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


      **Graphic surgical image below**



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The elder Brackett appeared dubious.  "I see."

"DadÖ"

"It would have been typical of you not to show up.
You've been avoiding me like the plague for ages."

Kel guiltily stared at his fingernails.  In truth,
he had initiated this dinner engagement at Dixie's
urging.  Over the past two days, however, he must
have considered at least a dozen excuses to cancel
this evening's plans.  Emotional intimacy had never
been his forte, especially with his father.  He
deliberately accepted the responsibility of two
additional patients after his shift ended in order
to stall for time.  That's why he was running
twenty minutes behind schedule.  Breaking the
awkward silence, Kel motioned to the waiter to
bring him a drink.

Brent raised his eyebrow.  "Am I that unpleasant
to be around that you need a drink?"

"No.  No, of course not.  It's been a long day,
and I'm tired and I'd like a scotch."  Noticing
the glass clutched in his father's hand, Kel
retorted, "I see you're imbibing in your usual
poison.  Do you need alcohol to feel comfortable
around your own son?"

"You're being ridiculous."

"Then stop interpreting my actions as though
there's a hidden psychological meaning behind
them.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

"Point taken," Brent conceded.  "So how has
work been, besides busy?"

"Pretty much the same," Kel shrugged.  "The
new hospital administrator doesn't appreciate
the value of the paramedic program to the
community, so I've been having some interesting
`discussions' lately."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"Not really."

The other man thoughtfully steepled his fingers.
"Why not?"

"Dad, I'm not one of your patients, all right?"
Kel was developing an excruciating headache.
He began to methodically massage his right
temple.

"Kel, for crying out loud!  I'm a psychiatrist,
not a witch doctor.  It's an honorable profession.
Unfortunately, you've always acted like you were
ashamed of what I did for a living.  I didn't get
my degree out of a cereal box.  I went to medical
school at Harvard, and completed a residency and
fellowship at Johns Hopkins, perfectly respectable
institutions.  Somehow you never seemed to accept
my vocation as a `real' job.  Sitting in a plush
office and keeping a schedule didn't seem to fit
your definition of work."

"Don't you think this conversation is a little
one-sided?  As I recall, you weren't exactly
supportive of my educational choices either.  I
wanted to put myself through school so I wouldn't
feel pressured to follow in your footsteps.  I
waited on tables, parked cars and even worked as
an evening janitor at the university in order to
put myself through school.  Granted, I didn't have
the same Ivy League education you had, but I earned
my way through my own efforts, and I'm proud of that.
And I distinctly remember how horrified you were
when I announced I wanted to go into emergency
medicine.  You called it barbaric, and said I'd
wash out in a week."  Smiling smugly, Kel added,
"Well, I'm still here."

Shaking his head, Brent argued, "You still don't
understand what this is about, do you?"

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"I presume you're going to enlighten me."

The father sighed in frustration.  "You've been
so blasted determined to escape from what you
perceived to be my shadow, you've been running
at full throttle most of your life.  You thought
my occupation was boring, so you chose the most
exciting one you could imagine, emergency medicine."

Kel pondered this thought while he took a sip
of his scotch.

"But don't you see?" Brent asked.  "You're still
acting like this is some bizarre competition
between us.  It's not, you know."

Mercifully, the waiter appeared to take their
order.  Kel had little appetite, but knew he was
expected to follow the ritual.  Without looking
at the menu, he mechanically recited the desired
items.  His anxiety was mounting with each passing
moment.  Concealed by the linen tablecloth, he was
clenching and unclenching his fists.

"Dad, I simply wanted to be my own man.  That's a
normal desire."

"That's true, if not taken to extremes.  But you
never know when to draw the line.  Everything is
all or nothing, black or white," his father chided.
When you decided to become a doctor, you couldn't
settle for just any specialty.  You had to outdo me
and prove you were better than your old man.  And
what could be more dramatically different than a
field that deals with life and death issues every
minute?"

His father's words cut him with the precision of
a surgeon's scalpel.  An uncomfortable feeling in
his stomach was making its presence known.  Kel
replied, "You've never accepted the fact that
we're totally different people with different
interests.  Maybe sitting around talking to people
all day long is your cup of tea, but it isn't mine.
I thrive on the excitement of the emergency room."

"What is it precisely that you find so appealing?
Is it the power you wield of being the head of the
department, or saving people's lives?"

Kel's famous temper flared.  "Saving people's lives,
of course!"

"And you don't think I help save people's lives?"
Brent shot back.  "You may have looked down upon
my profession and the scheduled hours I kept, but
they allowed me the luxury of being able to raise
a family and participate in a healthy social life.
On the other hand, you'd rather work like a maniac
to the exclusion of all else.  You're forty-two years
old and you have no life to speak of.  You're not able
to sustain relationships, and your time is essentially
confined to the hospital and your apartment."

Color began to drain from the younger man's face.
He was furious that his father would dare to presume
to lecture him, particularly in a public setting.

Undeterred, Brent continued.  "Even though we rarely
get together, we do work in the same hospital.  I
know you're working yourself into an early grave.
Your long hours and avoidance of vacations are
legendary.  But it's taking its toll on you.  You
look exhausted.  You're pale, you've lost weight
and you look like you're not sleeping well."

Incredulous, Kel warned, "This is none of your
business."

"You're my son.  That makes it my business."

A war waged within Kel.  He was angry with his
father for pursuing this line of conversation,
and with Dixie for insisting he schedule this
stupid meeting.  Most of all, he was angry with
himself for allowing events to unfold as they had.
After all these years, he should have known better
than to discuss certain topics with his father.
It was a foregone conclusion he would always lose
these heated debates.  The throbbing in his temple
worsened.

"Dad, you have no right to make judgments about
how I choose to live my life."

Brent leaned back in the leather-upholstered chair.
"Then answer me this question.  Did you succeed?"

Kel was thoroughly confused.  "Succeed in what?"

"Did you prove to yourself you're not me?"

"I don't understand."

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"Obviously you thought I was so terrible that
you went through extraordinary measures to avoid
being like me.  In personality, temperament, interests,
profession, you've tried to be my opposite in every
way.  But you're a grown man now.  You've established
yourself."  Brent's tone softened and he gently placed
his hand on Kel's forearm.  "Son, if you're still
running away from something, do you even know where
you're running to?"

Suddenly Kel felt the room was closing in on him.
Overwhelmed by nausea, he bolted from the table
and raced to the men's room.  Standing over the
toilet, he proceeded to lose what little he had
eaten earlier in the day.

A few minutes later, he splashed his face with cold
water to revive himself.  He caught his reflection
in the mirror.  For the first time, he didn't see
the cocky, self-assured head of emergency services
at Rampart.  He saw an insecure little boy wanting
to be anyone but his father.

********************************
From :  "SM Fortis" <satchie51@hotmail.com>  
Subject : [EmergencyTheaterLive] The Restaurant Confessional  
Date :  Wed, 27 Nov 2002 09:42:38 -0600  
 

Grateful to be home in his own apartment, Kel
stretched out on the couch.  Despite Joeís
advice he wait awhile before scheduling another
reconciliation attempt, Kel promptly contacted
his father and made reservations for dinner that
evening.  Patience never had been his greatest
virtue.  His colleague was right in one respect.
If Kel dictated the terms of the meeting and tried
to keep the conversation on message, perhaps he
would feel more in control of the situation.  He
was determined not to feel powerless in the presence
of Brent Brackett again.

Since his return home, Dixie called twice to make
sure he was okay.  To combat his growing anxiety,
Kel occupied himself by spending most of the
afternoon performing errands and browsing at a
jazz record store Joe was always raving about.
After purchasing a couple of albums, he glanced
at his watch and headed back to his apartment.

He was pleased to discover the patio door was
already replaced.  One unpleasant reminder of the
previous eveningís events was now conveniently
eradicated.  Unfortunately, the stark white bandages
wrapping his right hand and arm were still grim
reminders of his angry outburst.  Kel cringed at
the memory of his senseless act.

Placing his package on the table, he headed toward
his bedroom and began rummaging through his closet
for an appropriate suit.  After a quick shower and
shave, Kel changed clothes and left ahead of schedule.
He thought if he arrived at the restaurant first,
he would feel less intimidated by his father.  He
was resolved not to leave in humiliation again.

The maitre dí promptly greeted Kel and ushered
him to his table.  He briefly closed his eyes and
drew a deep breath, trying to prepare himself for
the exchange that awaited him.  Looking through
the windows, Kel saw a spectacular sunset.  Somehow
the scene comforted and encouraged him.  The advice
of his friends was at the forefront of his mind
right now.  The sooner he could establish some
common ground with his father, the sooner their
fractured relationship could begin to heal.

Shortly thereafter, the elder Brackett was escorted
to the table.  Kel rose not only as a point of
etiquette, but also as a token of respect.  Brent
offered his hand in greeting, and suddenly Kel
felt self-conscious about his injury.  Pasting
an uncomfortable smile on his face, he gingerly
shook his fatherís hand.

Brent frowned.  "What happened to your arm?"

"Oh, I had a little accident at home.  Iím fine."
Eager to deflect attention from himself, Kel asked,
"Did you have any problems finding the restaurant?"

"No, not at all.  Your directions were quite
specific."  Appreciatively eyeing the premises,
Brent remarked, "This place has a very cozy
atmosphere.  How did you happen upon this amazing
little discovery?"

Kel inwardly smiled at the memories of many pleasant
evenings he shared with Dixie here.  "A friend
introduced me to it several years ago.  I hoped
the change of venue would provide a fresh start
for us.  There would be no ghosts from the past
to haunt us."  Signaling the waiter, he ordered
a round of drinks for the two of them, preferring
club soda for himself.  He decided he could not
afford to have his thoughts clouded by alcohol,
nor his famous temper unleashed by lowered
inhibitions.  No, tonight Kel needed his complete
faculties.

His fatherís brow furrowed.  "Youíre not having
your usual?"

"Iím taking some medication," Kel lied.

"I heard you took a rare day off today.  Is
everything okay?"

That was the problem with a small community like
Rampart, news traveled fast.  How much did his
father know about last night?  Kelís answer was
evasive.  "I had some personal business to attend
to."

"I have to admit, I was surprised to hear from you
this afternoon," Brent said.  "I thought our last
meeting went rather badly."

Taking a sip of his drink, Kel proceeded, "Thatís
why I wanted to see you again so soon.  I think
weíve allowed this situation to go on long enough.
Donít you agree?"

His father sighed.  "So, has the prodigal son
experienced some glorious epiphany since we last
met?"

"Dad, Iím simply tired of this ridiculous state
of affairs.  Weíve been at odds since I was a kid.
Okay, Iím not a brilliant psychiatrist, so maybe
Iím too dense to understand the official psychobabble
explanation.  But Iím smart enough to know this
standoff has come to an end."

"You always have been willful."

The men were granted a respite when the waiter
came to take their order.  They sat in silence
for several minutes, each studiously avoiding
contact.  It was painfully obvious neither felt
comfortable in the otherís presence.

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Finally, Brent addressed his son.  "I understand
you were upset with me last night."

Kel shot his father a baleful glare.  "Weíre not
here to discuss MY problems.  Weíre here to
discuss OURS."

"Okay, so whatís really on your mind?"

Attempting to keep his tone of voice devoid of
emotion, Kel asked, "Why DID you move to Los
Angeles?  Of all the places in the country you
could have relocated to, why did you have to move
here, and why did you choose to practice at
Rampart?"

Brent stared at the table centerpiece.  "Your mother
wanted the two of us to make amends.  Since it
was obvious you werenít going to make the first
step, she thought I should swallow my foolish pride
and initiate the process."

"I donít understand."

"When you were a boy, we used to enjoy spending
time together, as strange as that seems now.  We
went almost everywhere together."  A small smile
escaped Brentís lips.  "I used to take you to the
hospital with me, and youíd tell anyone who would
listen that you were my son, and you were going to
be a doctor like me when you grew up."

The older man remorsefully shook his head.  "But
soon your youthful boasts appealed to my vanity.
I envisioned you as my own immortality, so I wanted
to remold you in my image.  Since you were always
so willing to please me, I assumed you would be
agreeable to this arrangement.  I honestly pictured
us spending quality time together over the years,
and in due time, I foresaw the day when you would
take your rightful place as my partner in my
clinical practice."

"But it didnít quite work out that way," Kel said
flatly.

"Unfortunately, it didnít.  I pushed you away
instead. In my arrogance, I refused to recognize
you as a unique individual.  You always had a
sense of your own identity."

"I resented you dictating my life," Kel stated.
"You never bothered to ask me if I wanted to
participate in your grand plans or not.  All I
knew is one day I was Dadís precious son who
could do no wrong, and then the next you found
fault with everything I did.  No detail was too
insignificant to escape your exacting scrutiny.
I thought you didnít love me anymore."

"But that was the problem," Brent explained.  "I
loved you too much, but in an unhealthy way.  Ironic,
isnít it?  Here I was, a well-renown psychiatrist,
but I wasnít able to see I was sabotaging our
relationship.  Every time you rebelled and became
angrier, I became more critical.  Because you failed
to conform, I assumed you were stupid and ungrateful.
I felt like a failure not only as a father, but also
as a psychiatrist.  My ego wouldnít allow me to admit
I had failed.  Until the day you left, I had to keep
trying to remake you."

Kel rubbed his face.  "Why didnít you say anything
before?

"Saying ĎIím sorryí has never come easily to me.
I didnít realize the full implications of what I
had done to you until you were gone.  By that time,
we were barely speaking to each other.  Over the
years, begging for forgiveness became next to
impossible."

Conflicting emotions swirled within Kel.  He was
angry with his father for not mentioning any of
this earlier, but he understood how difficult it
must have been for him to do so tonight.  Kel
took after his father in that respect.  It was
not in his nature to cross emotional barriers
without significant effort.  If it were not for
the encouragement of Dixie and Joe, he would not
be here this evening having this conversation.
He knew he was hardly in a position to judge his
father on this particular point.

But he also felt a myriad of other feelings:
abandonment, betrayal, resentment, bewilderment
and surprisingly, still even love.  Kel saw his
father with new eyes.  Brent didnít look so arrogant
and controlling now.  Instead, he came across as an
aging pathetic figure that once hoped to live forever
through his son.

For a long period of time, the two men did not
speak.  They were content to nurse their drinks
and stare into oblivion.  They were relieved when
the waiter served the food.  For a few moments
they would be spared the necessity of having to
engage in conversation.

As they began to eat, Brent looked on with genuine
concern since Kel seemed to have trouble carving
his steak due to his injured hand.  "Do you need
any help with that?" he offered.

"No, thatís okay, I have it under control.  Iím
pretty good with a knife, if I do say so myself,"
Kel grinned.

"I see you havenít lost your sense of modesty
over the years."

The son shrugged.  "Itís hard to be humble and
great at the same time."

"Youíre a lot like your mother in some ways, very
resilient and single-minded.  I know you tend to
think of it as a sign of weakness, but youíre more
compassionate like she is."  Brent softly said,
"After all these years, your mother has never
forgiven me for driving you away from us.  Iím
not sure Iíve forgiven myself."

Kel was confused.  He wasnít sure what he expected
from this eveningís meeting, but his fatherís
uncharacteristic confession certainly wasnít it.
He shifted uncomfortably in his chair.  Recent
conversations with Dixie and Joe weighed heavily
upon his conscience.  Years of hurt could not be
easily erased with a simple apology.  Yet, they
needed to begin somewhere.  He thought of his mother,
and the years of anguish this rift must have caused
her.  Didnít he at least owe it to her to make an
effort?

Staring at his nearly full plate, Kel tentatively
cleared this throat.  "Dad, as youíve pointed out
before, Iíve never been good at maintaining
relationships.  But maybe now is a good time to
begin.  Donít you think itís time we started
behaving like two grown men and put aside our
differences, if for no other reason than for
Momís sake?"

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"I donít even know where to begin," Brent said
reluctantly.

Cautiously leaning forward, Kel spoke.  "Perhaps
itís time for you to visit me in my office for a
change.  You know, see me in my natural habitat?
Itís possible I subconsciously went into emergency
medicine to spite you or to prove something to myself.
But somewhere along the way I discovered it was
my passion.  I really love this field, and Iím
good at it.  I canít imagine being happier anywhere
else but the emergency room of Rampart.  What do
you say, Dad?"

Brent considered his sonís proposal.  "I donít know.
I heard the head of the department can be a real
bear and a force to be reckoned with."

"No, those are all vicious rumors," Kel chuckled.
"Heís a real pussycat once you get to know him.
At least thatís what the head nurse is fond
of pointing out."

"Speaking of the head nurse, do I have your
reassurances sheís not going to bite my head
off if I set foot in the ER?  She must think
I give you such grief."

"No, Dad.  In fact, sheís one of the reasons
I called you.  Dixie has been after me for ages
to get me to end this conflict.  Sheís a
persistent woman."

"Sounds like your mother," Brent joked.  The two
men laughed.  For the first time all evening, they
felt genuinely relaxed.

"How about meeting me in my office for coffee
tomorrow morning?" Kel asked.  "I can give you
a tour of my department."  With a tinge of a
little boyís expectation in his voice he added,
"Hopefully youíll be proud of what your son has
become."

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******************************
From : "Roxy Dee" <laterrapincabesa@hotmail.com>  
Subject : Patch Job~~  
Date : Tue, 03 Dec 2002 15:25:14 +0000

They piped down when Kel came through the treatment
doors not alone, but accompanied by Brent Brackett,
the tyrannical father figure they had heard so much about
through Paramedic Mendelson in the hall.

Dix cast significant eyes at Johnny and Roy and the rest
of the gang in the room and angled her head to show
her statement about their making amends was really
quite true. She started heading for the door.

Kel called out after her. "Say Dix, did you get Roy's
blood samples for the l--?"  he broke off when Dix
held up the three vials already clasped in her long
fingernails without turning around. "oh... ok."

Dixie winked at the gang on her way out.

Dr. Brackett noticed the unusual presence of Roy's
coworkers in the room, trying to blend in with
the glass medicine cabinets. "Roy, you've quite an
entourage of fans here. Didn't know you were so
popular. Thought Gage here was the star in your
outfit."

"They're worried about Chet, doc." DeSoto said
without smiling.

"Nothing to worry about." Brent Brackett spoke
up instantly.

Dr. Brackett stiffened at his father's intrusion into
his patient / doctor territory, but the firemen all saw
Kel relax a bit when Kel realized Brent was actually
bringing his own skills to bear accordingly as
was his right as senior attending house psychologist.

"We just left him and his chest Xray, young man.
Looking good. Both of them." Brent told Roy and
the rest of the firemen in the room, hanging on
to his white coat's lapels.

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Johnny's eye rose skeptically, making Kel smirk
in mild amusement. "What Dr. Brackett is saying, is true.
Chet's chest Xray is showing little edema and a huge
reduction in swelling. Looks like the effect of the lungful
of ammonia he took in was only temporary, made that
way, by your prompt fast action with administering
unmoistened O2. And even his abdominal plates look
good. I saw only minor shadowing over his spleen.
The mast trousers did their job. All bleeding's under
control. The surgery I'm doing on him should just be
a patch job, gentlemen.."

"That's a relief.." Mike Stoker sighed. "It wasn't fun
seeing Chet fly off my engine like he did."

"Yeah, Chet's no superman.." Gage chuckled.

They hushed down when Kel Brackett finished
checking Roy out. DeSoto showed him the place
where the ammonia had soaked into his arm.
Only a little reddening was showing up under the
light. "Mild first degree freeze burn. I don't think
any had time to get into your blood stream, Roy.
Your lab tests will reveal that for sure in a few
minutes. Get dressed. We're through. Just be
sure to call me on return of symptoms, all right?"

"You got it, doc.." he said.

Kel hurried out the door to head for surgery.

Brent was left in the room with the gang
and he handed Roy his T- shirt back. "Is he
a good man to work with, Kel Brackett?
Afraid to admit, that I've really just started
watching him work, only tonight."

Roy answered without hesitation, but subconsciously
straightening from where he sat on the treatment
gurney. "One of the best, sir. He singlehandedly
saved the Paramedic Program from being legislated
out of operation during its earliest days and he
trained not only me, personally, but my partner
Johnny here, as well, to function as efficient
intermediary caregivers in just about any prehospital
setting. To date, in only six years, Dr. Brackett
created twenty paramedic teams  embedded
in just as many firehouses across L. A.
County. Entirely due to his own hard work and
perserverence."

Brent laughed openly and clasped Roy's
hand warmly. "My g*d. Do we need an
introduction my boy! Seems Dixie's really
painted me out to be the worst ogre of a two
ogre pair now hasn't she?
You're practically foaming at the mouth singing
praises about my boy, son. Relax....True, I'm just
like Kel in temperment,  but I'm mellower by miles..
A trait of all this gray hair, I suppose. Listen..I really
appreciate your devotion to my son's work..
Sounds very genuine if I do say so myself.
Mr...mr..."

"DeSoto.." Roy said, returning the handshake.

Johnny's nervous smile fell off into a sideways
grin of relief.

"DeSoto. A solid French name. And the rest of you?"

A round of introductions came after that from Cap
right on down to Stoker.

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

They ended up in the coffee lounge, away from public
view, so the firefighting gear wouldn't alarm hospital
visitors.  Brent Brackett learned a whole lot about
his son from Dixie and the Station 51 crew over
the next hour while they waited for word about
Chet's surgery results.

Brent finally couldn't stand their fretting. He rose,
abandoning his coffee mug. "All right. I've monopolized
your good graces enough folks, digging for dirt or gold
concerning my very grown son. Tell you what..
I've got a lot of clout around here as house psych.
Think I'll peek in on how Kel's handling your man,
captain." he said.

Cap looked startled. "You don't have to do
that. We know Chet's probably fine, doctor. Just
a patch surgery job, Kel said."


"Be that as it may. I'll be killing two birds with one
stone by making the round. I'll get your answer
for you that much sooner and I'll be able to see
my son in action at the same time. Fair trade off."

"Just stay in the observation room.." Dix chided.

"Where would the fun be in that, Miss McCall? I want
to see how my son works under pressure.."

Dix scowled, but it was tempered with amusement.
"Family peer pressure's dirty pool, doctor, and you
know it.."

"Kel can handle it. After all, he's handled this whole
paramedic thing and all these men behind it for six years?
How's one more doctor hanging over his shoulder
gonna matter?"

"Plenty..you'll both be wearing the same fake smile."
Dix said without a shred of humility, as Brent made
his goodbyes to the stationhouse gang and accepted
their profuse thanks for doing what he was about to do.

Captain Stanley leaned back, lacing his fingers behind
his head and wondered when the sparks were
going to ignite into a big fire between the Brackett
docs once again. He hope Brent's little appearance
in Kel's operating ward wouldn't prove to be a new
catalyst for another fiery father son feud.

Dixie didn't appear overtly alarmed. She simply
reached for the nearly empty coffee pot on the table
contentedly and poured herself a cup.

That cup went right into Joe Early's hands when the
silver haired doctor showed up into the nurses lounge.

Gage said, "How's he doing?" Johnny asked Joe
immediately before the man had taken even one
sip.

"Thanks Dix. I need the pick me up. Fine Johnny..
His vitals are still stable. Kel's almost through with
the exploratory. We had no problems intubating
Chet after he was put under, if that's what you
want to know. His air passages were very clear
Johnny."

Gage nodded, sorry that he was so transparent.
"Thanks doc. His earlier wheezing was kinda scary."

"That's the funny thing about anhydrous ammonia.
It either really really does a number on you, or
it let's you off lightly after a really good scare. In Chet's
case, he got the all bluff end of the spectrum. There's
no retinal damage or even corneal abrasions. No
chance of that blinding you guys were all fearing during
the rescue.."

Mike Stoker said. "Good. Last thing we need is Chet
Kelly banging around the station with a sight cane
while he cooks fifteen alarm chow for us every night."

The whole gang laughed at the image.

Joe even chortled.

Image of brackettscrubs.jpg Image of royjohnnywithcoffeesmirks.jpg Image of joeinvitingkelscrubs.jpg

Roy asked about their other victims from the accident.
"How about the woman we brought in, Daphne? She
doing ok?"

"Same story as Chet, minus the internal injuries.
She'll stay the night and'll be discharged in the morning
if her lungs stay clear. Nice fast action Johnny on
ending that laryngeal spasm then." Dr. Early said.

"I didn't do anything. The hose team got a good
pocket of air around us and she resolved on her own."

"Lucky. She could have been that close to triggering
a tracheal collapse reflex when her larynx cramped
like that." Joe said, holding out miniscule fingers in the
air.

"I know.. you could have knocked me over with
a stick when she started breathing again after I
got a good lifting grip on her throat." Gage admitted.
"I remembered at the last second that gas inhalation
reacted the same way as a liquid water drowning
with spasming like that. I almost forgot how effective
the technique was."

"Who taught you that move?" Cap asked. "That
was pretty slick considering there wasn't much else
you could do for her, wearing your SCBA mask like
that.."

"Dr. Brackett."
"Dr. Brackett." Roy and John both replied in stereo.

Dr. Early grinned. "I take it Brent was in here a while
ago."

"How'd you know?" Dix said in surprise.

"They said their answer too fast, Dix, dead give away."

"Oh.."

A loud stomach rumble permeated the air. From
Marco.. "Lo ciento.. All that running made me hungry."

"Time for a pizza run.. My treat.." Joe said.
He got on the phone to dietary, shushing them
all into silence,  before the gang's active protests
stopped him. "Consider it part of your followup
ammonia gas treatment.." he quipped.

"Thanks doc, we owe you one.." Cap grinned.

Cap and the others literally inhaled the four pizzas
while Dix and Joe merely nibbled.

The pizza pans had been tossed onto the dish cart
for only about thirty seconds when the wait for
news about Chet grew once again intolerable.

All eyes started watching the clock and the house
phone for word from Dr. Brent Brackett's
sticking his nose in where it didn't belong.

***************************************
From : "patti keiper" <pattik1@hotmail.com>  
Subject :[EmergencyTheaterLive] Of Mice and Men..  
Date : Thu, 12 Dec 2002 21:31:07 +0000  

Kel Brackett didn't even look up from his
surgical field when he felt a presence at his
shoulder. He knew right away that it was his
father in the blue scrubs near him. "Doctor Brackett."
he said simply and as neutrally as he could.
Kel could feel his cheek twitching under his mask.
But inwardly, he told himself once again in his
thoughts.::I did ask dad to see what I do
for my living.:: he sighed. ::I just have to get
used to him taking advantage of the invite, hook
line and sinker.::

Brent Brackett knew how to observe
in a sterile ward. His ungloved hands were behind
his back and he stayed behind Kel at half an arm's
length. "Before you say anything.. I...only stepped
in here solely on behalf of the boys who work with
this young fellow. They're milking this anhydrous
exposure checkup requirement to the max and
they're all still here, crowded in the nurse's
break lounge. Joe Early had to feed them because
they wouldn't even leave the staff paging phone
unattended long enough to grab a tray from
the cafeteria, fearful they'd miss hearing from
you."

Image of 354.jpg Image of surgeryheadview.jpg

Dr. Brackett wasn't beneath trying to shock his
father. "The resection on the mediastinal aspect
of Chet's spleen is a straight forward repair job.
See for yourself.." and he intentionally sprayed
his running tube of sterile saline wash over the
area, not caring that a part of its red tinged spray
splashed up, catching his father's mask and his
scrub top liberally as it plumed upwards when the
older man didn't anticipate stepping back at the
sound like all the others around the table did.

Brent flinched but then blinked, wondering if the
dousing had been a ploy to drive him away, but he
was already more than determined to remain.
He cleared his throat and said loud enough for all
in the room to hear.
"Oops. Good thing gore has never bothered me.
Please, show me what you've done so far, doctor.
I'm all eyes." he said, hiding any trace of negative
emotion from his voice. Brent surprised himself when
his own temper, didn't flare up at all.

Nonetheless, a well informed, Dixie enlightened tech
hastily suctioned away the water for Kel from Chet's
abdominal cavity almost a little too fast. Kel had to
hold Chet's spleen down with his forceps so it
wouldn't plug her tube's port as she used it.

Kel glanced at her reflexively but the woman's
face stayed looking down at what she was doing.
For her benefit, Kel said. "Sorry about that, I'll
slow down." Dr. Brackett half wondered if there
was anyone on the staff who didn't know about
the Brackett family friction. And he quickly began
feeling like an *ss for what he had done.
::Dixie's thorough on the grapevine, I'll give
her that. About as thorough as she is running triage.
Everyone around us is walking on egg shells.
That's gonna change..:: he vowed. ::Now.::
he said. He was glad for his mask when it hid
the rising red of embarrassment in his face.
He decided to show the entire room that Dixie's
tale about them was now completely baseless.
"Dad, look here. This is where Chet's fall impacted
against his spleen. See that mark? You can almost
make out lettering from the regulator valve he fell
on top of. He must have been wearing a SCBA bottle
when he fell and that metal piece on the harness
was what cut him internally."

"Hmm. I see it." Brent mumbled.
"Looks sort of like the artifacts that show up on chest
x-rays sometimes from drivers impacting
their sternums against the steering wheel column?"
Brent asked. Then he chuckled. "Saw a Chrysler
logo chevron once on one from a patient of
mine. That young man now hangs that
x-ray on his wall." He sighed accepting a cotton wad
from a nurse gratefully so he could mop up his
gory face. "He now shows it to all of his dates
and tells them it's his secret tattoo that can even
be felt, for a kiss."

"Yeah? Well Chet won't be left with any such girl magnet.
This tissue isn't bone. It will heal cleanly in a few days,
leaving no traces. Chet's external skin bruising will
stay longer than this laceration."
Kel said, snipping off his last internal suture stitch.
"There," he said, "Good as new.." Kel dabbed the
spleen with gauze until Brent could see his work.

"Bowels clear? And the intestines?" Brent asked,
peering closer.

"Completely. All of Chet's internal bleeding came
from this site alone. The spleen's the body's
repository for whole blood so it's not surprising
this tiny tear hemorrhaged so much. The anti
shock trousers did a good job stopping it as
you saw on the films."

"So I did.." Brent said. "So, what should I tell
the fireboys?"

Image of kelsdadssurgery.jpg Image of liversurgery.jpg

"That it was a piece of cake, doctor. Chet's no
longer in jeopardy."

"Will do." and he nodded and winked to the nervous
tech across from them. Then he turned to his
surgeon son. "Coffee after you close?"

"Wouldn't miss it." Kel said.

"Then I'll leave you all to your work.." Brent
Brackett leaned down to Chet. He saw
the young fireman's eyes had been ointmented
and protectively taped shut and he carefully stayed
away from where the anesthesiologist was listening
to Chet's breathing through the endotrach
tube with a stethoscope. He spoke firmly into Kelly's
ear. "Looks good son. Almost done. Wake up fast
cause your friends are still hanging around
to see you. My guess is that it won't be good
for them later if your dispatcher has to order
them back to the stationhouse. Oh, and Joe Early
just told me they've saved some pizza for you."
he said, patting Chet's sheet covered shoulder.
"So hurry up son, before someone gets hungry
again and it disappears."

Everyone around the table laughed when Chet's
stomach took that moment to start growling.
It was very audible as it and the organs around
it were still exposed to the air.

"That got through my anesthesia?" the man at
Chet's head joked. "Usually I have people's
plumbing napping soundly during splenectomies."

"Yeah well this fireman's appetite is legendary, Dale.
Don't feel bad. I hear Johnny complaining about his
donut stealing prowess all the time." Kel shook his
head ruefully, amused. "Dad, I know of a better
way to wake him up if you're interested.
Grab Johnny's walkie talkie. I'll have Doctor
Riley here on the respirator play him his station's
alarm tones after he's extubated." he joked.

"Aren't you the creative one.." Brent teased back,
just before the surgical bay doors closed between
them. "But I think I'll pass on that. Positive
reinforcement works so much better than shock
tactics.." he replied.

Brackett immediately regretted his little stunt with
splashing the sterile wash. Internally, Kel accepted Brent's
hidden admonishment. ::I deserved that. Now
why am I still acting like such a pig? This unspoken feud
between us is being addressed. What am I afraid
of?::

Inside his head, another voice of conscience spoke
up. ::Losing your mother because of it.::

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

Brent Brackett was still wet from his shower
when he dialed the nurses lounge.

The phone rang, making the whole gang jump
in their seats as way too much coffee in their
systems made them overreact.

Then the babble in the room ceased when no one
moved to intercept the phone. Marco, Stoker, Johnny
and Roy all hushed up in tension, like frightened rabbits
when it was the red phone and not the black one
that was paging them.

Dixie MacCall answered the phone. "Nurse's lounge,
Dixie McCall speaking.."

Brent greeted her. "Miss McCall? Put Mr. Kelly's
captain on. I wanna speak with him directly. And
before you ask. All things went well. Both my
visit and with Chester's exploratory. His spleen's
intact. Didn't need to be removed. So hop to,
woman."

Dixie hid her smile even from her eyes as she
handed over the phone. "Captain Stanley.
You're needed here."

Image of caproyatrampart.jpg Image of dixieanswerwhitephonesmile.jpg

"Oh, boy. Hope it's not McConnike for playing hooky.
He never goes through public HT channels when he's
really mad at somebody." Cap said, leaping off the
lounge couch and wiping nervous palms on
his turnout.

Dixie couldn't help herself. She said, "Relax captain.
It's not him. Remember, I'm your solid alibi here for
all of you staying at Rampart even if the chief does call.
I already have my speech planned out."
and she broke into a reasoning voice, sugar coated with
Dixie no nonsense. "I'll just say, 'Chief, It's a little busy
today, and that's why it's taking longer than usual to
examine all of your men. ' when the time comes."

"Glad somebody's prepared for that call."
Hank sighed, and rose, taking the phone from her.
"This is Fireman Stanley." with more than just
slight apprehension.

Brent grinned."Go home, captain. Chet's already
being sent to recovery. His spleen was only
holed, not grossly ruptured. It was all just minor
surgery."

Cap excitedly spread the good news to his listeners
out of ear shot.

Brent heard the cheers and had to take the phone
away from his ear for a moment but then he shouted
before Hank hung up again. "Captain Stanley, one thing.
Hand that to-go box full of pizza to Dixie for her to
take to his room or Chet's gonna personally kill ya."

"Huh?"

"Subliminal suggestion, Captain. Works everytime.
I told him it would be waiting."

"Gotcha, doc. She heard ya. Thanks, Dr. Brackett,
for everything. We really appreciate it."

"That's why I'm a psychologist, son. Take care."
and Brent hung up the phone.

*****************************
From : "SM Fortis" <satchie51@hotmail.com>  
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Hello?  
Date : Thu, 12 Dec 2002 23:15:18 -0600


Silently cursing himself as he entered the elevator,
Kel punched the button for the ground floor.  What
was he thinking when he invited his father to
spend time with him at work?  Did he possess
a bizarre need to validate his sense of self-
worth?  Was he trying to dazzle him with his
diagnostic and surgical abilities?  After all
these years, did Brent Brackettís opinion still
matter?

Upon reaching his destination, Kel approached
his office with grim determination.  With greater
force than was necessary, he flung the door open.
Brent sat in one of the leather-upholstered chairs
in front of the imposing desk.  Pasting a smile on
his face, Kel addressed his father.

"Hey, Dad.  Are you ready to head to the Doctor's
Lounge?"

Brent shrugged his shoulders.  "In a minute.  I
thought we could talk first."

The younger Brackett nervously laughed.  "You
sound like a typical shrink.  You guys always
want to talk."

"Spoken like a true surgeon.  Always wanting to
plunge right into things."

"Dad.."

"Itís okay," Brent said.  "Obviously we each
have our own talents."

An uncomfortable silence ensued.  Feeling like
a world-class jerk for his behavior earlier, Kel
cleared his throat.  "Dad, Iím sorry for that
little stunt in the OR.  It was immature and
uncalled for.  You just caught me off guard,
thatís all."

"I know.  But when you invited me to watch you
work, you didnít plan on me ambushing you either."

"I did assume it would be under more controlled
circumstances," Kel admitted.

Leaning back in his chair, Brent said, "I had an
opportunity to speak with a couple of your biggest
fans this evening."

"Oh?"

"The paramedics that work with the firefighter
you operated on.  I believe their names were Roy
and Johnny?"

Kel smiled broadly.  "They were one of the first
teams I trained.  I wasnít a huge supporter of
the program initially.  Oh, to be honest, I was
vehemently against it.  I thought it was dangerous
and essentially amounted to practicing medicine
without a license.  But eventually I came around
and became one of the programís staunchest defenders.
We cleared some substantial legislative hurdles and
funding crises, and now I canít imagine how we managed
pre-hospital care without our paramedics."

Image of dadsmile.jpg Image of speakseehearno.jpg Image of kelsmileatdad.jpg

"They were quite effusive in their praise,"
Brent commented.  "You certainly have earned
their respect.  Youíre more than a mentor to these
men."

Suddenly embarrassed, Kel joked, "Well, perhaps
they may not feel so charitable when itís time
for their annual performance evaluations."

"Seriously, Kel.  That says a great deal about
your character.  I would be immensely flattered
if someone thought that highly of me."

"But Dad, youíre well respected in your field."

"Itís not the same," Brent lamented.  "So what
if Iíve published extensively?  Other than
impressing a handful of snobbish colleagues
and adding a few lines to my Curriculum Vitae,
I havenít accomplished anything of lasting
significance."

Kel rubbed his temple.  First there was the
strange confession in the restaurant, and now
there was a melancholy tone to his fatherís last
remark.  This was proving to be an interesting
evening.

Staring at the carefully arranged bookcase, Brent
continued.  "Based on the hospital grapevine, I
expected you to be arrogant and overbearing, and
thought your employees would cower in your presence.
Instead, I discovered youíre merely passionate
about your lifeís calling.  In retrospect, I can
see your career choice wasnít an act of parental
defiance.  This is what you were meant to do."

"I canít imagine doing anything else, Dad.  I
feel complete here."

"Yes, I can see that now."

Resting his elbows on his desk, Kel asked, "Dad?
Donít you think we need to forgive ourselves
too?"

Brent raised a questioning eyebrow.  "What?"

"Donít get me wrong.  Forgiving each other is
a significant step in the right direction in
putting our relationship back on track, but it
isnít going to help if weíre consumed with guilt
over past offenses."

The elder Brackett buried his face in his hands.
"Thatís easier said than done.  You donít have
a constant reminder of your mistakes."

"I donít understand," Kel said.

"Your mother isnít the same person anymore.
She blames me for tearing her family apart.
Scarcely a day goes by that Iím not reminded
of my failures as a father.  You have no idea
what itís like to go home every day, knowing
your presence is barely tolerated."

"So when you moved to Los Angeles."

"I was not only trying to reestablish communi-
cation with you, I was trying to save my marriage,"
Brent finished.

"Wow," Kel exclaimed.  "I had no idea.  Mom
always sounds okay when I talk to her."

"Of course, she would," Brent snorted.
"Youíre her precious baby, even if you are
forty-two years old.  She still wants to protect
you from all of the unpleasant things in life."

"Oh, man.  I really messed up, didnít I?  I
must have broken her heart when I left home."

"She was pretty upset with both of us," Brent
pointedly added.  "Youíre not entirely at fault."

Kel was furious with himself.  He was so anxious
to escape his domineering father, he never
considered the effect his departure would have
on this mother.  During telephone conversations,
she always sounded so cheerful.  Now it was
apparent because of the power struggle between
the two men, his mom had been cruelly deprived
of the most cherished relationships in her life.

"Do you think sheíll ever be able to forgive
me?" Kel asked earnestly.

"Hah!  Youíre completely blameless as far as
sheís concerned.  Iím the heartless ..well, you
get the idea."

"Thatís not fair.  It was ultimately my decision.
I could have handled the situation better," Kel
reasoned.

"Hindsight is always crystal clear, son," Brent
replied.  "At the time, you were so blinded by
your contempt for me, I doubt you could have
arrived at any other solution.  Besides, as much
as I hate to admit, I was relieved to see you go.
After years of yelling and screaming, I looked
forward to having some quiet time with your mother."

Image of chetdowneyesclosed.jpg Image of brackettwithbadnews.jpg Image of datascopesinusrhythm.jpg

The younger man attempted a feeble grin.  "I assume
that was a case of be careful of what you wish for?"

"Absolutely.  Your mother didnít speak to me for
weeks.  The situation deteriorated to the point
where we separated for a couple of months."

"Youíre kidding!"  As Kel looked across his desk,
he realized the man sitting opposite him was a
stranger.  It was difficult to comprehend this
was someone he once shared his dreams and aspirations
with.  Was it his imagination, or did his father age
a little bit more each time he shared another
humbling personal secret?

"So how are you two doing now?" Kel inquired.

Running his fingers across his chin, Brent responded,
"Weíre managing.  Weíve settled into a comfortable
routine here, and sheís made new friends.  But
hardly a day goes by that she doesnít ask about
you.  She wants to know if Iíve seen you, do you
look well, how is your career doing that sort
of thing.  Mainly she wants to know why I havenít
marched into your office and thrown myself at
your mercy."

Mentally evaluating the available floor space,
Kel said, "I donít know, Dad.  Perhaps thereís a
spot over here where prostration might be an option."

A chuckle was heard from across the room.  "Iíve
groveled enough for one evening.  Weíre overdue
for a cup of coffee."  As Brent rose from his
chair, Kel motioned for him to sit down.

"Wait a minute, Dad.  I want to make a phone
call."

"Canít it wait until tomorrow?  Itís late."

"Thatís the problem.  Iím hoping itís not too
late," Kel explained.

Puzzled, Brent sat back down.  "Who are you
calling?"

"I want to call Mom."

"At this hour?"

Jolted to reality, Kel pushed the phone back
to the corner of his desk.  "Youíre right.
I donít know what got into me.  Besides, I donít
even have the number on me."

Moved by the haunted expression in his sonís
eyes, Brent sighed.  "Do you have a pen?"

"No, sheís probably already in bed.  Iíll call
her later."

His father seized control of the phone and dialed
the familiar number.  Thrusting the receiver into
Kelís hands, Brent quietly left the room.

With each ring, Kelís heart rate accelerated.
His mouth felt incredibly dry.  Oh, this was
ridiculous, he thought.  He was a grown man
calling his own mother.  It wasnít like he was
a gawky teenager asking the prom queen out for
a date!

The ringing stopped and was replaced by a gentle
voice.  Summoning his courage, Kel tentatively
said, "Mom?  Itís Kel....."

Image of dixiereadinekgstrip.jpg Image of brackettonphoneinoffice.jpg

------------------------------------------
Doctor Brackett awoke in a sweat, and startled
awake in his hospital room. With a start, he realized
that it wasn't the first day of his emergency
admission anymore. It was the last one, fully a week
after he had collapsed in Dixie's administrative office
with a sky rocketting blood pressure.

It had been only Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage's fast,
careful care that had prevented a stroke in him, he knew.
::I was too high strung to calm myself down.  Now I'm living
testimony to their still solid effectiveness as paramedics. :: he
decided. ::Glad they both made captain.::  

Sighing in relief that his dreams about his father had
only been a recap of what had once been, Kel sat up and
tested his physical strength out yet again in his legs and feet.

No tubes of any kind stuck out of his body. ::Good
riddance. I was getting tired of those.:: Kel thought,
realizing once again that he was already in his street clothes,
waiting for his ride home. ::I wonder when Dad's coming?
It can't be too long now. And I wonder what he's got planned for
me this time?:: he thought.

Brackett smiled when he realized that the worst of both of his
situations, lay behind him.

**************************************************
Subject: Like Father Like...?
From: Erin James <etlhostej@voyagerliveaction.com>
Sent: Tue 4/15/08 3:16 AM

Brent was soon at the door with a smile on his face from
ear to ear. "Hi, Kel." Brent smiled. "Are you ready to go?"

Kel winked at Dixie, who was standing patiently with
the customary discharge wheelchair.

Kel said, "Been ready since Wednesday."

"Okay, All-better-boy. Get in." McCall teased. She
was slightly surprised that Kel didn't fuss about it.

Brackett ignored her suspicion. "Whose car are we taking?"

Brent replied, "We're taking my truck. It's got the most
room, remember?"

Image of bracketthospitalbedrecovering.jpg Image of 355.jpg Image of rampartbackentry.jpg

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