A few minutes
later, Meyers looked up from his handheld where
he had been relaying updates to Roy on the trapped
DeSoto knew what to tell Dr. Brackett when he arrived at the triage
Gage said. "Pulse at the neck. 120 and thready. Respirations
unassisted are eight." he told him. "No
reaction to pain. His
airway's clear. Hanging upside down like this, everything's running
his mouth well. But the demand valve's the only thing working
for him. The ambu didn't provide enough
internal chest pressure to
afford him an adequate breath."
Meyers nodded and relayed the findings.
Then he looked up.
"Brackett's here. Just checked in. He says he's on his way to
help us out.
ETA in two."
"Thank youUuuu." Gage intoned with a low whistle of gratitude.
"Now maybe we'll
get the ball rolling."
But things didn't happen that way.
Long after the rest of the car
crash scene had been sifted through,
hose sprayed down, and cleared of all its injured and dead people,
Johnny's team and Truck 20 were still hard at work an hour and a
Kel, looked up grimly at Gage and asked. "What's the scope showing
now?" he shouted over
the noise of dismantlement as the rescue crews
struggled to take the cement mixer apart piece by
piece from around
Johnny looked up, pulled the stethoscope out of his ears, and then...
From : Cassidy Meyers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent : Friday, April 14, 2006 3:53 AM
Subject : Aftermath...
Gage sighed.. "I'm seeing
peaked T-waves, shortened QT
intervals, and some ST segment depressions. He's at
a rate of 130
"ahhHH,.." Brackett scowled, "Crush injury syndrome's setting
"Could be just hypovolemia..." Johnny told him.
"But hyperkalemia's a definite possibility in
his case. That
left arm of his is very close to being completely destroyed. Ok, Johnny.
what we'll do. I'll start another I.V. subclavian of Normal
Saline. Hand me a 1000cc bag, would ya?
Dial it wide open.
We'll try calcium chloride at 5 mL of 10% solution IV over two minutes.
effect should last half an hour to an hour to control any electrolyte
induced arrythmias. Add Sodium
Bicarbonate 1 mEq/kg piggyback.
Stop titration of either one if he slips into bradycardia. We're gonna
offset any possible rhabdomyolysis even before he starts it."
"Right, doc." Gage nodded, grabbing
for the drug box a fireman
had brought very close to where the doctor and paramedics were
Brackett took a blood pressure reading on the man's thigh.
"It's holding. The cement's still
having that compression effect.
It's acting like a mast suit." Kel grunted, reconsidering his options.
"Keep a close eye on his EKG for any bundle branch blocks. He's
bound to widen his QRS-s and flatten
P-waves if we aren't real
careful getting him outta here."
The extrication team milling around
the trapped man became quieter,
overhearing. "He's motion sensitive now?" asked Truck 20's captain.
"Yeah." said Meyers. "But we'll handle changes as they happen and
treat for it. He won't arrest
on you. Just concentrate on getting him free,
in one piece, and we'll handle the rest."
truck captain nodded.
Brackett frowned as he stabbed the needle home and got his|
subclavian line. "Meyers, let's buffer
him with glucose and insulin.
That way some of the potassium in his blood will shift back into
body cells temporarily. Administer 1-2 amps D50W and
5-10 U regular insulin IV. Once we get him out
of here, we won't
waste time with an intubation. He's maintaining just fine the way
he is on that
ambu, now that the cement's been thinned out."
The fireman, breathing for the man, agreed with
Ten minutes later, after carefully disentangling and extricating
the victim from the mixer, the rescuing personnel rapidly assessed
"He's still out,
boys. He won't need any morphine." Kel told the
two paramedics as they cut away the man's crusty clothing.
A severe laceration to the man's buttocks was so large that Brackett
had to use both hands to
shovel hardening cement from inside
of the injury to check its full damage extent. Then they immobilized
him onto a long board.
Johnny itemized what he found for Brackett. "Right arm, humerus
Dislocated left ankle. Just that glut laceration, doc. These
welder burns here, and then just what
you see on that left arm.
Still no pulse in it."
Meyers quickly splinted what they found,
"Go ahead and straighten it out." Kel ordered. "Turn that palm up.
"I've got refill.." Gage said as he saw blood begin to ooze out
of raw abrasions on the
nearly severed hand's fingertips.
"Good enough. Watch the monitor. If he goes abnormal EKG wise,
boys, titrate a second dose of calcium chloride to turn it around
and flush the I.V. afterwards."
By a miracle, the man didn't die on the way to Rampart despite his
being trapped for nearly two
hours, hanging upside down, with critical
injuries, inside a crushing, suffocating mound of raw,
Roy, Johnny and Dr. Brackett, all conferenced in the hallway once
crew had departed with their unloaded gurney.
Gage made a face. "He's in for seven hours of surgery?"
"Yep. And I think we'll manage to save his bad arm, too." said Brackett,
grinning. "At least
Joe seems to think so. His angiograms came
back as completely workable."
"That's incredible. Johnny told me the whole story on how it happened.|
And I still don't believe
it." said Roy, raising his eyebrows.
"Oh, he's got a few rough spots to get through before he'll
heal." Brackett grinned. "His doctor will have to monitor him for
for four years at least, because lime from all that
cement's been found to have entered his bloodstream."
"The effects'll linger that long?" Johnny gaped.
"Yes. Lime's caustic to tissue. And bone.
Necrosis will still be an
ongoing risk for him. It can act like battery acid that can concentrate
cause damage anywhere inside his body for a long while yet. But
eventually, it'll accumulate
as precipitate into his larger bones,
out of harm's way."
Roy whistled. "Sounds like it was
one a h*ll of a rescue, Johnny. I'm
sorry I missed it." he said with a horrified awe.
a real challenge, Roy. We had obstacles every inch of the way.
Our victim's body position, the severity
of his injuries, the inability to immobilize
his cervical spine, the hardening cement that was compressing
him, the tight
quarters we had in which to treat him and from which to cut him free.." Johnny
off on each of his fingers.
Brackett waved farewell when he heard his name being summoned by
to handle a walk-in case. He melted back into the hospital
"See ya, doc." said Roy,
lifting his HT. "L.A. This is squad 51. We're
goodbye to the E.R. doctor belatedly. "Where'd Dr. Brackett
go? He tells that rescue way better than
"Duty called." smiled Roy mildly. "Come on, let's go. I'm sure
the guys'll be more
than happy to be your captive audience once we get
back to the station."
"Say, yeah. Maybe
I can...submit this one up as a new extrication problem for
all the teaching manuals..." Johnny said,
his eyes lighting up.
"Truck 20 already beat you to it." DeSoto told him.
"What makes you say that?"
"I saw them taking pictures of the truck and cement mixer after you
left in the ambulance with your victim for the landing pad. And the chief was
up all the nitty gritty details the extrication cap was telling him."
"Oh." said Gage, crestfallen.
"That's .. that's too bad. Oh, well." he shrugged,
making for the squad. "I wonder what's for lunch.."
he smiled, putting both
hands into his pockets. He whistled an aimless tune as he ambled away.
Roy rolled his eyes, and followed him. Unbidden, his stomach began to
growl in earnest. "I'm beginning
to wonder that myself.." he mumbled,
strolling out the ambulance entrance doors after his partner.
From: "patti keiper" <email@example.com>
Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:16 pm
Subject: Water Day.. :)
It was finally the long awaited Water Day.
All the gang were in their turnouts and helmets in front of the station,
lined up along the brick
wall framing the open driveway. And
across the lawn.
Engine 51 and the squad were both pulled
out under the sun with
all their gleaming equipment doors ajar so milling kids could
of them at will. Gage had set out a training
resuscitator filled only with air so the older kids could
the cool demand valve thumb trigger and mask on the manikin
that he had thrown out onto
the grass next to the yellow
street side hydrant.
The sight of what looked like kids working
a medical call only
served to attract more customers. Johnny began smiling at
his own cleverness
at the idea. It was his idea also to post
a sign right next to Cap's ticket table that already answered
the most frequently asked parent and child question. It simply
said. 'No, we don't have a fire
Marco Lopez was already hard at work, entertaining the kids
at a spare picnic
table, putting out lighter fuel fires inside of jiffy
pop pans using a fire extinguisher and letting
his young charges
do the same soon after.
Every so often, an appreciative motorist driving
by would honk
and everybody would look up from whatever they were doing
and wave back, especially
the bathing suited kids manning
the red reel line Roy had pulled out for all the water games.
And above them all, snapping in the brisk, warm summer breeze,
was the banner Johnny had designed
for the flagpole, declaring
that Saturday as Water Day.
For effect, Chet Kelly had rigged up four HTs on monitor in a square|
around the driveway at its corners
so the sounds of active fire station
broadcasts reverberated with nifty delated echoes around those
still waiting their turns and all the mothers standing at the admissions
table, where Cap was collecting
the three dollar donation fees.
Each mother or father was eagerly handing over for this,
ever, Station 51 Water Day event.
Marco laughed from where he stood by the squad, guarding all
medical gear. He pointed to the advertisement banner flying
beneath the state flag near Johnny
and himself. "Where'd you come
up with that idea, Johnny? I think the symbolism's kinda neat."
"Oh, that? Really? Heh. I guess." Johnny said, trying to not look at it.
Roy rubbed his chin thoughtfully
as yet another kid took over his low
pressure fire hose to play the Great Chicago-Fire-save-Mrs.-O'Leary's-cow
game. "Yeah. I wonder how many people have made the connection
that your water drop logo is
from all the 'San Bernadino Waste
Management is your friend' posters."
Chet laughed with delight.
"How's that for plagarism?" he teased.
Gage glared at Kelly and didn't deign to comment further.
Mike Stoker, standing as a guide near the engine's open
doors, did. "You know, I thought things
would be total chaos
with us hosting all of today's activities so close to the street."
Stoker, you got it all wrong." said Chet, helping some more
kids color fire safety rules cartoon pages
and directed others to
draw even more fire colored chalk hopscotch games onto the
surface. "Chaos doesn't mean that things'll go
wrong. Chaos actually means..The Chiefs Have Arrived
The rest of the gang chuckled loudly as they played with their
laughing young charges.
"Shhh," Roy cautioned Chet. "Not so loud. Cap could've heard
that." he warned Kelly.
way, DeSoto." said the helmeted Marco as he gave yet another
kid a try on his reel line fire hose
to knock down the hinged toy
flames surrounding the wooden cutout of the Chicago fire cow.
so busy counting money to see if it's enough to
fund Chet and Stoker's mystery project, that he's
tuning us out
"You better hope so." laughed Gage, glancing over at Hank who
just about overwhelmed with eager parents wanting to pay
"admission" for their kids.
Roy rubbed his eyes free of water spray. "Aren't you glad we |
struck a deal with the arco refinery
so all of these families can
park their cars across the street without troubling traffic?"
was my idea." said Chet proudly. "Last thing I want to
see is another car accident for at least a
Stoker, meanwhile, was telling jokes while he set each interested
the wheel of the Ward so they could pull the airhorn
chain. He said to his latest child. "What kinds
of ears do pumpers
The little boy gave up after only a few tries at an answer.
piped up from the lawn. "I know the answer to that one, Mike.
You're so predictable. The answer's
'engineers' little boy."
The child laughed so hard that the oversized helmet on his head
jiggled off his head.
Attracted by the slow, rubber necking traffic and the sight of a lot of
helium balloons tied in bundles and held down by spare helmets
around Station 51's front lawn,
Vince pulled up in his squad car for
The burly white helmeted cop grinned up a storm
when he read the
flag banner for the reason why there was such a festive atmosphere.
What a nice idea for a fundraiser. Water Day, huh?
Does the city know about this yet? There's kind
of a drought still
"Yes, we have our permit permission slip. It's right here."
face slacked off into instant mortification as he thanked
another young mother for paying her two
"Are you here because of a traffic complaint against us?"
"Nope." said Vince. "It's just natural born human curiosity working this |
time, Hank. All the drivers
are on their own today. It's a weekend. I figure
they should be used to traffic jams and surprise
on those days by now." he winced when a particularly close blast
of hose water
from DeSoto's direction sprayed at him on the wind.
"Whoa." he said, backing up a few steps.
"Sorry, Vince.." hollered Roy, grabbing onto the hands of a little kid
still mastering the hand bar
valve on the reel hose he held between
"That's ok. That water felt good. It's hot
out here this afternoon."
chuckled the policeman. " And I'm sure that both your of own kids are
afraid of getting in a water gun fight with you!"
"So right. I use that to gauge my efficacy as
a real fireman." DeSoto
grinned at him toothily.
Without being asked, Vince took advantage
of the station's event
on his beat and decided to take a few minutes to help out. He got
going on a game of doggy tag with a couple of kids starting
to get frustrated with waiting in line
for the engine tour.
Two children nearby began discussing Bonnie's station duties.
use her to keep crowds back." insisted one youngster.
"No, they don't!" said another angrily.
"She's just for good luck."
A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dog,"
she said firmly, "..to find the fire hydrant." she said crossly.
Their mothers, monitoring
nearby, laughed at the charming
A few minutes later, Cap got up when the last
family group had
gotten their triage tag admission bracelets tied around their wrists
wandered slowly over to Charlie the mechanic, who was
helping the gang out with facts and trivia
about the vehicle bay's
closet scattered gear and offering complete encyclopedic litanies
the fire trucks.
Charlie had left his maintenance Dodge, which looked very much|
like Squad 51, in the back yard parking
lot so it wouldn't be confused
for being the real one. He sighed expansively, sharing yet another
work related story of his days when he was a fireman before he became
a mechanic. "When I got on the
job our oldest piece was a 1958 Mack.
I loved the idea of driving a truck that was actually older
than I was.
It was an open cab, and we called the steering 'armstrong' steering,
because it was
so freakin difficult to steer! It came with a full cab but
the chief at the time thought it was 'wimpy'
for firefighters to be protected
from the elements so he had it cut off! Heh." Then aside, Charlie
those of the gang listening in. "And you wondered why your ol' Crown
was made that
way? He's why. They told me it cost $2000 bucks to
shave off yours."
"No way." said Stoker
in horror. "Wasn't it hard to do that to her?"
"Not really. It was a reserve piece when I got
on, and ideal for driver training.
It was in service one night when I was assigned as the driver
during one of
those torrential, numerous call summer storm nights. It was raining so hard
wipers couldn't keep up and I remember half-standing so I could see
over the windshield. I had the
door open so the water could run out.
One of the best memories of my career. Wouldn't trade it for
Stoker shouted out from the driver's door of Engine 51 where he
helping kids climb around the engine cab. "I don't miss her."
he said empathetically. "I hated getting
Gage crowed. "Oh, so that's why you became an engineer."
he quipped. "I've always wondered
about that." Johnny smiled
"Very funny. I did it for the better money actually." said
Stoker. Then he shot forward inside the engine. "No..no no no.
Don't key up the radio
mic. L.A. will wonder who the crazy caller
is and send out the looney bin truck after you. Complete
straight jackets." he goggle eyed his captive audience of kids.
They all laughed at him,
pointing at his odd and funny face.
By the time the day was over, nearly one thousand dollars had|
Captain Stanley as he locked up the cash
box. "I think I'll store this in the office." he said, while
others were cleaning up the lawn of decorations. He saw that
Roy was washing away any chalk
mark driveway artwork and
games that hadn't yet been scuffled away by the wind or
the many pounding
One last mother and her son had lingered.
"Ma'am. Did you forget something?"
Johnny asked her.
He had already handed out several pairs of forgotten shoes
and a beach towel
that someone had left draped over the bushes.
"Oh, no. It's nothing like that. May my son use
We've still got to get across town."
"Oh, sure.. sure." Johnny told her, holding
out his hand towards
the open garage. He raised his voice. "Chet?!"
"Yeah?" called out Kelly
from where he was stuffing the manikin away
into a closet.
"Can you show this nice young lady
and her boy the head? It's
"Sure thing, Johnny." said the curly haired fireman, now
his helmet and turnout coat. He led the two towards the locker room
door and safely
around where Mike was backing the two station
vehicles, one by one, back into the yawning shelter
of the apparatus
Chet Kelly returned to join them all in the driveway while they watched
Roy casually spray the reel line around, scrubbing the pavement. Once
or twice, just for fun, DeSoto
made them dance, using the water stream,
along a hopscotch or two while they were talking to each
they caught on to what he was trying to pull.
Finally, all the cleanup was complete.
Bonnie ran into the garage
carrying the last bouquet of floating balloons and Marco
to let them go to float up to the ceiling in the kitchen.
Please refresh this page to re-cue the original music. :)
Cap was about to close the main bay door for the night when|
a frantic female shout startled them
all. It was the mother,
sounding embarrassed, yelling for some help from inside
The gang hurried in. Gage was so intent with finding out
what was wrong, that he left his helmet on
"Thank you for coming. I just wasn't sure what else to do."
said the red faced
mother. "I only had my back turned for
a minute. I only wanted to wash my own hands at the sink."
"What happened?" asked Cap.
"You'll see. I still can't believe it myself." she said.
followed her down the short wood panelled
hall, to the bathroom, where a sobbing little boy had his
arm and head inside the toilet bowl, stuck almost up to his
shoulder. Roy and Johnny looked at
each other and just smiled.
Roy sat right down cross-legged on the floor, eye level with the little |
boy. "Wanted to see where
the water went, did ya?"
The boy nodded his tear streaked face.
Gage asked Cap if they
still had any cooking oil. Hank nodded his
head. "Marco. Go grab it. That and a toilet plunger." Stanley
"I already tried soap. I think I tried just about everything in here to
get him free."
sighed the mom. "Even someone's shaving cream."
Lopez returned. "Want a silent called, Cap?"
Hank shook his head minisculely to spare the mother more
The mother was
making a face. "He hates the idea of getting
exposed to germs. I have no idea what came over him to
do THIS kind of stunt." she snapped.
"Son, I cleaned the bathroom myself a few hours ago with
strong germicide. Nothing's gonna get you sick." Hank chuckled
at the inverted child.
Sighing, the boy shook his head in relief.
Gage told Marco to hand the small jar of Crisco over
"I have some of that 'special fireman's oil additive.' that we use
all the time, right
here..." he winked at the boy.
The child looked at him with interest, intently watching Johnny
as he took a small white plastic bottle from his pocket. Gage
made a show of "adding" it to the
jar of oil.
Gage knew that the child was tensed up, and probably involuntarily,
had his hand
in a fist. Whenever the mom tried to pull his arm out, the
anticipation of pain would cause him to
scream and tense up more.
The mom, not being able to bear causing pain to her son, had then
Johnny knew if he could get the child distracted and calm,
he'd relax the arm and the fist, and Roy
could probably then
maneuver his arm out of the toilet's wash hole.
::Stoker's standby Plan
B of course, would work too, but that would
definitely do some unnecessary damage to the toilet fixture.
are anything but subtle.:: Johnny mused to himself.
Gage put on his best paramedic
smile. "There are magic ingredients
in the oil now. It's gonna get you unstuck real fast." he said,
Roy rubbed a handful of oil down the boy's arm.
At the same time DeSoto was feeling
the angles of the child's
arm, trying to picture how it was turned inside the drain hole and
check to see if it still had a pulse in it.
Johnny just talked to the little boy, keeping up a
steady stream of
banter while he kept smiling eyes on the child, making sure that the
were on him exclusively, and not on his trapped arm.
Roy had gotten it out to the elbow, when
the boy screamed in pain.
The mother jumped.
Roy immediately stopped probing, holding
the boy's face out
of the water when his head dropped down in a reaction.
Gage took a breath,
and studied the boy's face closely.
Johnny kept talking. "That only felt funny, it didn't really hurt
The boy sobbed. "My neck's getting tired."
"It's ok.." said Roy. "I got your
head. I won't let you drown on us.
Don't worry." he soothed, trying not to laugh. "Stoker, could
see if you can plunge down some of this water away from
him so he feels more comfortable?"
said Mike and he gingerly sent the remaining bowl's
water down the hole around the boy's arm using
plunger Marco had found in the locker room.
Gage soon continued where he and the child had left off. |
The mother was getting frustrated.
"I don't care if you have
to smash the toilet. I'll pay for any damage. Just get my son out!"
But Cap knew there were risks involved, and hoped to avoid that
scenario. "We'll get him out,
ma'am. We just have to wait for
his muscles to relax a little. That's all." said Hank mildly. "Here.
Have a seat on this changing bench."
The mother's frustration caused the boy to tense up again.
And Johnny had to get him calmed right back down again.
At one point, the child asked
him. "Why do you have a helmet
on in the firehouse?"
Johnny laughed, "I must look silly with
a helmet on in the bathroom!
You should see me when I take a shower..." he said, bugged eyed.
The little boy laughed, and at that moment, Roy got the rest of his
arm out. "I got it.. There.. that
wasn't so bad now, was it?"
"No.." said the boy with disgust as he held his soggy arm out
Marco and Chet to dry with a few bathroom towels.
"Did you hurt your neck or head at all when
you fell in?"
Johnny asked, gingerly feeling the vertebrae in the child's neck
and through the
boy's hair as he felt for potential problems.
"I'm fine. Just let me outta here." said the boy,
shooting to his
feet. "Mom. I'll wait for you by the flagpole." he said crossly,
now fully embarrassed
about what had happened to him.
When the small family was leaving across the street for
car, which was the last one left in the lot, Gage tipped
his firehat to the mother, and he teased
where does the water go? We'll be free of charge if you
answer that one for
your son." he grinned.
Cap smacked Gage's arm in a mock discipline for being mean.
mother opened the green Matador's door, he
heard the boy asking her just that same question.
"Mom.. could you 'splain it to me? Please?" he begged.
"I only wanted to know."
car door closed on her answer. Soon, they
were gone with a squeal of tires on the boulevard.
Roy and Johnny laughed as they joined the others|
still standing in the driveway.
was the magic oil additive?" DeSoto asked.
Johnny took the white bottle out of his pocket, "Tylenol!"
DeSoto told him. "You should have given it to the mother."
Then Chet asked sarcastically
amused, "So, you think
this story will make the front page on this month's Firefighter's
Gage replied, "Oh, h*ll, yeah! We were d*mned heroic. Ouch.
I think I lost all the feeling in
my legs sitting on the floor like that."
he said rubbing his thighs.
"That's gotta count for
something." said Roy to Cap and the others,
who were immensely enjoying the growing night's soft breezes
their rising cases of sunburn.
They stood in silence for a while, smiling to themselves,
twinkling summer stars.
Then Chet asked, with a straight face. "But Gage, seriously...
Where does the water go?"
Click Charlie the mechanic |
to go to Page Three