From: "Roxy Dee" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:19pm
Subject: The Cheynes-Stokes Scare~~
Henry began to
whine softly in the darkness.
From his bunk, Chet groaned. "Oh, for Pete's sake,
you forget it was your turn to let Henry out
"I let him out. I let him out.. Two
hours ago. Maybe he's
just bored or something.." Johnny said flipping over onto
his back. "It is
kind of unusual that all of us went to bed
at the same time. Maybe he's just picking up on that fact
as being a little odd."
"Yeah, well, let's just hope for your sake that he settles
said Kelly as he flipped back over.
Johnny smiled in the blackness surrounding them,
a little. Then he thought of something. "Hey, Roy.
"I was. What do ya want?" DeSoto
complained sleepily where
he lay half out on his stomach.
"I was wondering whether or not
you know what's eating Henry
up so bad. I mean, there's no reason for his fussing. Know what
Roy gave a sigh of long suffering. "I'm amazed that you even
heard him. Usually you
sleep like a log when it's so quiet in
"That's it. It's silent! I'll just bet Cap snuck
off to the office ten
minutes ago to study the chief's books again. That explains
Johnny said, sitting up."Hey Marco... Hey! Is Cap
Lopez flipped over in irritation. "Oh, for crying out. l- Ok, I'll |
look if only to shut you--" he
broke off. "Uh, guys.. he's still
Something in Marco's voice made a chill flow down
all their spines.
Lopez immediately pegged the problem for what it was. "Why isn't
like he usually does?" Marco sat up, and peered the
four feet over to his left to Cap's bunk. "Guys,
I don't think he's
Gage and the others shot to their feet but no one was faster than
Chet. "Hey, Cap?!" Kelly said loudly as Roy waved the lights on
at the radio table next to the window.
"Gage, I don't think he's
breathing." said the curly haired fireman, going nearer.
Roy and Johnny and they hurried over to his bed,
and they both kneeled down on either side of Hank,
his covers down and off of his chest. They were about to shake
him when Stanley shifted
in an involuntary jerk where he was on his
back. Then he choked oddly and started gasping violently
a half open mouth without waking up. And fell into the normal snoring
pattern they all
were familiar with hearing at night.
Johnny glanced up at Lopez. "Are you sure you weren't seeing
He's just fine. Geez, Marco. Thanks for scaring the h*ll out of all
of us like that." said
Gage, hurrying back across the cold floor to get
under his blankets again.
"I know what I
saw." declared Marco. "How could Henry and I both be
wrong? How else would you explain why he's so
uneasy. We all
felt it a moment ago. That's what probably woke us all up."
The bunkroom erupted
in loud conversation when everybody began
debating about the real reason why they had crawling skin.
Then the expression on Roy's face stopped them all. His head was
tilted as he listened to something
they weren't yet aware of and his
eyes slowly fixed on Cap's face. His snoring had gone completely
absent and Cap lay still as concrete. Then they all noticed that
he wasn't even trying to draw
breath in any more.
"Holy sh*t." Johnny immediately gulped and jumped out of bed
and he flew
back over to Cap's side. "What's the problem? Roy, is
"See? I told you." said Marco
as he joined the others in a rush for
Gage was just about to touch him when Roy
stayed his hand. "Wait
a minute. I think I just figured something out about what's happening
I don't think we have to wake him just yet. I wanna see if I'm
right about my sudden idea."
you crazy? Let me at least open his airw--" Gage protested.
*Choke!* came the odd noise again
They all froze when Hank once again sputtered and gasped as if he
were partially throat
blocked for a few seconds. Then his snoring
became once again what was normal for him during sleep.
Narrowing his eyes, Gage thought about it. "Every minute he does
said, folding his arms.
Chet was nervous. "Shouldn't we wake him and see if he's really ok?
mean, it might be a stroke or something."
The rest of the guys just rolled their eyes at Kelly. |
"Oh, Chet, please, he's as healthy as
an ox." Johnny scoffed, folding his
arms like Roy was doing but for a different reason.
that as it may, I'm gonna go get the O2. Just in case." Kelly said,
jogging out of the room. "Unlike
the rest of you, I'm getting ready for
Roy sat on the edge of Cap's bed and
felt his pulse. "Normal. His
color's good, too."
Gage figured it out. "Nah, it can't be."
"Only one way to find out." admitted Roy.
"Find out what?" Stoker asked, carefully watching Hank
further adverse changes from where he crouched on his toes.
"We'll see in a just under
a minute if what we think is up happens
again." Gage told him.
Kelly came clattering back with
the oxygen apparatus and he was
intercepted instantly by Roy and Johnny and made to keep quieter.
They took the equipment from his hands.
"What're you doing? We probably need that for him." Kelly
"Shhh! No we don't." Johnny hissed, jerking a thumb at where Cap lay
"Just hush up and watch him along with the rest of us, ok?"
"Watch for what?" Chet whispered,
From the other side of the room, Henry started whining again.
Faintly, and worried.
Cap's loud snores grew more and more labored over time, but
he didn't wake, his eyes rolling under
their eyelids. Then he seemed
to relax and his chin fell onto his chest again like usual. But while
doing it, he fell silent and didn't draw in another breath. For ten seconds,
Roy and Johnny watched tensely, still monitoring Hank's pulse, which
was picking up.
"I don't like this one bit. What's wrong with him?"
"Chet,...we don't know for sure. But Johnny
and I see that he's not
in any kind of danger yet. His color's still real good." Roy answered.
"See for yourself." Gage said, gesturing.
"But he's not breathing." Kelly insisted.
Roy nodded in agreement. "If I'm right, he'll start up again in
the others looked at their watches.
Mike stood in nervous anticipation, glancing at the oxygen
in a brief flicker.
Gage was about to fidget himself when Cap repeated the violent
cycle of his strange seeming affliction without waking up
in the slightest.
Roy timed the
rate they all saw and heard as he resumed snoring.
Kelly squinted suspiciously. "Is this what
I think it is?"
"You mean about him probably having a bad case of sleep apnea?"
"That's what we both think it is." he said, pulling
a BP cuff and stethoscope out of the desk drawer.
He also grabbed a
tape recorder, set it on the table, and hit the record button. "We're
document this right now and play it back for Cap in a few minutes
when we wake him up. If we don't
have proof of something odd going on,
he'll never go to the doctor's about it. You remember how he
year with the tendonitis he found in his hands. It almost took a catapult to
in to see Dr. Brackett. Now, everybody, pipe down. Let's
get two minutes of this recorded, ok?"
The rest of the gang twitched nervously, but they held their tongues.
Johnny showed pure paramedic
skill when he got a blood pressure
reading off Cap without disturbing him. "It's fine. 130/90." Then
odd breathing started rising in ever increasing apparent difficulty.
Until he quit
trying to do it at all.
It took everything the others had to hold their own breaths so the tape
recorder caught everything without giving into their training to fix Cap's
situation with a firm head
A half minute went by where Cap didn't breathe. Then suddenly, he did,
he had before in great shuddering inhalations until he was
The gang watched
this agonizing cycle once more before they couldn't
hold themselves still enough to wait any longer.
They woke him. Swiftly.
Hank shot up onto his hands and butt blearily. "What?" he mumbled,
rubbing a very sleep heavy face."I didn't hear anything. Did I finally
sleep through an alarm
"Not exactly.." said Marco after a pause.
"No, wait a minute, Marco, that isn't
exactly true, now is it? Cap, for a
few minutes there, we thought you were one." Kelly said in exasperation.
Cap's eyes squinted in a don't-you-go-kidding-with-me look. Then he noticed
the oxygen apparatus
by his bedside and the cuff still wrapped around his
arm. "What's this all about? Are you playing
some kind of joke on me,
"Wish he was, Cap." Gage said, rubbing his face. "We all think
you got a little
problem coming out that needs you to start paying attention to it. It also
why you've been feeling so tired lately. Just listen to this."
said Johnny, rewinding and playing
back the tape for Hank to hear.
The captain's face fell from embarrassment to actual horror when
heard himself stop snoring so disturbingly for so long. Henry's quiet
moans in the background
only increased his fright. "That was me?
J*sus!" he sat up a little straighter, hugging his knees.
"I sound like
I'm dying. No wonder you guys dragged that in here." he said, jerking a
the resuscitator apparatus next to him. Then he blinked as
he absently calmed an overjoyed Henry with
a few pets. "Uh..
Why am I doing that kind of thing?" he said, flipping off the tape with
Roy sighed, folding his fingers on the bed. "Have you ever heard of
sleep apnea, Cap?"
isn't that what people develop when they get a little too overweight?"
Hank guessed nervously, coughing.
He was a still a little uncomfortable with
everyone staring at him like they were still doing in serious
DeSoto shrugged. "Deviated septums, enlarged tonsils, abnormal REM
cycles, sleep ailments..any
number of things can bring it out if one has
a tendency for it."
"Well,.well.. uh.. What's
a guy supposed to do about it in the meantime?
Is it dangerous?"
"For you, not yet." said DeSoto.
"You don't develop cyanosis when you quit
breathing because your body fights back and starts it up
again before even
a minute goes by."
"But you probably never get a chance to hit REM sleep,
Cap, before you're
half jolted awake enough to fix your own airway by harder snoring. I'll just
you can't remember the last time you dreamed about anything. How
could you? You never get into that
state which allows it." Gage said,
rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
"Sure I do. I last dreamed
about..." he broke off, rubbing burning eyes. "Well,
I'm sure I dreamed something last week.. or was
it last month?" he sighed
in confusion. Then he sagged back onto his pillow and peeled the BP cuff
off his arm. "I'm too tired to think about it any more, guys. Me with sleep apnea?
I just can't believe
it.. I mean, well,...why doesn't my wife notice this? We sleep
together in the same bed."
she's just a sound sleeper." Roy suggested.
Cap made a face.
"It might be true you know.
Most likely, your dog'd notice things before she would.
Because he isn't so habituated. I mean, that's
what happened to us, with Henry.
He's the one who woke us all up to check you out in the first place."
The rest of the guys nodded.
Then Chet said. "We thought
you had gone into the office again to study. Just
imagine our fright when we found you still in bed,
not moving. You scared the h*ll
outta Marco here."
"Sorry, Marco." Cap winced. "I didn't realize."
"Well, now you do. You should schedule an appointment with a doctor in a sleep
lab a.s.a.p." said
"Oh, now, don't go starting that go see a doctor business up with me again."
"Do you like feeling tired all the time?" Johnny insisted, getting frustrated instantly.
"Sooner or later, your fatigue's gonna start effecting your job, Cap. And quite, frankly,
think Headquarters is gonna be too keen on letting you get a chief's spot while
still suffering from
uncontrolled night apnea."
Cap seemed to shrink in his underwear. "What do I do in the meantime..?"
"I'm so tired tonight, I - I, I can't even think straight anymore." he said, his lower
quivering with an uncharacteristic waver. "And we still have a full day to get through
Gage nodded at Roy knowingly, until DeSoto said, "We can do this, Hank." and
he handed Stanley
a plastic oxygen mask. "Just for tonight. Setting the regulator
at half a liter a minute should get
you through until dawn without another episode.
When you're fully rested in the morning, we'll talk
about it some more then, ok?"
"I can't use this. I'll look stupid having to explain things when
A-shift sees a
discrepancy in oxygen tank usage in the equipment logbook in a day or two."
shrugged Gage. "We can cover for ya. I know at least one intern who owes
me a favor for letting him
go on a ride along. We can bring your emptys to Rampart
in the squad and I can have him fill them
up there each day until you finally get
evaluated and treated."
"You don't have to do that for me." Hank sighed. "I - I can always stand up to|
them on A-shift, and,
and- and be evasive. I am a captain after all."
"Yeah, but why risk such a glowing record as one
by lying to another shift
at your own station. That won't wash over well with McConnike once he finds
And find out he will once Brice figures things out about what we're doing on our
Cap couldn't say anything else as a huge yawn threatened to crack his
jaw in two.
Henry yawned right after him, and curled up on his stomach with a
worry releasing sigh.
just ended the conversation by turning on the oxygen and hooking it
up. "Here. Go to sleep already.
Once you are, I'll sneak back over here
and turn the recorder back on to see how the bumped up oxygen
The doctors will wanna know what makes it better and how much. The tape'll
"I can't sleep now! Not with knowing about this.." protested Cap.
His body immediately refuted
that statement into a lie by making
Hank yawn again.
"Oh, yes, you can." chuckled Stoker. "Come
on, roll over or I'll go call
Dixie to come to the stationhouse just to tuck you in."
mother.." growled Cap through the mask he set reluctantly onto his
face. He turned away from everybody
and curled his arms around himself
as he got comfortable on his left side. "Pretend this never happened,
I'm embarrassed enough as it is."
The gang respected that and turned off the lights. They
all laid down
to sleep again, except for Gage who sat indian style on top of his blankets,
for the moment to switch the recording machine back on.
Softly, he whispered. "You take good care
of him, Henry. Woof when he's
asleep for me, ok? I can't see him very well from over here."
sneezed. Johnny took that as a yes for his answer.
Then Gage turned towards the window to pass
the time and he let the sight
of the slowly rising moon fill his eyes.
From: "Cory Anda" <andacory@...>
Feb 26, 2006 5:34 pm
Subject: Start of the Day.
It was five fifty six a.m.
kitchen was in full chaos mode.
The gang, except the still slumbering Cap, had unspokenly
sometime in the night to KP without him. Stoker took
the brunt of egg frying while the others juggled
waffle searing and general mayhem with the bacon.
Johnny rubbed his nose
as he began to set the table for
all the food. "Man, are we lucky no calls have come in.
still sleeping like baby in there." he chuckled.
"And before you ask, Roy, yes, I made sure that
tangled up in tubing."
Roy looked at his watch. "At least that worked some. I heard
second part of his sleeping tape while shaving. Do you think
we should disable the overhead in the
bunkroom so he gets
in a little more pillow work? L.A.'s morning communications
check is due in
Johnny opened his mouth, gesturing with a fork.
"Noooo wayyy, Gage. Don't
do it. " interrupted Chet. "Do you really
wanna face Hank's wrath once he learns he actually lived
one of his worst Captain's fears? You heard him last night. He never
wants to wake up
to the day he misses hearing a call. Even if
it is just the usual county a.m. wake up tones."
Stoker was mischievious. "Why not? Let's go ahead and live dangerously."
Gage snorted in laughter.
"No thanks. I think what we already do
for all our jobs is excitement enough. So,.." he said turning
a chair at the table so he could butt perch on its highback edge with his
on the seat. "What's gonna be the gameplan for
getting him into Rampart for a sleep study test?"
Chet shrugged. "We could always hook part of a ceiling on
an extinguished fire call down on top of
him when he's not looking.
You know, just to wing him a little bit into a precautionary ambulance
That way, Brackett can get his meaty claws locked onto him a little easier."
"That'd be attempted murder charges, Chet." he kidded. "At
the very least. But I don't think we're
gonna have to get quite so drastic
getting him in to see a doc about his apnea. That tape did all
work for us."
"Nah, I'll believe it when I see it." Chet said, stealing a bacon
the sizzling grill. He burned his fingers on it. "Ouch!"
"What a dummy." said Marco,
throwing him a wet towel. "Why don't you
wait for your food like the rest of us?"
to pilfering. That's how I survived growing up competing
with my much older big sister." Kelly replied.
"What'd your parents do? Starve you two?" asked Gage incredulously.
"No, we both like
drumsticks. And after dad got his there was only one
left to grab. I got good at it." said Chet.
"Boy, don't I know that. I'm still missing yesterday's potatoes."
some more just for you at lunch later on today. Deal?" Kelly
said, running his seared fingers under
the tap. Then he shook his
head. "Man I never thought I'd see the day where I renegged on a
snatch. Mark it as a landmark moment everybody."
No one did.
Then Stoker did a Radar
O'Reilly. "Wait for it. Not for us.."
##Rrawww OOO EEeeeeeeo.#### said the SCU tones.
is L.A. testing with Stations, 24, 99, 18, 110, 8 and 51.
Your time check is now 0700.## declared
the speaker grill.
A minute later, they all heard the clattering of the oxygen
as Cap put it away back into the squad's gear stow.
Hank soon shuffled in and sat down, fully
dressed in uniform.
He looked self conscious for only a moment, thinking about
what had happened
to him in the night but then he said, "I
put the empty tank away and covered the top of it with a
so you guys won't accidentally grab it on a medical call." he
said to Roy and Johnny.
"Thanks, Cap." said Roy, not looking up intentionally from
his folded newspaper.
neatly changed the subject. "So, who's ready for
the Fireman's Ball? I got my tux rented."
smiled. "I am. My mother's gonna pick it up for me
today from the rental place at one since I'm working."
"That was nice of her." said Cap. "Wish my wife would pick
Chet frowned. "What's
wrong with the one you wore at your
brother's wedding? I thought that one looked just fine, Cap."
"The wife doesn't like gray." shrugged Cap, dishing out some
peaches from the large can opened
on the table into his bowl.
"She says it'll clash with everything she's got in the closet."
there's no accounting for taste these days." said Chet
"I think she just doesn't realize the impeccable
you possess, Cap."
Cap set down his spoon. "Are you saying that to try and butter
me up into helping you study for the captain's test?"
"Yes." said Gage.
"Shut up, Gage."
said Chet with no sting. "I'm brown nosing here."
"It's not gonna work.." Johnny said relentlessly.
like that kind of thing."
"I don't like fake sentiment either, Johnny. So don't
buddy up to
me by reverse association. I'm onto you as well. If you want help
studying, the same
resuscitation challenge's waiting for you."
"No thanks. I know my own abilities with
that and how good a
student I make while studying on my own."
"I'll vouch for that." said Roy.
"He did graduate paramedic class
at the top of the pile."
"Who's side are you on, Roy?" Kelly
"His." DeSoto said, pointing at Johnny while chewing without breaking
from his reading. "He's the better man for the possible captaincy
"What makes you say that?" asked Cap in amusement to Chet's|
"Maybe it's because I
know him so well. Anybody with bad habits
as transparent as his has gotta have something going for
any command chain. Any men who find themselves under him will see
right through those
and automatically learn the good habits."
"Thanks a lot for the personality profile, Pal." Johnny
"If that's true, then how do you explain him?" And he jerked a thumb
at the pondering
Stoker did another precog. "This one's us..." he warned.
Then Henry barked.
The gang got to their feet, abandoning breakfast.
"Rrawww OOO EEeeeeeeo." said the SCU tones.
##Station 51. Unknown type rescue. 1457 Marx Way. 1457 Marx Way.
Cross street. Jefferson St. Time
out : 0709.##
Cap muttered as he pulled on his turnout coat. "That sounds
like a house address."
"It is.." said Stoker, fingering the wall map for a route trace.
"It's in the West Carson neighborhood
by the ballpark."
The station rolled out.
From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed Mar 1, 2006 11:02 pm
Subject: Sleep Eternal...
Roy and Johnny were two minutes
into the trip when Johnny said,
"Man, I got a real bad feeling about this one." he said, rubbing
lips nervously. "Hair's prickling on the back of my neck."
"Are you sure it isn't because of the
word 'unknown' being used
on a call. That's all it takes for me. It's only slightly better than
to a domestic disturbance and getting there before
any police arrive." Roy said, gripping the steering
"It's more than that, Roy. I haven't felt like this since I looked
down and realized
that it was my best friend lying in pieces
on the side of the road in a patrolman's uniform."
"You're just tired, that's all. We did have a restless night
thinking about Cap and how to best monitor
him last night."
Roy smiled in an attempt to cheer him. "I saw the way you
were still watching
him when I got up this morning. You didn't
have to do that. He was just fine. And so are you right
"Then why do I feel like I have to throw up?" Gage asked with
a little fear. "A lack
of sleep doesn't explain that away
The two said nothing while Roy simultaneously
kept tabs on
the engine speeding at a safe distance behind them and the
turns they were carefully
taking as Johnny directed their route
by pointing, nervously.
An unwelcome tension began to
permeate the squad.
tried to ease the anxiety quotient on their rescue
call. He contacted Headquarters. "L.A., This is
##Go ahead, Engine 51.##
"Do you have any more information regarding the nature
of our current call?"
##Engine 51. Negative. Your response was designated as unknown
the caller left the operator on an open line. However, I've
notified the police. A squad car is responding
to the same address.
Their approximate ETA is two and a half minutes.##
"10-4, L.A. Engine
51 out. Will advise upon arrival." sighed Hank.
He shook his head at Stoker to share mutual frustration
the engineer skillfully maneuvered the Ward through the busy traffic
Dawn had burned away into full daylight when there was no more
distance or time left for which they
had to wait. Cap saw the squad
jam its tires up against the curb and park there. As protocol demanded,
they didn't immediately get out. Instead, they watched and listened for
a response from inside
the house reacting to the sounds of their sirens.
But Stoker's blasting airhorn summoned no one's
face to either
window by the door when they turned them all off to listen.
Just then, Vince
pulled up in his squad car and drew out his gun.
"Wait right there until I check it out, boys.."
he said. "Turn down
your radio scanner for a minute, all right?"
Hank nodded and gestured
a glove at Mike to lower the volume
quickly. Then everybody got out on the street side of their vehicles.
They watched as Howard hugged the bushes, keeping under
close concealment as he moved towards
the house's white painted
porch. He found the front door open and went inside, his gun preceding
Peering around the engine's fender, Cap held the others back and got on
his HT. "Engine 51, to
squad 51. Stay behind the squad until we get
word from Vince to follow. Get all the gear you can reach
on that side of the truck only.." he ordered.
##HT 51, to Engine 51. We're standing
by.## said Gage into his own HT
with every syllable of his answer showing how unhappy he was at
to freeze in place and not act on anything. He smacked
a frustrated glove against the mirror frame
of the driver's door
where he was crouched next to Roy.
"Easy." said DeSoto. "We'll get in
there and at an answer soon enough.
You know how this works."
Johnny ignored him and pulled
the resuscitator apparatus even closer to
Then, a shadow appeared in the doorway. It was Vince, waving them|
L.A.'s voice erupted
over the loud speakers of both trucks and all
their walkie talkies. ##Station 51. LAPD reports a
child call with
a mother in attendance.##
"10-4, dispatch an ambulance times one to our location
as possible." confirmed Hank over the radio. "We've no fire."
Move it." Cap said unnecessarily to the others as
he helped carry the EKG monitor and defibrillator
gathered the rest of the squad's medical equipment and followed
the rushing paramedics.
Vince said. "The baby's not breathing. But mom seems to have
been trained well enough. She's doing
some pretty good CPR
Without another word, the gang entered the house and got into
the bedroom Vince indicated.
It was a sheer shock when the mother looked up in almost
terror. "Roy? Johnny?" she whispered hoarsely. "What
took you so long? I...can't get ..my daughter
anymore." she sobbed through stringy sweat soaked hair.
Gage and DeSoto startled as they
ran to the bed when Chet
said something that explained the mother's odd familiarity towards
It was the paramedic trainee who had saved Roy's life the day
he got electrocuted
and fell off of a rooftop two years ago.
Captain Stanley immediately grabbed her shoulders. "Hand her over|
to them, Karen. Let them see her."
he told her firmly, pulling
her hands away from a small, limp infant who was only weeks old
where she lay on the blanket rumpled bed. "They can help her now."
"No!!" she said, trying to
pull her daughter back. Vince got
her away from the firefighters and gently tripped her leg so
would fall seated into a nearby chair. "Jennifer..?!" Karen
screamed, trying to get up again. She
was restrained by both
Marco and Vince instantly. "Let me go!.."
Roy immediately saw the tiny
child's bluish color and he placed
a stethoscope over the baby's chest. He shook his head at
and quickly started manual CPR, nodding to the others
to get out the neonate resuscitation gear while
he gave the
baby careful breaths through his lips and restarted light compressions
using his thumbs
while he worked the baby on top of the defibrillator
There would be no using that
equipment, Johnny knew. The child's
body size was far too small to handle even its lowest shock setting.
Gage lowered his voice to calm her when Karen finally stopped
fighting Vince and Lopez's grip
and giving into hysterics. "Karen..
Karen. We're getting her on some oxygen right now." he said,
Cap and Chet getting some set up and flowing into a newborn's ambu
bag. "You gotta tell
us all you know about what's happened. How
long do you think she was down without a pulse before
found her?" he asked, holding her arms tightly by the shoulders.
Click for a music change.
"I don't know. I don't know.." Karen cried, only being able to|
focus now on the floor in front of
her bare feet.
Gage gripped her chin and forced it up until she met his eyes.
I'm so scared..." she gasped, sucking in a ragged breath.
"Easy, Karen. We're here now. It's ok
to be frightened. But you gotta
guess what time was it when you first noticed that your baby was
trouble." Gage told her firmly.
A second startling sight above them almost dragged his
from Karen when his eyes spotted the paramedic's certificate
hanging on a frame
and a medal of valor for fire services
rendered, perched in a case next to it on a bookshelf.
::Well, I'll be, she made it through the program and then some.::
he thought. He fought and regained
his focus in seconds.
Overstreet trembled, grabbing onto Johnny's gripping hand
with both of
her trembling ones."She was asleep, that's all.
Jeff just left for work. I.. uh, it was ..then was
six. He always
leaves at six." she said, in fear.
Johnny soothed her. "Tell me more. Then
I gotta get over
there to help Roy out with her."
Karen just about fell apart, trying to keep
"Ok..*gasp* ..ok.. I think the time was 2:00 a.m. when Jeff came to bed.
know exactly at what time I awoke, but I reached for Jenny. Just
something that I always do. I reach
out and touch my children when
they're sleeping with me. I was groggy but she felt so cool. I thought
had just kicked the covers off. So I went to reposition her and snuggle
her up against me.
When I did, I could tell something was wrong. She was
so limp..." she sobbed. "Oh, Johnny,.. I remember
so many things about
that moment. Her little face was turned in toward the sheet, but I donít actually
know if it was that way before I started to reposition her or if my repositioning
did that. When
I first reached out to rearrange her I didnít have my eyes open.
I scooped Jenny up, turned the light
on and I said, 'Jenny's cold... Jeff?' But
he had already left."
"After six am? Or was it later?
Your call reached us at 0709, Karen." Hank asked
from where he crouched over the bed, watching Chet
work the bag while
he himself did CPR with his thumbs over the breastbone, his large
Jennifer's tiny chest. "It's important for the doctors to know--"
"Don't you think I know that!"
she screamed. "You guys supposedly taught me
everything I know." she cried bitterly. "You made me
into one of you and
I went kicking and fighting all the way!"
The firefighters fell silent,
working only for the child.
Stoker spoke up softly while he set up the biophone. "Karen, we're
going to lie to you. It's bad, but she may still have a chance. We have to find
or not Jennifer may be a victim of SIDS or not, in order to treat
her more effectively."
Overstreet was beyond listening. She mumbled. "I remembered that your
station's rescue squad was less
than a mile from my house, so I dialed the
operator and I told her.. 'Oh, G*d! Please hurry!.' They've
got to come. I said
to myself. They've got to come fast..." she sobbed, rocking her face against
knees. "Then I don't remember anything, guys. I can't even remember now.."
she cried, fresh
tears re-staining her face.
Vince took a quilt off of a love seat and covered her up. "I'll go
mobile crisis from the hotline for her to meet us at the hospital." he
offered. "I'll try
to track down Jeff, too. Won't be hard. Looks like she's
married." he said, tucking in Karen's left
hand under the blanket where
she sat dazed and rocking and twisting the wedding band on her finger
"Mike, keep an eye on her. Watch her for further signs of shock after
with your initial hail to Rampart." Hank ordered.
Stoker hurried to obey.
Vince had a million
thoughts running through his head. ::Observe
the scene. Take note of what was moved and how. The final
of SIDS as the cause of the baby's problem will be based on possible evidence
the scene.:: he chided to himself. ::Just because we're hastening to resuscitate
the infant, evidence
can easily be destroyed and valuable information lost.
Document what you found when you arrived;
it may prove invaluable later.
Remember the beginning? We needed to move the patient, and a few other
in the room, like the mother. Note it! Then go out and lock your car. You're
them. But first, clean up the mess being made. Last thing this
mother needs are reminders of today
when she returns back home again.::
Karen spoke up as she felt Johnny leave her side for the bed.
got ALTE..It's come three times before." she gushed, struggling to stop shivering.
"Got it.." said Johnny as he took the phone from Mike. He spoke softly
to the doctor who had answered
the call. "Rampart, this is Squad 51."
##Go, ahead, 51.## replied Joe Early.
we have a female infant less than eight weeks, down. She has
a history of multiple apparent life-threatening
event incidences. Uh, the mother
was performing effective first aid upon our arrival. We've no vital
but there isn't clear evidence ruling in algor mortis. Livor mortis
is not apparent either.
CPR on one hundred 02 is in progress." Gage told
##10-4, 51. Start an I.V. of Ringer's Lactate, O.S and give a 5 ml/kg fluid bolus. |
Make sure you
angle your needle to avoid damaging the epiphyseal plate.
Establish an endotrachael airway and deliver
by intraosseous infusion:
0.01 mg/kg epinephrine of 1:1,000 solution. If there's no response in three
make your second and subsequent doses 0.1 mg/kg of 1:1,000 solution. Repeat
minutes. Get me a cardiac reading from more than one lead.
Administer sodium bicarb as a one time
bolus 1ml.kg-1 of an 8.4% solution
if you're absolutely sure the child is being effectively ventilated
paradoxical intracellular acidosis will result. Transport as soon as possible
resuscitation en route.## said Joe.
Gage repeated the orders he had written down. He eyeballed
"Epi, .01 of 1:1,000 through her tibia, Roy. I'll get her ET in a sec after
her half minute strip. Bolus in an 8.4% solution bicarb
The paramedics tried
not to look at the absolutely flat asystole scrolling
across the screen as the tube threaded down
too easily. Cap resumed
compressions while Kelly ventilated and the paramedics delivered all
death correcting medications in rapid sequence.
Stoker ran back in with a KED short board and
Jennifer was transferred
onto that and physically bandaged to it using soft gauze rollers by her head,
upper legs and armpits without hindering her CPR.
Karen followed them out the door and jumped
into the passenger side of
the Mayfair's work door. She took to the rider bench immediately
Vince sat with her with Mike Stoker on the other side. They didn't
stop her from holding Jennifer's
hand and made ample room for her
while they worked fast to secure fluid lines, cardiac wires and
oxygen over the small baby.
Chet traded his ventilating spot at the baby's head with the non-driving
ambulance attendant. "Do your best." he whispered in his ear. "We know
he was gone to drive the squad in, with Marco following, driving the
engine. Roy relieved Cap from
his two fingered compressions and watched
as Cap got out of the ambulance and closed the doors between
Two slaps came soon afterwards and then the Mayfair took off code three.
Hank Stanley's lanky form dwindled in the window to a tan spot|
on gray asphalt. He was the very picture
of the grief they all felt
starting to rip through the tenderest parts of their souls.
didn't know at what point Karen quit listening to them when
she realized that her daughter was going
to die. ::She's knows
we're not going to be able to save her.:: he thought.
At the hospital, Karen Overstreet sat in the waiting room,
waiting. Rocking, praying, bargaining with
God. ::It didn't
work.:: a small voice with no sound shouted at her.
She remembered few things
of the ride in to Rampart. The corner streetlight
was backed up where she normally turned at with
patients, while she was
working her station shifts. ::That driver took a different route to get us
Working in EMS, we know lots of short cuts.:: she thought numbly.
She watched as a very
concerned, professionally smiling Dixie tried to reach
her husband who worked sixty miles away to
tell him that Jennifer had been
taken in to the hospital.
::Wasn't I just grand? When we
pulled up at the entrance I sure ran in the ER
entrance like I owned the place.:: Karen's mind started
crying. ::I have to get to
Jennifer soon, she's probably so scared. I have to see those big blue
light up at me.:: Overstreet blew her nose. Then she looked up and let
the quilt from home
drop from her shoulders. ::That police officer's taking my hand.::
Then Karen knew she was in
real trouble. Two other doctors flanked her
sides and she remembered someone touching her elbow as
they told her in the ER
hallway that Jennifer didn't make it. Karen saw a tech come out of the room
moment with a grim look on his face carrying a pediatric cardiac pacer tray. It still
the blinking battery unit on it.
::Oh G*d they had to heart stab my little baby!:: Karen started
"I have to see her! This can't be real. I promise I won't start screaming or faint."
she told them.
Overstreet could feel that her daughter was gone but she didn't believe it.
watched with detachment as they led her into the nurses' lounge
and told her that she could call
anyone she needed to. There were
others in the room that she recognized as the hospital chaplain,
the family crisis counselor from the ninth floor.
Karen ignored Dixie as she gripped the
red phone. "Jeff, I need you here, now."
##False alarm, huh?## asked Mr. Overstreet.
couldn't reply, his statement had caused the second biggest blow
to her soul in as many minutes.
A small whimper trickled from her lips as tears blinded her.
"What should I say?" Karen asked
##Just tell me, Karen.## demanded Jeff, growing alarmed.
did very quickly and she heard and felt Jeff falling
to the ground to scream in pain through the
At that moment Karen thought. ::I want to launch the
rescue helicopter to go and get him.::
But out loud she said,
"Please don't let him drive in such an upset condition." she
all. Her own voice sounded so calm in her ears,
that it amazed her. "He'll just hurt himself more."
hanging up the phone receiver.
Vince replied. "I'll go get him, ma'am, if you'll give me the address."|
Numbly, Karen handed
it to him from her purse. "Thank you." she told
him as he left. Karen didn't think she could breathe
another minute being so
far away from her husband even though she was surrounded by two doctors,
so she desperately started talking again. "What exactly did you do for
Jennifer? I'm....trying to
reconstruct what happened. You see, I just
completed a neonatal resuscitation course a few weeks ago
and I want
to make sure .." her face twisted in pain as the white hot grief she had prevented
up once more in her throat.."that you did everything correct."
The tears came then, unrelenting.
Roy and Johnny and Cap went into the room with Karen.
The police officer, Vince Howard, was guarding
The baby was so tiny ...laying on the stretcher in the ER.
Dixie handed Jennifer
to Karen and they watched her sink to the floor rocking
her baby in her arms. Within moments, the
chaplain entered the room
with Jeff Overstreet and he started praying with and for all three of them.
Roy's face was a mask of pain.
::My insides are tearing apart. I've never in my life hurt so much
as holding that
babyís lifeless body.:: he thought looking at her.
Jennifer's eyes were ever
so slightly open and she was still pinkish; just a tinge
of blue at her eyes and lips.
mind wailed. "Oh, I want to look at her tummy, arms, back, and
everything. But I'm so scared. I'm
scared that she won't look the way
that she should. I want to change her diaper." She didn't. "I
want to nurse
her!" She couldnít.
Johnny saw her shrivel and felt horrible, too. ::So much
physical pain comes with
emotional pain. And there's not a d*mned thing I can do about it.:: he
thought. Then he went to crouch down next to Karen, just to be near in
support. Gently, he combed
a few fingers through Jennifer's hair to
neaten it with a soft caress.
Cap turned quickly
away and had to leave the room before it became too
much for him to bear.
Karen's mind raced.
"Why couldnít it have been me?! What did or didn't I do?!"
she demanded of Jeff and the chaplain and
Dixie. Now it was guilt's turn to rule
her. "I just want to hold her forever. I don't want to see
death come!" she sobbed.
"Please bring her back. Please. Oh, Jennifer... I'm so sorry...." she said,
her infant daughter's still face with kisses.
Time both crept and sped by for Karen.
Jeff had left the hospital for a little
while because he wanted to go home and hold his two older
get them out of school.
Karen understood that, but knew, too, that she couldn't
Mrs. Overstreet had to go several times to the bathroom but didn't want to let
go of Jennifer, "I don't want her to be lonely." she sniffed.
Roy offered to hold Jennifer
while she went.
Gage knew it took guts for him to be there because he knew he had a red
little boy at home. The same red hair as Jennifer's.
When Karen's husband returned to the hospital,
Jeff Overstreet said, "The
girls are waiting. They want to know what happened and they're asking
me if Jennifer had to have a shot." Breaking down, Karen and her husband
sagged into each others
arms around their silent baby.
Ten minutes later, holding hands tightly, they left with their
infant child to tell them together, leaving the chaplain alone with the
firefighters and Dixie.
Click the panicking Roy and Johnny to go to|