll be your entry witness.." she volunteered.

"That's what we had in mind, Ma'am.." Johnny said as
the landlady opened the glass patio door with a flick of
a long skeleton key.

Roy and Johnny immediately went inside, shouting Dixie's
name. The landlady trailed behind and turned on the lights
for them.

"She's not in here.." said Roy, leaving the bathroom.
"Looks like she's been vomiting." he said about an
unflushed toilet. "Some diarrhea, too." He flushed it
away after Johnny had a look at it.

Johnny let in Cap and the others through the front door
and quickly, the gang cased the living room, den,
the closest bedroom....

Finally, they found her on the carpetting, face down with a
phone receiver in her hand, in the farther one.

"Cap, we'll need an ambulance.." Roy said.

"You got it, pal. I'll be right back."

Johnny unwrapped the phone cord from around Dixie's
body and hung up the phone into its cradle, setting the whole
thing back on the nightstand while DeSoto knelt down, feeling
for a carotid. "Dixie? Can you hear me?"

Together, he and Johnny gently rolled her over onto her left
side from off of her stomach, supporting her head and neck in
a line, carefully, leaving her legs bent up to her stomach as they
checked to see if she was breathing. She was, shallowly.

Dixie just moaned at an arm pinch. "Altered level, Johnny.
Marco," he asked looking up. "..can you get her on some O2?"

"Yeah."

"Make it high flow."

Hank returned after his HT call outside and
crouched down, "Can we move her to the bed? It
might make it easier for you two to work."

Johnny got done sweeping Dixie's head, neck and back
for any blood or misalignment. "Yeah, I'm not finding anything
here. She didn't hurt herself falling at least. Her c-spine's clear."

The gang lifted her to the bed with a sheet, leaving
the others pulled down. She was placed onto her back and
Roy and Johnny piled the gear around her after the O2 was
set over her face.

Stoker thought ahead and placed pillows under
Dixie's knees to keep them bent, remembering her
unexpressed pain from earlier in the afternoon.

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Cap began a hail out to Rampart while Johnny loosened
Dixie's clothes and pants for breathing's sake and got an initial
set of vital signs. "Chet, see if you can wake her past groaning.
I don't know why she's not conscious yet. The oxygen should've
helped her regain more awareness a full minute ago."

"That's if this is just another syncopal episode." DeSoto said
as he got a blood pressure off of her. His expression changed
into a more serious frown. "78/52. She's real warm, too."

"Sepsis?" Johnny guessed.

"Maybe. Check her abdomen. You remember what happened
to her this afternoon better than I do." DeSoto admitted.

"Not really. She wasn't very revealing." But Johnny checked.
He found mild rigidity in the lower right quadrant and
he heard noisy bowel sounds through his stethoscope.

"Ok." Kelly began talking to McCall loudly. "Come on. Dixie,
can you open your eyes for me? It's Chet Kelly from Station
51. We got your call ok. Everyone's here. Hey, open those
gorgeous peepers of yours and say hello to your house guests.
Millie the land lady's here, too. Johnny, hand me your penlight.
I'll check out her pupils for you."

Gage tossed Chet his light. "What'dya got?"

Kelly reported a finding after a few seconds. "P.e.a.r.l."

"Figures." Johnny huffed in frustration. "Keep at it.
We'll need her talkin to learn anything more."

"And... she's starting to flinch." Chet continued.

"That's a little better. Just don't kiss her. She may get
mad at ya." Johnny said with volume, trying a bad
joke to get any kind of a cognitive reaction out of
the sick nurse.

"Why not? She's pretty enough.." Kelly quipped,
going along, equally loud.

Dixie blinked and then she coughed. And then the
pain returned, full blown. "Oh, guys. I ..thu you'd nev ...here.."
she moaned, drawing her knees up even higher than
the pillows. "Oh ..gaa ..make it sto-- p p.." she sobbed,
with the emotions hardly reaching her features as much as
it did in her voice.

"Dix?" Johnny asked, "Open your eyes.." he said,
shaking her. "Tell us what's happening.." he
ordered firmly.

She just made a non-sensical noise and shuddered
in a fever chill.

Hank got a reply on the biophone. It was Dr. Morton.
"Stand by, Rampart. I'll pass you off to one of
the paramedics now. We've got a thirty two year old
female with an acute abdomen, non traumatic." he
informed. Then he mouthed the word "Morton" at
his men when they looked up from getting a Normal
Saline I.V. ready.

Roy took the phone. "Rampart. Our victim's semi-conscious.
Non responsive to verbal commands. B/P's 78/52, Pulse's 90.
Her respirations are 20 and shallow and both pupils are equal
and reactive. There's no signs of falling injury but there is evidence
of gastric and intestinal upset with a fever. We found mild guarding
in her lower right quadrant. She's on fifteen liters of O2."

Morton nodded his head and then he pressed the talk button
in the base station. ##Maintain her O2. Start an I.V., 51. Normal
Saline. Administer a 250 to 500 cc's bolus and titrate until her
pressure's at least 90 or better systolic. Then turn it TKO.
Conduct a head to toe survey and get a better neurological
assessment. Look for any abdominal distension or signs
of pulsatile masses. Palpate her flank on the effected side for
any CVA tenderness. Also, draw a red top for analysis. She's
been vomiting and losing digestive material intestinally, so I'm
gonna assume it's been a while since she's eaten anything. Give
her some Dextrose at 50%. 25 gms in an I.V. push. Let's hope her
stuporous state's due to hypoglycemia and that it isn't septic
involvement. 100 mgs Thiamine won't hurt either. In fact, give her
some. And get an oral temperature for me if you can, 51. Monitor
her on EKG for any altered rhythm. Report back to me in two
minutes with any new details. If not, transport her as soon as
possible. ##

"10-4, I.V. Normal Saline titrated to the hemodynamic status
margin minimum. A red top followed by 25 gms Dex50 I.V.,
and 100 mgs Thiamine. EKG check followed by a condition
update and immediate transport."

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Millie wanted to know. "What's all that stuff?"

Cap answered, "Salt water and sugar, with one of the B vitamins,
a heartbeat reading, and then a fast ticket outta here."

"Huh...Whatever happened to the good ol smelling salts and
patting the wrists routine? That worked fine in reviving folks
awake in my day.." Millie interjected.

Johnny and Roy just smiled.

They got down to business re-examining Dixie for problems
visually and by feel and found only a few bruises on her palms
from the CPR she had given Ger and a few minor scrapes
on her hips from when she dragged the boy out of the pool.

No masses or pulsations were found anywhere in her abdomen
beyond the rigidity that was just starting to become apparent.

After they had given her a good once over and had connected
Dixie to the heart monitor, they covered her up with a sheet
for warmth.

A minute later, following the energizing Thiamine,
all the sugar and the actively pushed fluid bolus, Dixie finally showed
some mental life. Her eyes fluttered open. For good measure,
she jerked her hand out of Kelly's concerned one." I heard that
joke, you two nutcases. I just couldn't answer.." she growled.
"Not yet, anyway. Just how much is all this attention gonna cost
me? I've never needed an ambulance before.."

"Hardly anything and ...we're glad you liked it.." Johnny said.
"And everybody ELSE'S glad that you're conscious. Now you
know the routine. Quit griping and answer my questions already."

Dixie sighed under her O2 mask and lifted her knees a little
higher at a particularly viscious pain stab. "Go.."

"What are your symptoms? We already know about
the fever, diarrhea and the vomiting."

"Abdominal pain. Surprise!"

Roy and Johnny made a face. Chet just laughed.

"Do you have any allergies?"

"No."

"Are you on any medications or have you taken anything
for this?"

"None and no."

"What kind of abdominal history do you have? Anything like a
past incarcerated hernia, intussuception, cholecystitis, cystitis,
duodenal ulcers, diverticulitis, abdominal aortic aneurysm,
kidney infections, kidney stones, pancreatitis,
pelvic inflammatory disease...."

Dixie just rolled her eyes at the last one.

"Sorry.. And I know you haven't had any kids recently.."

She glared at Gage indignantly.

"..ever.." he amended self consciously, clearing his throat.

Dixie let him off the look-that-could-kill hook.
"None on all counts, Johnny. All I know is that I hurt.
Horribly. And I'm so hot I feel like I'm gonna die." she
whimpered instead.

"No you're not. Your pressure's sitting at an even 100
now. Up twenty millibars." Roy grinned.

"Speak for yourself. You aren't hurting." she snivelled.

"He could be if you punch him one.." Chet suggested.

"Don't tempt me.." she spat.

Right then, Johnny tested for rebound tenderness over
her stomach and found a definite positive finding
when she shoved his hand away with a sharp intake of
breath and suddenly grew five shades paler. " Uh huh..
And right over McBurney's point, Roy.."

Dixie met both the paramedics' eyes with a blank stare.
"You've got to be kidding. Appendicitis?" she pegged.

"We don't know that and none of us will. Not until after a
battery of testing.." Roy admitted.

"Cap, how long on that ambulance? She's.. VERY..
stabilized now." Gage asked, putting a bored chin into a
hand on an elbow lean.

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"Let ME find out for ya, Cap." and Kelly neatly exited the
apartment to avoid the storm to come. "I'll....just.. show them
the way through darkest Africa out here..." he said.

"My garden's not THAT bad! Oww.." Dixie fired back,
doubling over when her shouting irritated her side again.

Gage returned to his questioning. "Last oral intake?"

"Uhh,, I don't remember.." she sighed weakily from the pillows.

Roy rubbed his nose. "Morton called her diminished
LOC right on the nose. Hypoglycemia.."

"Not him, too...?! Ughh!" Dixie denied. "It's bad enough having Kel
and Joe snooping around and finding out about this.." she winced.
"But to have that bedside mannerless automaton knowing
about it.."

"Shall I relay that message?" Johnny quirked, holding out
the biophone receiver. "He's listening.."

Dixie paled even further.

"No, he's not. I covered the phone when you started up
about him. Aren't I nice?" Gage sniffed. "Events leading
to your illness?" he continued, scribbling into his note pad.

Dixie sputtered, recovering on all tracks but the physical.
"Let's see, over work, under pay.." she ticked off on her
fingers.. " a tiny head cold and now I've got a big problem
with a certain bunch of real pesky firemen.." she blathered.

Johnny ignored her. "When was the onset of your pain?"

Dixie finally got intimated by the proceedings and started
answering without bristling. "Started mid line bilaterally
around 11 am, right after work, yesterday."

"What provoked it?"

"Moving." she snapped.

"What does it feel like?"

"Awful."

Now it was Roy's turn to roll his eyes.

Now Gage poured on the purest kind of paramedic mule headed
cussedness. "Does it radiate anywhere?" he asked through gritted
teeth, staying outwardly professional beyond that one anomaly.

"Not anymore. You found the X that marks the spot."

Johnny bit his lip. "How severe is it?"

"Bad."

Cap started chuckling and had to amble away.

"Does anything make it better?" Roy tried when
Johnny began boiling.

"Unconsciousness did, Roy, and I got you two to
thank for dragging me kicking and screaming out of it."
Dixie said quite honestly, ripping off her oxygen mask.
"Excuse me, I'm going to go puke.." and she started
to get up.

Both Johnny and Roy.... and Cap... stopped her by
grabbing and laying across her chest, knees and
legs. "You're not going anywhere, Dixie! You've lost
your right to make a judgement call." Hank thundered.

"Who says?!"

"We all do!" Gage shouted. Then he narrowed his eyes
in a challenge. "Let her go, Cap. Roy, you too."
Reaching over, he shut down Dixie's running I.V. to TKO.
"Ok. Prove it."

Dixie eyed Johnny suspiciously. "Prove what?"

"Prove that you're fully medically competent to handle
this health matter..." he said firmly stabbing a finger
down on the bed sheets in between them. "If you can
stand up on your own two feet, without blacking out,"
he said waggling a finger in her face."...all of us will just
pack up.....and we'll leave..."

The silence in the room was palpable.

Dixie's hand snaked over and dialed up the I.V. to a fast
gush in the drip chamber.

"Ah, ah ah.." Johnny said, jerking the tubing out of her hand
and he redialed it back down to TKO. "Without any outside help
or adjunct." he clarified.

Then he pulled her sheets down and invited her to swing her legs
over the side of the bed.

Dixie froze like a deer in the headlights.

Then her jaw clamped shut and the insult she was about to
hurl died aborning. She yanked the covers back up to her chin
and her teeth started to chatter. "You boys make sure neither Kel
nor Joe does my surgery.."

Johnny relaxed his finger pointing stare and he planted the
abandoned O2 mask that was hissing around her neck to back
over her face.

Image of roychewnail.jpg Image of stokercouchbackgroundclose.jpg Image of dixiebluepjs.jpg

She didn't protest. "Promise me..." she asked of her two hands on
hips posturing paramedics.

"Ok.." Roy shrugged and he turned up her I.V. to a shock fighting
level again.

Feeling a bit like the devil, Johnny added, "We'll let Morton do it."

Dixie nearly levitated off the bed.

Right then the elegant Victorian phone on Dixie's nightstand
rang.

"Uh oh." trickled Cap.

Johnny picked it up, reluctantly, after it rang six times. "Oh, hiya doc.
Uh, what do you mean what am I still doing over here? Uh, that's kind
of a long story. You see..uh.. Gotta go, doc. There in a few
minutes!" and he slammed the receiver down.

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Just as Johnny hung up the phone, Dixie's eyes rolled back and she
blacked out dissolving into unconsciousness once again.

Johnny Gage moved. "Dixie? Hey--" and he reached
out to touch her chin when Roy DeSoto stopped him.

"Why don't we let her be, Johnny?" he smiled. "Looks
like she's finally given in to that long rest her body's been
demanding that she'd better have. She's comfortable
enough and breathing fine on her side just as she is without
us messing around with an oral airway. We'd be disturbing
her if we did any further monkeying."

"But--" he bit his lip, considering, and checking a sudden retort.
"Ok, convince me. What's her pressure now?" checking McCall's
pupils again in a search for how far down she'd gone.

"116/72.." he said pointedly amused. "The I.V.'s HAS done its work.
And see? On the monitor...." Roy invited with an eye glance.

Johnny studied Dixie's tracing EKG reading on the scope and his
critical analyzing frown slowly turned into a light smile. "Sinus rhythm...
finally." he sighed.

"Yeah, her rate's about 58." Roy agreed. "Not stressed any longer
at all.."

"Now that's what I call sleeping.." Kelly remarked.

"Chet, how would you know?" Gage commented. "You're not a paramedic
like us." The irritation on giving into his partner's low impact patient care
plan was still festering a bit under the skin. He liked his victims awake
and talking when they didn't have vitals that disfavored maintaining that
status.

"No, but I know good vital signs notes when I hear them." he said, unoffended.
"I got the smarts when I need em, Don't you worry yourself about that, pally."
he
said, winking at Roy to let him know he was in a needle Johnny Gage
mode again now that all the excitement was over.

Gage rapidly starting cleaning up and tidying while Roy readied
Dixie's apparatus for gurney loading. "No, you're definitely pumpkin positive,
Chet..." he mumbled.

"What? I didn't quite hear ya, Johnny? What the heck's pumpkin positive
mean?" he grinned, giving motions of a gimme more gesture behind Gage's
back where the dark haired paramedic couldn't see it.

The gang just folded arms together to watch the verbal tennis match with
the same grins on their faces.

And Johnny walked right into the baiting, hook, line and sinker. "If a doctor
writes 'Pumpkin Positive' on your notes, Chet, they mean if they shine a
penlight
into your mouth, they would encounter a brain so small that your whole head
would light up."

"Oh, uh huh." Kelly said, mildly, completely unruffled. "Gee, that's really
interesting,
Gage. But what IQ scale fits your place at the shallow end of the gene pool...?
You didn't even see that Dixie's just snoozing right now until Roy here, pointed
it out to you."

"Chet---"

"Ok, enough's enough." Cap intervened, chuckling. "If you two carry on in here
much longer, you just might DO what Roy says not to do and you'll wake her up.
You guys can go play debate team after the call's over. Come on, Kelly. Back
to the engine. Stoker and Marco are already waiting for ya. "

"But--"

"But nothin, I'm only lagging behind because I wanna make sure that Dixie's
place get's locked up again once the PD gets here. You know my signature's
needed on the house entry form. "

"That's all right, sir. I can take care of that.." said Millie the land lady..

Cap blinked and her comment didn't register under the hard thinking and
disciplining he was still embarking upon. " I'll take the squad in so Roy and
John can fuss over her at much as they'd like on the way in. Now, shoo.."
Hank said, jerking up his chin in a firm, I'm the captain look.

"Cappp..." Chet whined. "Are you gonna let Johnny keep
picking on me?" he said in jest.

"No, I'm gonna let YOU take a time out on HIM. That wasn't
a request, Kelly.."

"No, it was an order, I know.. I know." and he trudged out the door,
putting on his helmet again over his smoky curls. "Why spoil my fun? I was
just trying to lighten the tense mood radiating out from a certain someone
still leaning over the bed. And Dixie hasn't been disturbed. She
hasn't moved since Roy tipped her head back."

"Go.." Cap pointed, his stenorous baritone cracking out.

"Yes, sir.." Kelly said automatically at the undeniable
tone of command. He snapped his fingers in self chiding
annoyance when he realized that he was still so well
conditioned, that he actually jumped to attention at it.

"Weellll, maybe there's a few seeds in the jack o lantern
after all." Gage shot back after him. "You understood
that ok.."

All the firemen raised their heads when the sound of
the Mayfair responding to their rescue call appeared
and finally pulled up just outside.

"Gage, zip it." Cap coughed, trying to hide a smile.
"You're falling behind. DeSoto's got the I.V. box
already put back together and the attendants are
only seconds away."

Millie rubbed her chin. "I guess all the acid banter means
that Dixie's really ok?" she asked with a knowing smile.

"It sure does.." Roy said, standing up from one last
check on Dixie's respirations. "I'll leave a note with
her about your involvement in resecuring the apartment.
The policeman coming is just a formality. Cap's only
got a few lines to fill out on the officer's report."

"All right. Thank you, gentlemen, for helping Dixie like
you have. It really was sitting in the back of my mind, that
something wasn't right. I was just too timid to inquire and
intrude, you know?"

"Yeah, we know." Johnny said. "It's a trait of being
American, that respect for any individual's home privacy.
No harm's done, ma'am."

"Thank goodness."

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Dixie..

Dixie.. Can you hear me? Look what I brought..." said a firm
but quiet male voice.

Dixie opened her eyes and peered around a flowing oxygen
mask.

And saw a grotesque swollen pink and purple worm, floating
in a jar of preserving fluid..

"GahHH!" she jerked, throwing her hands up. "Get that thing
away from me." and she immediately winced when stitches,
external and internal, snagged on her innards. "Ooo.."

"What? It's not a prop from the little shop of horrors, Dixie."
said Joe Early with a chuckle. "This was part of you fifteen
minutes ago."

"I know what it is, Joe. It's just so... yyuck.." she shuddered, coughing
up a plume of anesthetic gas from her chest as she got a radar
on how truly awake she was becoming. Her nursing side finally
got the better of her. "Ok, so what did ya find?" she gave in.

Kel Brackett, to Joe's left, also seated on the bed, answered her.
"Well, your appendicitis was uncomplicated. We found no fecaliths, lymph
node involvements, or any signs of appendiceal perforation. You just had
some moderate suprefaction of the mesentery that didn't effect the
peritoneum. We did a WBC and a flat plate, which was negative
along with a UA for blood which came completely clear of red cells.
Your kidneys,..are fine."

Dixie blinked, still very groggy. "Would you explain that in plain
english? I think I'm still a little hollow in the head right now."

"Rest, Dix." Kel said, getting up. "We'll just leave your souvenir
on the bedstand for you to analyze later."

Image of joekelsuitscrubs.jpg Image of appendixspecimen.jpg Image of dixiepatientbed.jpg

"Don't forget to use a pillow on your abdomen when
you have to cough up some of that phlegm. And yes, we
made sure the incision was made below the bikini line." Joe added.

"You're all heart." she grumbled, rolling over to sleep some
more. "And if I hear one crack about the mickey mouse shaped
beauty mark I know you saw down there coming from the nursing staff,
I'll personally feed you both halves of my appendix floating around
in that specimen jar."

"She's awake, Kel. I think we can leave now. No one who's too
sleepy to breathe ever musters up a threat."

"You're right, Joe. Sweet dreams, Dix, and get better fast.."

The only reply was a blissful mumble followed by a rub of
a few fingers on her nose.

The two Rampart doctors left the recovery room on scrub paper
covered shoes, gingerly.

---------------------------------------------------------

Captains DeSoto and Gage looked at each other as their shared
conversation about Dixie's crazy day off rescue finished in their mind's eye.

Then Johnny changed the subject...

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**************************************************
Subject: Running Hot?
From:  Erin James (etlhostej@voyagerliveaction.com)
Sent: Wed 3/19/08 7:54 AM

Roy and Johnny downed the last of their sodas and rose
to their feet. Gage wasn't through playing yet. "I don't want
to go back to my station just yet. Do you?"

"Not really. It's kinda fun reminiscing like this. But, what can
we do? The awards luncheon's over."

Gage suddenly had a light bulb go off over his head.
"Think outside the bubble, Roy. Let's use our rank and run
with it. Literally."

"How do you mean?"

"I really want to see our old haunts. You know, like the hospital?
So let's grab a Resus Randy out of store and throw him behind
a firetruck somewhere for the cadets to find and run it in like a full code.
The chief'll love that kind of shakedown on a training day, and we'll
get our wish of an extended vacation together.. Whatdiya say?"

"I like it."

"Okay.. Race ya for the store shed. There's a code Randy in there
from the last cadet class that needs another go according to my
status report last week. One, Two Three.. Go!"

And the two were off again, full tilt, stopping only long enough to
snatch up their wind tossed hats and abandoned jackets as they
made for the fire tower near Headquarters.

As they reached for the open padlock, to go inside to pick the thing up,
Gage grinned. "I wonder how many paramedic cadets are about
to need new shorts."

"The first two who are unfortunate enough to find our dummy."
DeSoto replied, smiling hugely, hefting up the shockable manikin
over one shoulder.

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Johnny got the door. Gage grinned, "Now let's go have some real
fun!"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A half hour after Dixie McCall hung up the phone with Sharon, she
thought, ::Sometimes I really miss being downstairs. Other times
I'm glad I'm up here.::

Behind her, an L.A. County scanner burbled softly as she
sorted through the day's paperwork. A new pair of voices caught
her attention. It was preceded by a disregard call sign in code
that was really a firefighter paramedic mock medical running in
with a training manikin. The voices initiating the call over HT
were Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage, who was manning
communications for the exercise.

::Man. I haven't seen those two in years. I wonder how they're doing?
Maybe I could sneak down there into Treatment Five Isolation when
they arrived with their trainees to just say hello or something.::
Dixie glanced over at her desk. There was a picture of her and
her on-again-off-again boyfriend of nearly ten years, Kel Brackett.
::We must be on again because the picture frame isn't broken
and the current picture isn't damaged.:: she mused. ::I count
eleven luncheons to date with him since--::

The office door suddenly swung open and broke Dixie from her
train of thoughts. She looked up and said, "Can I help y--?..."

The sight that met her stopped her mid-sentence, a very tired
and flushed Kel Brackett stood unmoving in the doorway.

Dixie struggled on the reason why. Kel was now the head of
cardiology and worked closely with a lot of the hospital interns.
He routinely checked in with Dixie hashing out details when they
were both on duty the same shift, but now, somehow this was
different. Horribly different.

Kel looked like he had been in the wrong place and at the
wrong time extremely. Dixie sprinted for the door where he clung,
the former nurse in her suddenly in full gear. "Kel, what's the matter?"

Kel groaned, "Not much really. Well, maybe something ...bad.
G*d, have I really been working three days straight?"

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