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     Pilot Light
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Six, Episode Forty Two..

   Pilot Light    

Debut Launch: February 1st, 2007.

From: patti keiper <>
Date: Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:41 pm
Subject: That Irritating Edge..  

The sunlight was just beginning to cast its past noon shadows when Henry the
basset lifted up his head at the sound of both of Station 51's vehicles
returning from a run as they backed up in the vehicle bay.

By the time the guys filed into the kitchen, the laid back hound had already
begun wagging his tail at them from the deep recesses of the chocolate brown
vinyl couch.

"And that's another thing...." said Gage empathetically at Roy as he strode
in energetically to the kitchen stove to pour himself a cup of still warming
tar thick coffee. "How many times have we, just in this month alone,
transported some little old lady or old man without knowing all the facts?"

Behind him, Chet Kelly and Mike Stoker took to the rec chairs and turned on
an active baseball game. Captain Stanley mildly noted Roy and Johnny still
going on adamantly about the call they had returned from and just rolled his
eyes as he reached over to the fruit bowl on the table. To make a point, he
loudly crunched and bit his apple in Johnny's ear, just to bug him.

DeSoto glanced up at Hank in total agreement. "I agree absolutely, Cap. He's
chewing on this bone just a little too much." he said, still worked up. DeSoto
sat down in a kitchen chair and stretched out to pull the widely scattered morning
paper sections that no one had completely read yet and started organizing
them into piles with some agitation.

Gage parked a butt cheek on the edge of the table between Cap and Roy and
grasped the air with a couple of finger tips, leaning over. "You gotta admit her
life depended on us knowing her drug allergies.. Am I wrong?"

Roy sighed in resignation and stopped fussing with his now neatly stacked pile
of printed wood pulp. "Ok.. ok.. You're not wrong. Yes, she could have been a little
bit more comfortable with that morphine for her pneumonia induced chest pain, but
who are we to further risk her health? She already got into trouble once indirectly
because of us. You heard Dr. Brackett. Once he knew we didn't have positive I.D.
on our patient, he went into one hundred percent caution mode, just like we did."
DeSoto said, stabbing a finger down onto the tabletop.

"That's exactly my point, Roy. Her quality of care suffered because we didn't have
all of her medical facts readily available. She couldn't talk well enough. All the
lights weren't on upstairs!" Gage exasperated, tapping a finger against his temple.

DeSoto tossed his head without amusement. "Isn't that usually the case with us?
People are either in shock, or in some kind of altered level of consciousness and
are never in any condition to share their information."

Gage threw up his hands, beginning to pace again. "Why aren't people just a little
bit smarter these days? It only takes a couple of seconds to down
pertinent patient information like current medications and any continuous ongoing
medical conditions and pop that note into a purse or something."

Chet had been listening closely, serious for once. "Well what if you don't carry a
purse, Gage? I mean, you won't have one if you're not female."

Hank jumped in, offering his two cents worth. "And besides that, who's gonna
carry a purse or wallet about the house whereever they go so it always stays
in the same room with them? Last time I checked nobody's expecting to fall sick
at the drop of a hat."

Gage eyeballed both firemen with sudden speechlessness. "I don't know. I'm just
the frustrated working paramedic here. I don't have all the answers."

Kelly looked up at Johnny. "Well, maybe you should start finding some if you're
not happy, Johnny. I know that'll give us all a little peace and quiet this afternoon."
he said, dragging a sports section away from Roy's pile of newspaper.

"Hey, Chet." snapped DeSoto. "Get your own.." he glared.

Chet ignored him. "Is this paper addressed to you?" he said, holding up the mailing
label sticker he instantly tore free. "Since when was 'Care of : Station 51,
2049 E 223rd St and Wilmington' your personal house address?"

Cap decided enough was enough. "Listen up, guys, pipe it down. All
this sniping at each other concerning a bad call's not helping matters, or our
appetites." he said, hanging up the phone receiver. "Now I've just ordered
a ton of pizza, enough for all of us, as a special treat so we can just try
and forget this whole morning. Let's lighten up a little, huh? Bad calls are
gonna happen. But at least we didn't lose that sweet old dear when we very
well could have."

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"Thank heavens for Narcan.." mumbled Roy under his breath.

Arf! barked Henry sensing the tension in the room.

Johnny hushed up and finally took a seat next to Roy, and pushed away his untasted
coffee mug. "You're right, Cap. It IS stupid beating this dead horse to death."

"Ain't he already dead?" quipped Kelly.

"Huh?" asked Gage, squinting at Chet, only half hearing.

"Never mind.." said the Irishman, licking a thumb so he could turn a page
for the latest football statistics when he felt Cap glaring at him.

Johnny got to his feet and used Henry as a comfortable head pillow while he laid
himself down on his back to take a nap on the couch. The large tan and white
dog let him, wagging his tail in rich pleasure, pleased to no end that
somebody was finally paying attention to him. "Be that as it may, you guys. I'm
bound and determined to solve this dilemma and nip this continually irritating
missing facts on a rescue call effect, right in the butt."

"Yeah, well, I wish you all the luck on that." Cap said, starting to set out plates
enough for six. "The day any fire station ever has all of their critically needed
on-scene information, is the day I become a happy man."

Chet looked up with a quip. "Gage, You'd better hurry up then."

Cap snapped a dish towel at Kelly to shut his trap.


Dixie McCall sighed as she dragged herself back to the main ER desk to
catch up on her charting work.

Dr. Early, reviewing and cataloging the week's paramedic rescue call
audio reels, looked up in sympathy. "Been one of those days?" he asked
the frazzled nurse.

"It's been a WEEK of one of those days, Joe. I'm bushed. When's it gonna
end?" she moaned in agony.

Joe looked at his watch, checking the time. "For you? In about four hours,
eighteen minutes.." he joked.

"That's not funny and you know it. That's over half a shift away." she whimpered.

"Yeah, well. If it helps, the rest of us are stuck here right alongside of you."
he said, beginning to massage some of the aches out of Dixie's shoulders
gently in sympathy. "It's been a while since you've worked a code, hasn't it?"

Dixie just made a face. "Quite frankly, I can't remember the last time I did c.p.r. on
someone. Not until today. Now I'm feeling every knot."

"Next time, order a student nurse to do it." Joe offered.

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"I couldn't. They were all tied up. Believe me, next time Roy and Johnny comes in
with an arrest victim, I'm not gonna give them any flack at all about dripping sweat
pools onto the treatment room floor." McCall said empathetically.

"Why don't you take a few minutes off and go grab yourself a shower in
the locker room. I'm free for a bit." Early offered.

"Oh, really?" Dixie said, looked up, still melting in relief under his ministrations.

"Why not? I can man the phones with the best of them."

"Ok..  Sure?" she asked, painfully eager.

Joe nodded, grinning easily.

"Back in ten minutes. Thanks, Joe, you're an absolute lifesaver.."
Dixie said, worming out of her chair and eagerly dashing down the hall.

"Last time I checked.." said Joe, waving at her retreating back cheerfully.

Dr. Early sat down on Dixie's stool and began familiarizing himself with her
station, quietly humming to himself happily for his good deed done.

That's when the phones began to ring..  All of them.

From :  patti keiper <>
Sent :  Friday, February 16, 2007 4:15 PM
Subject :  Into The Thick...

Joe grabbed for the nearest phone. The red one.
"Rampart Emergency, This is Dr. Early." he said as he
uncradled, then nestled a second phone, the outside line
black one, onto his shoulder. "Go ahead." he said into
the first receiver.

He repeated his introduction into the second phone and
traded receivers back and forth while he gesticated wildly
with the rest of his body, trying to get other passing orderlies,
or nursing students to go into the glass enclosed base station
to start a third paramedic call hail.

Joe fell into attentive listening on the rosy phone. "A gas leak?!
Ma'am. Call the fire department. No, wait. Don't call the fire department.
Just gather up your family and get the h*ll out of there. Go to
a neighbor's once you have everybody, then do it." he insisted.

Early shifted to the black line. "Go ahead. This is Rampart Emergency."
he squinted as he tried to ignore the staff ring on Dixie's white phone
linked to the labs, on the desk in front of him. He toggled on its
speaker function with an elbow. "ER desk, whose results do you have?"
he said to that phone's pickup.

The black receiver jarbled something into his ear. "Squad 110? What
are you doing way up there? You're legally out of your jurisdiction."
Joe told the paramedic on the long distance land line. "I don't know
how I can authorize an I.V. across county lines. Hold on, go ask Dr.
Brackett about it." he said, transferring that call to Kel's extension
with a few buttons. He tossed that phone down onto the counter top
with a clatter.

The white speaker phone nestled in between all of Dixie's open
charts, began warbling. ##We have the results on Mrs. Fishmacher,
Treatment Room Two...## said the creamy lab phone. ## Po2 levels
are still down. Her arterial blood gases are 82 % Sedimentation rates
are...## it droned on.

Joe was jiggling now, dancing under the flashing red beacon buzzing
above the base station door, angling every free body part
upwards in a vain pointing attempt to get somebody who was a doctor
or medic equivalent's attention, to answer it.

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Finally, Joe said last words to the red phone. "Hang up and get out.
Now. Your life depends on it." Then he slammed it back into its cradle
on the wall.

To the speaker phone, he shared kernels of wisdom. "Have one of
your aides transcribe all of your results and run it up here in person.
Excuse me, I have an emergency call."

##Don't we always?## said the disgruntled lab tech downstairs at
Joe's long tedious way of handling his information before he hung up.

Joe practically dove through the glass door to get to the fire station
paramedic talk button on the base station's radio receiver. "Unit calling
in, repeat. This is Rampart Emergency."

On the opposite corner, another paramedic receiver began hailing.
The only problem was, that radio was out of arm and leg's reach.
Joe began to do a fair imitation of a tennis player in a heated match
as he ran back and forth between the two transmissions.

##Rampart, this is Squad 99...##
"Go, 99." hurried Joe.
                                             ##Rampart, this is Rescue 10.##
                                             "I read you loud and clear, 10." said Joe,
                                              beginning to puff as he weaved back and
                                              forth to talk to both paramedics
                                              simultaneously. "Go ahead."

                                              ##Rampart, we have multiple victims of
                                              a high impact MVA. Four in number...##

##Rampart, we've a witnessed
cardiac arrest in progress.
Permission first to insert an
esophageal airway.## said the first
paramedic team.

"Do it. Then send me a strip after
your first countershock." ordered Joe.

                                               ##Rampart, Victim One, a male, aged nine.
                                               Severed left leg that's unsalvagable. Unconscious
                                               and being artificially ventilated. Victim Two, female,
                                               aged seventy one, basilar skull fracture, semi conscious.
                                               Victim Three...## continued 10's transmission.

                                               Joe began writing notes, with both hands.

               Then the third alcove receiver went off, from the main fire department
               dispatching center and that one, really got Joe's undivided attention.
               @@@Stand by for Official Notification. Los Angeles Center for
               Seismology. Ritcher Alert.. I repeat, Richter Alert...@@@

               Joe Early threw a cup of pencils at the window and finally got
               a passing Dr. Morton's attention as he hooked get-in-here-right-now
               fingers at him. Mike hastened to comply.

               "Take 10's and 99's. Something big's brewing on the SCU Channel."
               said Early, passing off his two note pads. "99's M.I. is on Alpha.
                I've set aside 10's needs for Beta on the monitor." he said jerking
               a finger at the Tetronix EKG Telemetry Station that he had flipped
               on into active receiving. Strips of EKG paper were already beginning
               to wind around his feet.

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##Rampart, he's aspirating!##
reported 99.

                                                   ##Victim Four has a penetrating evisceration.
                                                   We need a doctor flown out here to stabilize
                                                   him initially. Mast trousers are contraindicated.##
                                                   requested 10.

::Dixie, where are you? Shower fast.:: thought Joe as he and Dr. Morton
began to prepare for their worst and most important incoming earthquake
transmission. Joe hit a button on the wall intercom that broke into the
hospital's general overhead speakers. "Early to all staff. Condition Orange.
Condition Orange. Report to your assigned duty departments. Stat. Dr.
Brackett, to the base station.."


"Where's Cap?" asked Roy.

"In the office." replied Gage. "He was nice enough to let
me borrow this."

"Oh.." said DeSoto, putting away their leftover pizza boxes
into the refrigerator.

"Fellas, what does this look like to all of you?" asked Johnny,
half holding up a familiar white plastic shaped bottle as he wrestled
a fully paper laden heavy mint green typewriter onto the kitchen
table top. He made a lot of noise pushing all their empty dinner
dishes aside with an agile free foot to make space for it.

"A type writer." Marco guessed.

"Nope. This other thing I'm carrying..." Johnny redirected them
as he set the workhorse machine down heavily.

Kelly looked up from his newspaper for about two seconds.
"A bottle of Buffrin."

"No, Chet, look beyond the label, that's not gonna be there
when I'm through with it. I'm peeling it off and adding one
of my own. No, what I'm referring to is....this is a protected,
sealed container that can hold just about anything. Maybe even
something life saving once I'm through with it." Johnny said,
getting a little passionate.

Kelly made a face and he began studying Johnny as if he had turned
into some kind of fascinating science project. "Gage, do you know how
much you're beginning to sound like a qwack here?"

"Well, thanks a lot for the name calling, Chet. I didn't come in here
to show all you guys my little something just to h--"

" no, Johnny. Quit taking me so figuratively. I meant
that term literally.." Chet said matter of factly.

Gage shot him a dirty look.

Kelly held up surrendering hands when Gage melted him with
that glare. "I didn't mean what you're thinking. Stop and think about it..
A qwack : Someone who sells home remedys that do absolutely
nothing for the buyer."

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"Still doesn't matter. I'm still offended. My idea will definitely mean
something to the buyer, and us, too, once I'm through with it."

Chet was still hung up on details. "A qwack, Gage. And I don't mean
duck. Remember how they used to go around in covered wagons in the
Old West pitching stuff that was pure alcohol and calling it Mr.
Farnan's All Fire Cure Tonic and stuff? That's a professional qwack.
Qwack medicine."

"Do I look like I'm an expert on cowboys, Chet?"

Kelly gave Gage a very odd look.

"No, don't answer that." Johnny sighed, grinning.
In his head he could hear Chet's reply. ::Well, you
are an Indian.:: "Ah,.. gimme a couple of days to get my plan
all together and I'll show ya what I mean. I can't believe
nobody's ever thought of doing this kind of thing before. My
idea's absolutely brilliant. I can't wait to get started on it
to submit to the chiefs as an action plan." he said, sitting
down and beginning to type and add sentences to his blank
sheet eagerly.

"What? Brown nosing McConnike?" said Marco. "You
know how that particular angle turned out with Cap."

"Yeah, well, I'm different. I'm not as sensitive about my first name
and I certainly.. am not gonna be burning any hats." Johnny said

"No, but just don't go around burning down all your bridges
before you come to them." Chet said.

The other guys chuckled from whereever they were.

"I don't follow.." said Johnny, frowning in confusion at Kelly
and the rest of his crewmates.

"If you suck up to the boss too much, I know that myself for one,
might get a little envious." Chet said. "And that might go for some of
the other guys in this kitchen, too."

"Envious?! Chet, my idea is going to go, in order to try and help
people. Now how is that a jealousy problem?"

"You'd be making yourself look good." said Roy without sting.
"Better than the rest of us guys."

Johnny's mouth flopped wide open. "Roy, I can't believe you just
said that. For Pete's sake, you're my partner. I'd never do anything
to snub you. Not intentionally." he said, rising to his feet in surprise.

Station 51's engineer piped up.
"Yeah? Well what about the rest of us? We all have reputations
to protect as far as job performance goes in the eyes of higher ups."
said Stoker.

Gage set both hands on his hips, thoroughly offended, gaping for
long seconds. Then he changed tact.  "Chet, did I hum and haw and
complain when you developed those walk on walls suction cup shoes
of yours?"

Kelly finally met Gage's eyes. "They didn't work."

"Yes they did...." ::I got a good laugh.:: "No, uhh. All right. Ok. They didn't
because of their..previously unknown....natural affinity for pavement.."
he said, the corner of his mouth curling up. "What I'm really getting at
is that not once did I ever make a fuss that you were going to the
chiefs with a new invention."

"Geez, Gage. That was real big of ya." Chet said with an edge.

"No! AHhhgh." Johnny grimaced, spinning around in a little circle. "Quit
twisting my words around. You know what I meant."

DeSoto popped another potato chip into his mouth. "I think, Chet, what
he's trying to tell you is that he was keeping an open mind and was
being supportive about your tinkering by not opening his yap and saying
anything negative about it."

"That's it! That's it exactly, Roy." Gage smiled hugely, in great relief.
"Thank you."

Chet looked askance. "Gage can have an open mind? And be supportive?
That's news to me. Usually he only does that when he's paramedic-ing

Gage threw up his hands and finally stalked off in search of another
table top to set his tiny typewriter on to finish his proposal.

"So what are ya gonna call it?" Chet hollered after the disappearing

"...The Bottle Of Health Program..." Johnny shot back from around
the corner, still hugging his typewriter protectively.

On the couch, Henry whined nervously and suddenly decided to
thump down onto the floor to go follow and comfort Gage, who was
still smelling miffed.

They all watched him stretch all four limbs in preparation to go.

Kelly shook his head in casual dismissal. "Still sounds like a qwack."
he said, turning back to the dishes.

"Give him time." said Roy. "He just might be on to something here."
he said thoughtfully. "I almost got it figured out what he's aiming at."

Chet quipped. "Well, you're just about the only person who can figure
out Gage, man. And that's the truth."

Bark! said Henry.

"Oh, forgive me, Henry. You're the second one who probably can. But
then again, you're our dog. You'll love anybody who's actually one of
the hands that feeds ya. Won't ya, boy?" he said, affectionately scrubbing
the hound's thick hide with all of his water dripping fingers until Henry
rolled over right where he was and collapsed, moaning with pleasure.

The tones went off.

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From: "Derrick" <>
Date: Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:46 pm
Subject: Helping Friends

##Squad 51, Man down. 21356 South Avalon Boulevard. South Avalon
Boulevard. Cross Street 213. Time out: 14:57.## Sam Lanier's voice
rang over the loudspeaker.

"Squad 51, 10-4. KMG 365..." Chet said as he answered the call
for his crewmates.

"That's the police station, isn't it ?" Gage said to DeSoto as he
started up the squad.

"Yep, I wonder what could be going on there." Roy answered.

The squad left the station as usual with its lights and siren on and
it was only a short four minute response time to the police station.

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The captain was there to meet Johnny and Roy as they entered the sta-
tion and other officers were standing near the watch commander's office
with long looks of concern. It had appeared that one of their fellow
officers had taken ill and collapsed.

Captain Drury said to Gage and DeSoto. "One of my men started to feel
nauseous and dizzy then bam, he hit the floor like a ton of bricks!
He went out like a pilot light. He seems to be breathing all right, but we can't
get Vince to respond!" the captain said.

"Who'd you say it is again?" Gage said.

"It's Vince!" The captain exclaimed.

The firemen approached Vince, who was lying supine on the floor.
Scotty was keeping his airway open and Sergeant Tom Staler was
taking steps to try to arouse Vince, who was unconscious.

"Hey Vince, your two favorite paramedics are here. They're gonna
help you. Can you hear me, Vince?" Sergeant Staler said as he
once again vigorously rubbed on his sternum.

"Okay, let's get an airway in and get a set of vitals for Rampart."
Roy directed Johnny when he saw Vince wasn't feeling that pain.

Captain Drury directed his crew to get back out on the street on
patrol and he told them that he'd keep them posted.

Sgt. Staler and Scotty stayed behind with Vince in case Gage and
DeSoto needed their help.

Johnny slipped in an oral airway. He had already hooked up the Ambu-
Bag to the oxygen tank and turned it on to 15 liters per minute when
he saw how Vince was breathing.

"I'll do that.." said one worried policeman close by.

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"Okay." smiled Johnny.

Officer Scotty began ventilating Vince while Roy and Johnny
recorded vital signs to give to Rampart.

"BP is 90 by palp. Pulse is 120 and a bit weak." Roy said to
his partner.

"I got respirations of 26 and labored, he has O2 saturations at 95
percent. I'm now getting a Chemstrip reading of..... 68." Johnny said
as he read the color change on it using blood from a pricked finger
against the user bottle.

"Okay, you hook him up to the monitor while I contact Rampart."
said Roy.

Roy plugged the antennae into the biophone and turned the power
switch on. The main channel was busy and he heard Squad 116's lead
paramedic Al Jacobson finishing up his conversation with Dr. Morton
with a major trauma patient from a motorcycle accident. He flipped
over to the backup channel and there, Tom Wheeler with Squad 110
was just signing off with Joe Early on their run.

DeSoto waited those few brief seconds and said. "Rampart, County 51.
How do you read ?"

##Loud and clear, 51. Go ahead.## Early replied.

"Rampart, we have a 39 year old male, unresponsive, who was found by
co-workers. Unconsciousness may be due, we suspect, to possible syncope
or hypoglycemia. Bystanders state that he suddenly fell from a standing
position and was unconscious and unresponsive for six minutes prior to
our arrival. We have initial vitals of : BP 90 by palp, pulse 120 and irreg-
ular, respirations 26 and irregular. O2 sats are at 95 percent. We've
done a Chemstrip and we got a reading of 68. He is on the monitor
showing sinus tach at 120 without ectopi. We are ventilating with
100 percent O2 per Ambu-Bag at 15 liters and have inserted an oral
airway. Ambulance is just now arriving. We will send you a strip with
new vitals to follow."

##Standing by, 51.## Early replied.

"Rampart, this will be Lead II." Roy said as he transmitted the information
about Vince's cardiovascular activity from the Datascope through
the biophone to Rampart.


In an ironic twist, Dr. Brackett came walking into the base station and
said to Dr. Early. "Hey Joe, have you seen Vince around here?"

"Nope, not since he brought in that guy in his custody,
from the fight at Carl's Coffee Shop, to you this morning."
said Joe, studying the EKG paper threading out of the scope
through his fingers.

"Well, that guy's ready to go to jail." Kel said. "I'll give them a
call." he said about the police station. Then he saw the callsign on
Joe's notes. "What does 51 have?"

"Could be a mystery." Joe said sarcastically as he toggled the
talk button. "51, this is Rampart." Joe continued.

##Go ahead, Rampart .## Roy answered.

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"Start an I.V. D5/W. Then give 1 amp of D50 and transport
as soon as possible, keeping us posted. What's your ETA?"

##About 10 minutes, Rampart. Do you want a new set of vitals?##
Roy inquired.

"Let's have them." Early said.

##BP is 90 palp. Pulse is now 116, respirations are 20 with O2
sats at 97 percent. Chemstrip's steady at 68 with the
patient still showing sinus tach on the monitor at 116 without
ectopi, over?## said DeSoto.

"Copy, 51. Rampart out." Early replied.

From: "patti keiper" <>
Date: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:03 pm
Subject:  Blood Powder..

Gage touched Officer Scotty's arm. "You can stop now.
His breathing's okay and effective now that it's slowed
down from that panting."

Scotty set aside the bag valve mask and watched as Johnny
placed a high flow non-rebreather over Vince's face
and the airway. "What caused him to do that?"

"Could've been a lot of things." said Roy, sweeping down
Vince's head, neck and back for blood or spasming that might
be there as a result of his awkward fall onto the linoleum
and concrete tiles. "Recovery from the wind getting knocked
out of him, or a brief airway positional problem,.."

"...or what we're thinking of... The fact that his chemistry's way
off. His blood glucose reading's a little low and departing from
normal. Can anyone tell me if he's eaten today?" Gage asked,
keeping tabs on the pulse in Vince's wrist, which was beginning
to even back out into a regular rhythm as the Dex 50 I.M. injection
began to do its work.

"I don't know for sure. I can send one of my men to go check his
locker for his lunch box to see if it's empty." The captain knelt and
unclipped Vince's radio, vehicle keys and gun from his belt.

"Yeah, good idea. Go do that. It's important we know what
he's ingested and how much." Johnny said, eyeing up Vince's
weapon and holster a little uneasily as it stimulated some memories.

DeSoto straightened up, finishing his hands-on injury check. "He's
clear, Johnny. I'm finding no bumps, bruising, or open cuts anywhere.
I don't think he'll need a collar, or our backboard." he told Johnny.

Gage's relief at Vince's improving respiratory state, heartened him
into joking a little. "Whoever does if they don't hit something on the
way down. Guys falling from Vince's height while being his same
muscular build, never seem to hurt themselves."

An officer came back into the office, "Mister, his box is empty. And
I know he likes to eat around two thirty."

"Ok, thanks." said Roy.

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Mayfair's attendants soon entered the building and rolled their knee
high stretcher into the office at a wave from Roy. "He's stable.
No injuries. But mind his airway." he told them. "He's really out."

"Yes, sir." said one of the red jacketted EMTs. They knelt and cradled
Vince under the arms and the back of his feet while they lifted the
cool, sweat drenched officer onto the cot.

Gage pulled out the pillow and tucked it under the mattress frame so
they could tip his head back over the top edge of the seated gurney to
better manage Vince for breathing ease. "He was dyspneic for a while
but that's resolved." he shared. "His gum color's staying good."

"All right." said the older man at Vince's head. "Has he vomited?"

"Uh,,.." said the two paramedics, looking around at the floor for staining
and also inside a nearby waste can that was still sitting in the middle of
the room. Their heads twisted in a search.

But soon, DeSoto spoke.
"Not in here at any rate. But watch for it if it should happen." Roy decided
finally. "Did you get his wallet? We'll need his medical history if he's
got one in there." he asked the EMTs.

"Don't bother. I've got that right here." said Vince's captain, passing over
a freshly copied file that his breathless secretary had just rushed in.

"Oh, this is perfect. This is exactly what we need. Thanks." said Gage,
remembering his vented frustrations from earlier that morning.

The attendant nodded and the two began wheeling Vince out the door
once the displaying EKG monitor and O2 apparatus were piled in
at his feet.  DeSoto called out after him. "I'll join you in a minute to
get another gluc stick." he said.

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Johnny sighed as he and Roy packed away their medical gear. "Sorry for
the mess of papers.." he told all the officers, indicating the I.V. bag
plastic and tubing box, gauze pads and ekg sticker backs littering
the floor.  "Want us to tidy up?"

" all right. Environmental can handle this." said the captain.
"You just go take care of Vince.  Can you give us a call once you find out about
him? I've got half the force chewing their nails and dillydallying around
because they're worried sick about him. Howard's the unofficial station icon
and the personal mentor of every rookie cop ever born who's managed
to truck through this department."

"We know.." smiled Roy. "We always tell him he's our favorite pointsman."

"And a close friend.." said Gage, hurrying out the door with his active concern
still only barely hidden.

The four of them were pacing across the parking lot when a trembler
shaking up from deep within the earth, caused them to stumble and snatch at
Vince's gurney protectively as it began to roll away from them when their grips
on the guide handles were broken.

"Whoa. What was that?" Johnny said, rechecking Vince's airway tube placement
when they finally had him steadied.

"At least a 3.0." replied Roy, as he watched motorists on the boulevard
react with screeching brakes and wavered driving as they were startled by
the small earthquake.

Gage pulled his HT off the clip on his belt to listen to its speaker more closely.
"Well, there are no people injured, radio traffic's normal. This must be
the predicted shaker told to us by the warning alert we heard earlier."
Johnny peered up at the sun, and at their distant mountain repeater tower.
"L.A.'s in monitoring mode on main. Our communication wires are still
up over there."  he said when he heard no urgent hail begin on priority.

"Radio's still live?"

"Yeah." Gage answered.

"How about the biophone?" Roy asked, fiddling with the EKG dials and its

Johnny opened the box up and set it up quickly in a check while the EMTs
loaded Vince  into the ambulance. He picked up the phone receiver
and blew into it. He got a squeal right back. "It's hot."

"Good. Let's hope it stays that way." DeSoto said, climbing into the rig
after Vince.

"Let me know the second he wakes up on the way in." Gage said. "I wanna
know what's going on."

"Only a second after I do." Roy promised, taking the resealed biophone from
Johnny's hand. "Guys, go Code Three. He's a friend. No one will know
we've sped things up a notch."

"Code Two on the report it is.." winked the Mayfair driver.

"Thanks.." said Roy as the door between them closed.

Through the window, he saw Johnny hastening to get behind the squad's
driving wheel.

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DeSoto had just listened to a complete set of breath sounds when
Vince suddenly groaned weakily, protesting the plastic tube in his mouth.

Roy and the cab EMT slid the oxygen mask out of the way.

Vince tried to sit up but the cot straps held him down. Sucking in a breath,
the sick officer pushed out the oral, making gagging sounds.  It fell away
onto his stomach.

DeSoto quickly held his shoulders so the groggy cop couldn't pull out
his I.V. "Easy..Vince. Don't panic. You're not choking at all. That was just a
breathing tube." he shouted over the noise of the sirens. When Vince stopped
fighting as his breaths returned normally, Roy snatched up his HT. "Johnny,
he spat it out." he said, peeling back the vaguely writhing man's eyelids one
by one for a fast pupil check. They were both dilated. "Mac, he's okay.
Set the mask back into place. He didn't vomit."

##What's his glasgow?## Johnny transmitted.

"Don't know yet. He's non-verbal. Stand by for a bit." Roy shared. DeSoto
watched as Vince's hands climbed up to grip his lower abdomen. "Vince?
Are you hurting right here?" he asked, opening Vince's black uniform
shirt and cut away T a little wider so he could undo his belt and pants
zipper for a careful lower quadrants check. He found uniform involuntary
guarding right above Vince's pubic bone. "That's his bladder."

"Has he voided?" asked the EMT, noticing the finding.

"No. That's odd. He should have done that a long time ago
when he blacked out."

"A blockage?"

"Maybe.." replied DeSoto. "Let me try and get a response out of him."
DeSoto leaned forward, one hand on Vince's abdomen. "Vince? Open
your eyes.."  Howard didn't, nor did he begin to make noise again. "Can
you feel this?" Roy asked, pushing down with a couple of knuckles on
the effected area.

Vince's reaction was immediate. He moaned weakily and began to gag.

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DeSoto immediately stopped his probing. "There's pain all right. But he's
not awake enough to talk about it." he sighed. "Mac, go ahead and take
another pressure to see where he's sitting at. This is something new
and might be serious. I'll notify Dr. Early."

"Trauma from the fall?"

"No, I'm thinking it's something medical. The cause of all the symptoms
the other officers were telling us about."

Mac did so, using a stethoscope. "It's up. Way up. 150/110."

"D*mn.." said Roy. "Metabolic hypertension. I wonder what his electrolytes
are doing. His calcium levels must be way off the scale."

DeSoto pulled the monitor closer and found active hypercalcemia dancing
across the screen with first degree block and Q T wave abbreviations. He
talked to Johnny, fast. "Johnny. Hypercalcemia, urogenital related most
likely, with bounding hypertension on palpation. He's still non-verbal, and
feeling pain, but he's able to manage his own airway."

##Blocked ureter?## Johnny asked instantly.

"No, his guarding's too wide spread. There's a mass, too, down deep. But
it's not pulsatile." answered Roy.

##Ok, let's hope he doesn't sour on us.## said Gage.

::Last thing I want is for Vince to code due to a chemical imbalance.
My kingdom for an instant blood lab machine in the ambulance.:: Roy
wished, looking at his watch for their estimated E.T.A. as Mac called
out what street signs they were passing.

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