What's A Dedicated Captain Like You Doing..
Note: Music soundtrack is high quality and slow loading in some cases.
**Graphic surgical image below**
The elder Brackett appeared dubious. "I see."|
"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
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
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
"You're being ridiculous."
"Then stop interpreting my actions as though
a hidden psychological meaning behind
them. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
Brent conceded. "So how has
work been, besides busy?"
"Pretty much the same," Kel shrugged.
new hospital administrator doesn't appreciate
the value of the paramedic program to the
so I've been having some interesting
"Do you want to talk about it?"
The other man thoughtfully steepled his fingers.
I'm not one of your patients, all right?"
Kel was developing an excruciating headache.
to methodically massage his right
"Kel, for crying out loud! I'm a psychiatrist,
a witch doctor. It's an honorable profession.
Unfortunately, you've always acted like you were
of what I did for a living. I didn't get
my degree out of a cereal box. I went to medical
at Harvard, and completed a residency and
fellowship at Johns Hopkins, perfectly respectable
Somehow you never seemed to accept
my vocation as a `real' job. Sitting in a plush
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.
wanted to put myself through school so I wouldn't
feel pressured to follow in your footsteps.
waited on tables, parked cars and even worked as
an evening janitor at the university in order
put myself through school. Granted, I didn't have
the same Ivy League education you had, but
my way through my own efforts, and I'm proud of that.
And I distinctly remember how horrified
when I announced I wanted to go into emergency
medicine. You called it barbaric, and
wash out in a week." Smiling smugly, Kel added,
"Well, I'm still here."
his head, Brent argued, "You still don't
understand what this is about, do you?"
"I presume you're going to enlighten me."|
The father sighed in frustration. "You've been
blasted determined to escape from what you
perceived to be my shadow, you've been running
throttle most of your life. You thought
my occupation was boring, so you chose the most
one you could imagine, emergency medicine."
Kel pondered this thought while he took a sip
"But don't you see?" Brent asked. "You're still
acting like this is some bizarre
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
the menu, he mechanically recited the desired
items. His anxiety was mounting with each passing
Concealed by the linen tablecloth, he was
clenching and unclenching his fists.
"Dad, I simply
wanted to be my own man. That's a
"That's true, if not taken to extremes.
never know when to draw the line. Everything is
all or nothing, black or white," his
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
words cut him with the precision of
a surgeon's scalpel. An uncomfortable feeling in
was making its presence known. Kel
replied, "You've never accepted the fact that
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."
is it precisely that you find so appealing?
Is it the power you wield of being the head of the
or saving people's lives?"
Kel's famous temper flared. "Saving people's lives,
"And you don't think I help save people's lives?"
Brent shot back. "You may have looked down
my profession and the scheduled hours I kept, but
they allowed me the luxury of being able
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.
Brent continued. "Even though we rarely
get together, we do work in the same hospital. I
you're working yourself into an early grave.
Your long hours and avoidance of vacations are
But it's taking its toll on you. You
look exhausted. You're pale, you've lost weight
look like you're not sleeping well."
Incredulous, Kel warned, "This is none of your
"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
meeting. Most of all, he was angry with
himself for allowing events to unfold as they had.
all these years, he should have known better
than to discuss certain topics with his father.
was a foregone conclusion he would always lose
these heated debates. The throbbing in his temple
"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."
"Obviously you thought I was so terrible that|
you went through extraordinary measures to avoid
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
his hand on Kel's forearm. "Son, if you're still
running away from something, do you even
you're running to?"
Suddenly Kel felt the room was closing in on him.
by nausea, he bolted from the table
and raced to the men's room. Standing over the
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.
"SM Fortis" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject : [EmergencyTheaterLive] The Restaurant Confessional
Date : Wed, 27 Nov 2002 09:42:38 -0600
Grateful to be home in his own apartment,
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
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
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,
at his watch and headed back to his apartment.
He was pleased to discover the patio
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.
package on the table, he headed toward
his bedroom and began rummaging through his closet
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
relationship could begin to heal.
Shortly thereafter, the elder Brackett was escorted
table. Kel rose not only as a point of
etiquette, but also as a token of respect. Brent
his hand in greeting, and suddenly Kel
felt self-conscious about his injury. Pasting
smile on his face, he gingerly
shook his fatherís hand.
Brent frowned. "What happened to your
"Oh, I had a little accident at home. Iím fine."
Eager to deflect attention from himself,
"Did you have any problems finding the restaurant?"
"No, not at all. Your directions
specific." Appreciatively eyeing the premises,
Brent remarked, "This place has a very
atmosphere. How did you happen upon this amazing
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
His fatherís brow furrowed. "Youíre not having
"Iím taking some medication," Kel lied.
"I heard you took a rare day off today.
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
"I have to admit, I was surprised to hear from you
Brent said. "I thought our last
meeting went rather badly."
Taking a sip of his drink, Kel
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
some glorious epiphany since we last
"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
contact. It was painfully obvious neither felt
comfortable in the otherís presence.
Finally, Brent addressed his son. "I understand|
you were upset with me last night."
his father a baleful glare. "Weíre not
here to discuss MY problems. Weíre here to
"Okay, so whatís really on your mind?"
Attempting to keep his tone of voice devoid of
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
stared at the table centerpiece. "Your mother
wanted the two of us to make amends. Since it
obvious you werenít going to make the first
step, she thought I should swallow my foolish pride
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."
older man remorsefully shook his head. "But
soon your youthful boasts appealed to my vanity.
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
"But it didnít quite work
out that way," Kel said
"Unfortunately, it didnít. I pushed you away
my arrogance, I refused to recognize
you as a unique individual. You always had a
sense of your
"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
could do no wrong, and then the next you found
fault with everything I did. No detail
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.
isnít it? Here I was, a well-renown psychiatrist,
but I wasnít able to see I was sabotaging
relationship. Every time you rebelled and became
angrier, I became more critical. Because
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
"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
Conflicting emotions swirled within Kel. He was
angry with his father for not mentioning any of
earlier, but he understood how difficult it
must have been for him to do so tonight. Kel
after his father in that respect. It was
not in his nature to cross emotional barriers
significant effort. If it were not for
the encouragement of Dixie and Joe, he would not
this evening having this conversation.
He knew he was hardly in a position to judge his
on this particular point.
But he also felt a myriad of other feelings:
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
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
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
since Kel seemed to have trouble carving
his steak due to his injured hand. "Do you need
with that?" he offered.
"No, thatís okay, I have it under control. Iím
pretty good with a
knife, if I do say so myself,"
"I see you havenít lost your sense of modesty
The son shrugged. "Itís hard to be humble and
great at the same time."
a lot like your mother in some ways, very
resilient and single-minded. I know you tend to
of it as a sign of weakness, but youíre more
compassionate like she is." Brent softly said,
all these years, your mother has never
forgiven me for driving you away from us. Iím
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
Staring at his nearly full plate, Kel tentatively
cleared this throat. "Dad, as youíve pointed out
before, Iíve never been good at maintaining
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
"I donít even know where to begin," Brent said|
Cautiously leaning forward, Kel
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."
those are all vicious rumors," Kel chuckled.
"Heís a real pussycat once you get to know him.
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
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
"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
From : "Roxy Dee" <email@example.com>
Subject : Patch
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
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."
winked at the gang on her way out.
Dr. Brackett noticed the unusual presence of Roy's
in the room, trying to blend in with
the glass medicine cabinets. "Roy, you've quite an
of fans here. Didn't know you were so
popular. Thought Gage here was the star in your
"They're worried about Chet, doc." DeSoto said
"Nothing to worry about."
Brent Brackett spoke
Dr. Brackett stiffened at his father's intrusion into
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.
Johnny's eye rose skeptically, making Kel smirk|
in mild amusement. "What Dr. Brackett is saying,
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
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."
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.."
Kel hurried out the door to head for surgery.
Brent was left in the room with
and he handed Roy his T- shirt back. "Is he
a good man to work with, Kel Brackett?
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
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
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?
practically foaming at the mouth singing
praises about my boy, son. Relax....True, I'm just
Kel in temperment, but I'm mellower by miles..
A trait of all this gray hair, I suppose. Listen..I
appreciate your devotion to my son's work..
Sounds very genuine if I do say so myself.
"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?"
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
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.
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
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
how my son works under pressure.."
Dix scowled, but it was tempered with amusement.
peer pressure's dirty pool, doctor, and you
"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
"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
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
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
before the man had taken even one
"Thanks Dix. I need the pick me up. Fine Johnny..
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
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,
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
Mike Stoker said. "Good. Last thing we need
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.
Roy asked about their other victims from the accident.|
"How about the woman we brought in, Daphne?
"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
"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
"Dr. Brackett." Roy and John both replied in stereo.
grinned. "I take it Brent was in here a while
"How'd you know?" Dix said in surprise.
"They said their answer too fast, Dix, dead give away."
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
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" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject :[EmergencyTheaterLive] Of Mice and Men..
Date : Thu, 12 Dec 2002 21:31:07 +0000
Kel Brackett didn't even look up from his
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.
feel his cheek twitching under his mask.
But inwardly, he told himself once again in his
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
sterile ward. His ungloved hands were behind
his back and he stayed behind Kel at half an arm's
"Before you say anything.. I...only stepped
in here solely on behalf of the boys who work with
young fellow. They're milking this anhydrous
exposure checkup requirement to the max and
all still here, crowded in the nurse's
break lounge. Joe Early had to feed them because
wouldn't even leave the staff paging phone
unattended long enough to grab a tray from
fearful they'd miss hearing from
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
older man didn't anticipate stepping back at the
sound like all the others around the table
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.
show me what you've done so far, doctor.
I'm all eyes." he said, hiding any trace of negative
from his voice. Brent surprised himself when
his own temper, didn't flare up at all.
a well informed, Dixie enlightened tech
hastily suctioned away the water for Kel from Chet's
cavity almost a little too fast. Kel had to
hold Chet's spleen down with his forceps so it
plug her tube's port as she used it.
Kel glanced at her reflexively but the woman's
looking down at what she was doing.
For her benefit, Kel said. "Sorry about that, I'll
Dr. Brackett half wondered if there
was anyone on the staff who didn't know about
family friction. And he quickly began
feeling like an *ss for what he had done.
on the grapevine, I'll give
her that. About as thorough as she is running triage.
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
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.
sort of like the artifacts that show up on chest
x-rays sometimes from drivers impacting
sternums against the steering wheel column?"
Brent asked. Then he chuckled. "Saw a Chrysler
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
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
longer than this laceration."
Kel said, snipping off his last internal suture stitch.
he said, "Good as new.." Kel dabbed the
spleen with gauze until Brent could see his work.
clear? And the intestines?" Brent asked,
"Completely. All of Chet's internal
from this site alone. The spleen's the body's
repository for whole blood so it's
this tiny tear hemorrhaged so much. The anti
shock trousers did a good job stopping
you saw on the films."
"So I did.." Brent said. "So, what should I tell
"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
"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
taped shut and he carefully stayed
away from where the anesthesiologist was listening
breathing through the endotrach
tube with a stethoscope. He spoke firmly into Kelly's
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.
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
"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
ruefully, amused. "Dad, I know of a better
way to wake him up if you're interested.
walkie talkie. I'll have Doctor
Riley here on the respirator play him his station's
after he's extubated." he joked.
"Aren't you the creative one.." Brent teased back,
the surgical bay doors closed between
them. "But I think I'll pass on that. Positive
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
::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
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
that was paging them.
Dixie MacCall answered the phone. "Nurse's lounge,
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.
intact. Didn't need to be removed. So hop to,
Dixie hid her smile even
from her eyes as she
handed over the phone. "Captain Stanley.
You're needed here."
"Oh, boy. Hope it's not McConnike for playing hooky.|
He never goes through public HT channels when
really mad at somebody." Cap said, leaping off the
lounge couch and wiping nervous palms on
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.
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."
sighed, and rose, taking the phone from her.
"This is Fireman Stanley." with more than just
Brent grinned."Go home, captain. Chet's already
being sent to recovery. His spleen
holed, not grossly ruptured. It was all just minor
Cap excitedly spread
the good news to his listeners
out of ear shot.
Brent heard the cheers and had to take the
away from his ear for a moment but then he shouted
before Hank hung up again. "Captain Stanley,
Hand that to-go box full of pizza to Dixie for her to
take to his room or Chet's gonna
personally kill ya."
"Subliminal suggestion, Captain. Works everytime.
him it would be waiting."
"Gotcha, doc. She heard ya. Thanks, Dr. Brackett,
We really appreciate it."
"That's why I'm a psychologist, son. Take care."
and Brent hung
up the phone.
From : "SM Fortis" <email@example.com>
: [EmergencyTheaterLive] Hello?
Date : Thu, 12 Dec 2002 23:15:18 -0600
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?
these years, did Brent Brackettís opinion still
Upon reaching his destination,
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
Brent shrugged his shoulders. "In a minute. I
thought we could talk
The younger Brackett nervously laughed. "You
sound like a typical shrink. You guys
want to talk."
"Spoken like a true surgeon. Always wanting to
plunge right into
"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
for. You just caught me off guard,
"I know. But when you invited me to watch
work, you didnít plan on me ambushing you either."
"I did assume it would be under more
circumstances," Kel admitted.
Leaning back in his chair, Brent said, "I had an
to speak with a couple of your biggest
fans this evening."
"The paramedics that
work with the firefighter
you operated on. I believe their names were Roy
smiled broadly. "They were one of the first
teams I trained. I wasnít a huge supporter of
program initially. Oh, to be honest, I was
vehemently against it. I thought it was dangerous
essentially amounted to practicing medicine
without a license. But eventually I came around
became one of the programís staunchest defenders.
We cleared some substantial legislative hurdles
funding crises, and now I canít imagine how we managed
pre-hospital care without our paramedics."
"They were quite effusive in their praise,"|
Brent commented. "You certainly have earned
respect. Youíre more than a mentor to these
Suddenly embarrassed, Kel joked, "Well,
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."
not the same," Brent lamented. "So what
if Iíve published extensively? Other than
a handful of snobbish colleagues
and adding a few lines to my Curriculum Vitae,
I havenít accomplished
anything of lasting
Kel rubbed his temple. First there was the
in the restaurant, and now
there was a melancholy tone to his fatherís last
remark. This was proving
to be an interesting
Staring at the carefully arranged bookcase, Brent
"Based on the hospital grapevine, I
expected you to be arrogant and overbearing, and
employees would cower in your presence.
Instead, I discovered youíre merely passionate
lifeís calling. In retrospect, I can
see your career choice wasnít an act of parental
This is what you were meant to do."
"I canít imagine doing anything else, Dad. I
"Yes, I can see that now."
Resting his elbows on his desk, Kel asked, "Dad?
you think we need to forgive ourselves
Brent raised a questioning eyebrow. "What?"
"Donít get me wrong. Forgiving each other is
a significant step in the right direction in
our relationship back on track, but it
isnít going to help if weíre consumed with guilt
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.
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
"I was not only trying to reestablish communi-
cation with you, I was trying to save
"Wow," Kel exclaimed. "I had no idea. Mom
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
Kel was furious with himself. He was so anxious
to escape his domineering father,
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
two men, his mom had been cruelly deprived
of the most cherished relationships in her life.
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."
not fair. It was ultimately my decision.
I could have handled the situation better," Kel
"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
I hate to admit, I was relieved to see you go.
After years of yelling and screaming, I looked
to having some quiet time with your mother."
The younger man attempted a feeble grin. "I assume|
that was a case of be careful of what you wish
"Absolutely. Your mother didnít speak to me for
weeks. The situation deteriorated to
where we separated for a couple of months."
"Youíre kidding!" As Kel looked across
he realized the man sitting opposite him was a
stranger. It was difficult to comprehend
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?
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
well, how is your career doing that sort
of thing. Mainly she wants to know why I havenít
into your office and thrown myself at
Mentally evaluating the available floor
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.
for a cup of coffee." As Brent rose from his
chair, Kel motioned for him to sit
"Wait a minute, Dad. I want to make a phone
"Canít it wait until tomorrow?
"Thatís the problem. Iím hoping itís not too
late," Kel explained.
Brent sat back down. "Who are you
"I want to call Mom."
"At this hour?"
Jolted to reality, Kel pushed the phone back
to the corner of his desk. "Youíre right.
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
His father seized control of the phone and dialed
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
The ringing stopped and was replaced by a gentle
his courage, Kel tentatively
said, "Mom? Itís Kel....."
Doctor Brackett awoke in a sweat, and startled
in his hospital room. With a start, he realized
that it wasn't the first day of his emergency
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,
care that had prevented a stroke in him, he knew.
::I was too high strung to calm myself down. Now
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
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,
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tue 4/15/08
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
customary discharge wheelchair.
Kel said, "Been ready since Wednesday."
Get in." McCall teased. She
was slightly surprised that Kel didn't fuss about it.
ignored her suspicion. "Whose car are we taking?"
Brent replied, "We're taking my truck. It's
got the most
Click the gang watching
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