Disclaimer: The characters of Emergency! don’t belong to me, nor does this original episode. :o) They all belong to Mark VII and Universal. Just having fun with an alternate idea. No copyright infringement is intended.
Note: The character of Phil belongs to the creators of Emergency!, and was a fill-in for an ill Chet in this episode. If you haven't seen this episode for a while, you may want to before reading this. The story picks up where Johnny and Roy are transporting a heart attack victim to Rampart and the ambulance they're in is hit by a car.
Back Up – An Alternate Ending
By Audrey W.
The ambulance took a second hit as a large pickup truck sent it into a spin, its rear doors flinging open. The truck came to a stop a short distance away.
The collisions threw the two paramedics off balance. Leaning over the heart attack victim, Johnny was thrown first against the side of the ambulance, his head banging against the window, then backwards. Unable to grab anything to stop his fall, he tumbled from the ambulance, hitting the back of his head on the doorframe on the way out. An unconscious Gage was tossed onto the pavement, where he lay unaware of the mayhem around him.
Roy was lifted off his feet, landing on the floor of the ambulance on his side. Loose equipment battered his body. Roy tried to fend off the objects assaulting him, but it all was happening too fast. He felt a sharp pain as the biophone hit the left side of his head, then everything faded to blackness.
Not seriously injured, the driver got out of his truck, his mouth open as he stared at the sight before him.
Having been assigned to drive the squad to Rampart, Marco came upon the scene soon after the accident occurred. Several civilians were gathering around something in the street - he couldn't make out what it was. A few other people were running towards the three vehicles involved in the accident.
As he got out of the squad, the fireman could hear the voices filtering over from the onlookers.
“Is he dead?”
“Did you see what happened?”
“The guy fell right out of the back.”
“Is he breathin’?”
As Marco quickly neared the small group of people, he recognized whom they had been referring to.
Taking in Gage's battered appearance, the Hispanic man knelt down by his shiftmate. Marco suddenly remembered that John wasn’t the only one who had been in the back of the ambulance.
What about Roy?
Slowly Roy began to come around. He could see a couple of people he didn’t recognize peering in at him, and that was it. Since no firemen or police were there yet, he guessed he hadn't been out long. He blinked a few times to clear his vision. As Roy scanned over the interior of the ambulance the paramedic felt a sudden panic. Their patient was above him, still secured on the stretcher, but. . .
Being that they weren’t injured, the ambulance attendants took action as soon as the vehicle came to a stop. The driver radioed dispatch for help, while the other turned around in his seat and called out to the paramedics. Only silence remained in return. He jumped out and rushed to the rear of the vehicle, the driver coming up behind him. Two witnesses were already leaning inside the open doors. Quickly taking in the scene around them, the attendants saw Gage lying in the street with several people looking on. The squad was parked nearby and Marco was squatting down beside the injured paramedic. The other wrecked vehicles were towards the side of the street.
“Hey, Gary, I’ll go see if he needs help!” The one offered, referring to Marco. The driver nodded, then turned his attention to the bystanders and Roy. The blond paramedic was still lying on the floor of the ambulance, but was making an effort to get up. Gary knew that Roy might be seriously injured and too out of it to realize that fact. He quickly squeezed between the two onlookers and climbed up into the rear of the ambulance. Squatting down, he placed his hands on Roy’s shoulders to keep him still. “Hey, don’t move. You might have a back injury or something you’re not aware of.”
“John. . .Johnny?”
“Kyle’s checking on him, Roy. It’ll be okay.” Gary looked up at the heart patient. Patting Roy’s shoulder, he quickly stood up part way and leaned over the man on the stretcher. He checked his pulse and saw that the patient still wasn’t breathing on his own. Knowing it was life or death, Gary continued the assisted breathing the paramedics set up. He glanced over his shoulder at the open rear doors. I hope help gets here soon.
Marco was trying to get any kind of a response from Johnny when the ambulance attendant came running over to assist. The Hispanic fireman looked up from his squatted position.
“He’s not showing any level of awareness at all. No reaction to pain. How’s Roy? Did he get injured?”
The attendant, Kyle, kneeled down on the other side of Gage. “I think DeSoto’s hurt, but I don’t know how bad. Gage is lucky he’s alive.” The man stared at the multitude of road rash marks on Johnny’s left arm and at his torn left pant leg. He figured Johnny probably had road burns there as well. The left side of his head was scraped, but not nearly as bad. By nothing short of a miracle, his head hadn’t taken the brunt of the fall, thus sparing him what most likely would have been a fatal injury. There was, however, a large lump on the back of his head.
“I can feel a bump here,” Kyle said, his hand still in place.
The sound of a siren approaching caused both men to scan the street, anxious for help to arrive.
“Do you know if anyone else was hurt?” the attendant asked, bringing his attention back to Gage.
Lopez looked towards one of the other cars involved. “A few people were checking on the other victims when I got here. No one’s yelled for help.”
As the remaining crew of Engine 51 came up on the scene, they were in a state of disbelief and shock. Nothing could have prepared them for what they saw as they climbed down from the truck. Hank met Marco as the fireman trotted over to fill him in.
“What the hell happened?”
“The ambulance was involved in an accident. Looks like the car and truck both hit it. Everybody seems okay except for Roy and Johnny."”
The captain turned around to give his other two firemen instructions. “Phil, Mike, go check on the other victims involved. See if they need paramedics.” He returned his gaze to Marco. “How bad are Gage and DeSoto?”
“Johnny fell out, Cap. I can’t get any kind of response from him. Roy’s still in the ambulance. . . I don’t know.”
On the words that John had fallen out, Stanley brushed past Marco, as he got the update on Roy. He hurried over to the form still in the street.
“The paramedics better get here pretty quick,” Captain Stanley said as they neared Gage. Taking in Johnny's appearance, he had a hunch it was bad. He heaved a deep sigh as he looked at the disaster surrounding him. “It sounded like Squad 36 was the closest available, and they’ve got quite a distance to cover.” He looked at Kyle, who was still by Johnny’s side.
The attendant shook his head at the unspoken question, then answered “Not good.”
Marco kneeled back down on the ground near his shiftmate. He leaned in closer as Gage lay unmoving except for the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed.
"It's okay, Johnny. You'll be okay."
The paramedic didn't give any kind of response indicating he had heard Lopez, but no one expected it.
As much as he hated to leave Gage, Hank Stanley wanted to know about DeSoto and how he was faring. He headed towards the rear of the ambulance as two police units arrived on the scene.
Phil and Mike had checked out the other victims and found them to be okay. The woman who had hit the ambulance kept apologizing to the firemen for what had happened. Not knowing what else to do, Phil reassured her that it was going to be okay. Mike kept the man from the truck calm as two police officers approached from the intersection.
“They just need to know exactly what happened,” Mike reminded the man. “Just tell them what you remember. That’s all they need.”
“But it’s not my fault,” the man repeated. “When the car hit the ambulance, it got in my way.”
“Just explain that to them,” the engineer tried again. He gave a weak smile as one of the officers stepped up to the man to question him.
“Anyone here need medical help?” The policeman asked.
Phil and Mike both shook their heads. “But they probably should go in to Rampart just to be checked in case,” Chet’s replacement said.
Both officers nodded. One took the woman by the arm, steering her away from the driver of the truck. He opened his note pad and began questioning her. At the same time, the other policeman questioned the man.
Seeing their charges were being taken care of, both firemen trotted towards Johnny.
The ambulance driver was still with Roy and the heart patient. DeSoto had been in and out of awareness, and he knew the paramedic needed medical attention. Unfortunately Gary couldn’t take care of both adequately and the other victim took top priority. The patient aspirated prior to transport and was in extremely critical condition. The driver noticed Roy waking again, struggling to get up.
“Don’t move, Roy. You’ve been in an accident.” He glanced at the two onlookers. “Could you help to keep him still?”
One man nodded and gently pushed the paramedic’s shoulders down.
“How’re they doing?” Stanley asked as he peered around the man, into the ambulance.
The captain could see the distress in Gary’s expression. “This guy needs to be on his way to Rampart . . . now! ”
"The heart. . .attack . . .patient. . ." DeSoto said weakly. “An’ wha’…where's . . . Johnny?"
“Your patient is hanging in there, Roy. He’s right here. The paramedics. . .” Gary noticed Hank shake his head as he mouthed ‘Not here yet.’ The ambulance driver continued. “My partner’s with Gage. You just worry about yourself right now, okay?” He waited for the blond man to relax somewhat. “Take it easy. Help’s on the way.”
Roy wasn’t sure he was hearing right. On the way? Shouldn’t they be here by now? Maybe it hasn’t been that long. . .? His eyes slowly closed as he drifted to unconsciousness again.
Stanley had seen enough. He pulled out his HT and called into dispatch, questioning where the paramedics were.
“ETA is three minutes, 51.”
He frowned. There was no guarantee that John or the heart patient had three minutes. Two ambulances arriving on the scene offered a slight relief. At least when medical help did arrive, victims could be transported quickly.
Phil and Mike rushed to where Johnny was still lying in the intersection, unconscious.
“Need any help?” Phil asked, kneeling down.
Mike was ready to do the same when he glanced over at the wrecked ambulance. Captain Stanley was standing at the rear, a concerned expression on his face. The engineer decided to see if that look had anything to do with DeSoto’s condition. Stoker started towards the captain, as Phil, Kyle and Marco stayed by Gage's side.
“What in the hell is taking the paramedics so long to get here?” Kyle asked, after he checked the injured man's pulse and respirations for a second time.
Lopez shook his head. “Johnny and Roy were getting calls for all sorts of non-emergency situations today. And squads farther away were being sent to this area for the more serious rescues.”
The men exchanged relieved glances as Squad 36 finally arrived at the scene.
Captain Stanley was right over to
greet the paramedics and give them a quick rundown on the situation. One headed
for Johnny, the other to the wrecked ambulance, where he quickly helped to lift
the heart patient out on the stretcher. Not wasting any time, the victim was
placed in a waiting ambulance and was on his way to Rampart, 36’s paramedic
along with him.
Having been informed Roy was the least injured of the three, the other paramedic instructed Phil to go tell Gary to continue keep an eye on DeSoto and yell if he needed help.
“Can you get Rampart on the horn?”
Marco nodded, opening the biophone and setting up the antenna. As soon as Brackett answered on the other end, Dale Bradley from 36’s grabbed the receiver out of Lopez’s hand. The Hispanic fireman listened as vitals were reported to Rampart.
“ . . .pupils unequal and sluggish, and the victim is unresponsive to stimluli.”
Brackett instructed an IV be started on Johnny and that spinal precautions be taken. He then turned to Joe Early, who was talking to Gary on another frequency.
“How’s Roy doing?”
The doctor shrugged. “I think he’ll be okay, Kel. He’s not complaining about any back pain, and there’s no sign of rigidity to his abdomen. Sounds like he might have a moderate concussion, though, and some bruises.” He paused a moment, then asked, “And Gage?”
Brackett shook his head. “It doesn’t look good. The sooner they can get him in here, the better, though. I don’t like the fact that he’s still unconscious and unresponsive, and it took so long for medical help to arrive in the first place.”
Roy felt himself lifted and placed on a stretcher outside the ambulance, a backboard underneath him and c-collar on for precaution. Now that he was awake again, he wanted to know more details about the welfare of his partner and the man they had been transporting, but he knew that information would come when it was available. Gary wouldn’t lie to him just to tell him anything.
Captain Stanley was back over near the wrecked ambulance and could tell Roy was very concerned and needed to know more about Gage’s condition, other than a simple ‘he’s in good hands.’ But he didn’t know much more himself. While it was true that Johnny had looked to be in bad shape when they first arrived on the scene, it was impossible to know the extent of his injuries from first glance.
“Roy, I’m sure John’ll be okay,” was all Hank could say. If only the damn squad hadn’t taken so long to get here.
Once Gage was placed on a stretcher, still on a backboard as well, he was taken over to and lifted inside the waiting ambulance. Roy was already inside trying to stay as alert as possible so he would know what was going on. Bradley carried Johnny’s IV bag gently between his teeth as he helped to place the injured man in the vehicle.
Watching the paramedic, Mike and Captain Stanley were reminded of Johnny at work. He often carried a patient’s IV bag in the same manner while he helped to get them ready for transport. The dark-haired man had done it so often that he had finessed talking while it was still in his mouth.
Hank waved Marco over from where he stood beside the ambulance. “Why don’t you take the squad back to the station. Headquarters is sending a replacement paramedic team and they’re gonna need a vehicle.”
Once Lopez was on the way, and the ambulance carrying his paramedics departed the area, Captain Stanley walked over and stood by the engine a moment, surveying the wrecked vehicles at the scene. The police were marking where the ambulance tires were resting, a method that would help to investigate the accident. He was confident that between statements that witnesses made, damage to the cars and where the vehicles ended up, it would be determined who was at fault and hopefully that person would have learned a lesson here. Stanley shook his head. Times like this made him angrier than words could express. People needed to give the right-of-way to emergency vehicles when the lights and sirens were in use and it was a shame it sometimes took an incident like this to make them realize that.
Accidents like this shouldn’t happen.
He caught movement to his left and saw Mike approaching, Phil with him. Hank sighed. “Let’s go.”
Both men nodded and the three engine crewmembers climbed up into their truck.
“Captain Stanley, are we gonna be allowed time to check on Johnny and Roy?” Phil wondered.
“We’re not being let off duty, if that’s what you’re asking. But you can bet I’ll be calling Rampart often. I’m not gonna be at ease until I know those two are really gonna be okay.”
The fireman nodded solemnly. He had a feeling Chet Kelly was going to wish he’d been on duty. Especially if this turned out to be the last shift with DeSoto and Gage as partners. No one could even begin to imagine what the rest of the afternoon and evening were going to be like.
Roy was taken into one treatment room, as Johnny was whisked down the corridor towards another. The dark-haired paramedic groaned slightly as he began to feel the sensation of moving.
“In here,” Dixie said, holding the door open. She glanced down as Johnny was wheeled past. The paramedic looked so battered and vulnerable to her. The head nurse stepped inside behind the others and stood by, ready to assist when the time came.
“Any sign of consciousness?” Brackett asked, as Johnny was transferred to the exam table, the backboard still underneath him.
“Just a few groans now and then.” Bradley watched as the doctor began to check Gage’s pupils. “He grimaced a couple of times, so I’d say he’s feeling some level of pain from his injuries now.”
“That’s a good sign,” Kel replied. He examined the road burns, while Dixie took Gage’s vitals. “Dix, we’re gonna have to irrigate these abrasions. The grime is in pretty deep, so we’ll have to use a brush to get the embedded dirt out.”
Bradley winced. He had never experienced what Johnny would soon be going through, but just the thought of it hurt.
“Johnny!” Brackett called out, trying to get a response from the paramedic. He placed his left hand in Gage’s right. “Johnny, squeeze my hand if you can hear me.”
A light grip on his hand brought a smile to the doctor’s face. He took his hand from the younger man’s grip and patted his shoulder. “Good job. Can you open your eyes for me?”
Johnny’s eyes fluttered open to a squint. The paramedic gave a barely audible moan.
“Now there’s an improvement.” Brackett said, grinning at the others. He quickly took his attention back to the patient. “Johnny, do you know where you are?”
Gage stared up at the unfocused image above him. Unable to clear his vision, he closed his eyes again, not giving an answer. He mind drifted into oblivion as he became unconscious again. Dixie, Kel and Bradley exchanged worried glances. Dixie quickly carried on with her duty of calling for the Echoencephalogram, X-ray and setting up to clean out the abrasions.
Doctor Early was in the other room with Roy. The blond paramedic was becoming more aware, but had suffered a moderate concussion, along with a few cracked ribs. X-rays were ordered for DeSoto, to make sure nothing was being overlooked.
Roy looked up at the doctor taking care of him. “Doc, any word . . .on Johnny?”
“No, but Kel’s with him. He’s in good hands, Roy.”
“Can. . .can you . . .find out? He looked. . .he never came around on the way here.”
Joe frowned at the comment. It was unfortunate the partners had to be transported in the same ambulance. He forced a reassuring smile. “As soon as they get here with the x-ray equipment, I’ll go see what I can find out. In the meantime, try to take it easy and rest.”
Roy nodded slightly. “It took. . .help forever to . . .get there.”
“We’ll look into that, Roy.”
DeSoto wished he could have something to ease his headache while he waited for word on Johnny. But he knew it would have to wait until some of the tests were complete. For now, closing his eyes seemed to alleviate part of his discomfort.
Having left his patient with the x-ray technicians, Joe Early slipped into the treatment room where Kel Brackett was still working on Gage. The dark-haired doctor glanced up at the new arrival.
“How’s Roy doing?”
“I’d say once he finds out more on his partner, he’ll be better. Right now it seems to be all that’s on his mind and not knowing has been hard.”
Brackett looked first at Dixie, then at Johnny’s unconscious form on the table. “We still don’t know, Joe. He did open his eyes once, and he could understand my request to squeeze my hand . . .”
“Sounds like improvement to me.”
Kel looked up at Early. “Yeah, but he didn’t demonstrate any sign of awareness to his surroundings or me. It was only a matter of seconds and he was out again.”
“You think he’s got a serious brain injury?”
“We’ll know as soon as we get the EEG results. Looks like that won’t be much longer,” he said as he nodded behind Early, towards the door. The technicians were bringing in their equipment. Brackett gave his instructions to the men, then exited the room with Dixie and Joe. The three hospital staff members gathered together at the base station.
“Wait until we have tests back on Johnny before you give any news to Roy. I’d hate to have him fed anything that may be inaccurate from what’s really going on.”
“You’ve got it, Kel.”
Hank Stanley hung up the phone in his office and sighed. He’d just gotten an update on DeSoto and Gage, and he was relieved to hear Roy was going to be okay. Johnny was doing better, but was still very critical.
The captain pushed his chair back from the desk, and headed for the dayroom.
Marco looked up from the magazine he was absently flipping through. Like the rest of the crew, he was having a hard time keeping his attention focused during spare time. The injured paramedics were foremost on everyone’s minds. “Cap! Any word on Roy and John?”
Lopez, Mike and Phil, and the two fill-in paramedics now on duty, waited anxiously for Hank to answer.
The captain put his hands in his pockets and leaned against the doorframe. “Roy’s got a moderate concussion, two cracked ribs and a sprained knee. No serious internal injuries. He’ll be out a few weeks. John’s got a severe concussion, a severely bruised left hip . . . only time will tell if he’ll make a full recovery from the head injury. Right now, he’s still unconscious. But,” Hank added, “ they think Gage was out before he hit the pavement, which probably saved his life. His body was relaxed like a rag doll . . .more or less the same result a drunk in an accident gets.”
The men nodded, no one needing to say anything. They were all glad to get the good news on DeSoto, and grateful Johnny wasn’t hurt worse. But the report on the younger paramedic made it hard to feel at ease.
“Well, I’d better go call Kelly and give him the news.” With that, Stanley turned and headed for his office.
Phil leaned back in his chair and stared at the pot of stew he created. No way could he or anyone else eat right now. He slowly got up from his seat and placed the pot of now cold food in the refrigerator.
Marco thought about his horoscope. It was supposed to be an uneventful day, a good time for reading a book, the forecast said. This day had turned out to be anything but uneventful.
Roy turned his head to the side and smiled wanly at Joanne sitting in the chair near his bed.
“Hey, sleepyhead,” she began as she leaned forward and lightly kissed him on the lips. She pulled back and looked down at her husband. “How’re you feeling?”
“Like I’ve been knocked around by a prize fighter,” he answered groggily. “I hurt everywhere.” He moved his sprained knee slightly, the ice pack on it still firmly in place.
“Doctor Early said you’d probably be sore. You must’ve really got thrown around in the back of the ambulance . . .” Her voice cracked and tears pooled in her eyes. As she blinked to clear her vision, a tear trickled down her right cheek.
“Hey. . .”
“I’m okay, Roy. It’s just . . .you and Johnny. . .you came close . . .”
At the mention of his partner’s name, Roy became alarmed. He never had gotten word on how Gage really was.
“Is Johnny . . .okay?”
Joanne nodded, wiping at her eyes. “He . . .uh . . . he’s in critical but stable condition. That’s all I know.”
Roy sighed. “Dammit.”
“Honey, he’s gonna be all right. Doctor Brackett said the prognosis is good. They just don’t know--”
“What? Don’t know . . . what?”
“He hasn’t fully regained consciousness yet. They don’t know how bad his brain got jostled in the accident.”
Roy didn’t say anything in reply. He absently chewed his lower lip in thought.
“Roy, I’m sure he’ll be okay. Don’t think the worst . . .give Johnny a chance to wake up and get a handle on things.”
Again the blond paramedic didn’t answer. And when he finally did, he moved on to another subject.
“How long . . . have you been here?” He asked, his voice still sounding groggy.
“Around two hours.”
“Captain Stanley’s wife called when she heard what happened, and offered to watch Chris and Jenny until visiting hours are over. That’s a good crew you work with, you know. They’ve been calling frequently to see how you two are doing.”
That didn’t surprise the paramedic. He knew that in times of trouble, they’d all be there for each other. And he sure couldn’t imagine working beside anybody but Johnny right now.
You’d better be okay, partner.
Dixie came into Rampart early the next morning, a little before her next shift was to start. She carefully eased the door to Johnny’s room open and slowly walked over beside his bed. She looked at the bandages that covered the road burns on his skin, wincing as she recalled Johnny's grimaces while they were cleaning the abrasions out with a brush and solution. The nurse had found it tough to assist with the task and she wished there could have been another way to do it. For whatever reason, none of it brought the man to a full level of consciousness.
Dixie pulled over a chair and sat down, gently reaching out for Gage’s right hand. “Hang in there, Johnny,” she said, giving a light squeeze.
It was when she felt the squeeze in return that the nurse looked over at his face and noticed half open eyes staring at her, a blank look to them. Dixie reached for the call button with her other hand. When a staff member on the floor peeked in to see what was going on, the head nurse requested Brackett be notified immediately.
Joe Early and Dixie watched as Kel Brackett finished examining Gage. The doctor shone a penlight in the paramedic’s eyes, testing the pupil reaction again.
“You still seeing blurry?”
“Yeah,” came the whispered reply.
“Can you remember anything about the accident?”
Johnny waited a few seconds then slightly shook his head. He couldn’t remember anything beyond. . . “Cherry stew,” he mumbled.
“Stew . . . Cherries an’ stew. . .”
The three observers shrugged at one another.
“I don’t know, Kel, but if I ate cherry stew, I don’t think anything could make me forget it either,” Joe said with a smile. “Who knows with six firemen what they come up with for variety in their diet.”
Brackett grinned. “Well, at least he can recall something. Dix, call the station and see if they remember when and if they had that dish. It’ll give us an idea of how much he’s lost in the way of a timeframe.”
The nurse nodded and left the room. She couldn’t wait to let the men on A-shift know that Gage was finally awake. Sure, he wasn’t seeing clearly yet and he was disoriented, but it was a relief to have him making progress, slow or otherwise. Her next step after the phone call would be to tell Roy.
The expression on Roy’s face as Dixie delivered the update on the younger paramedic was enough to show how much his partner’s welfare mattered to DeSoto.
“What about the blurred vision, though?” The blond man wondered. “I mean. . .is Brackett concerned about that?”
“You know it’s common to have problems with vision after suffering a concussion,” Dixie explained. “It’ll take awhile, but Kel says it should clear up.”
“I can’t believe he only remembers the stew,” Roy grinned, sitting propped up in the bed. “We didn’t even eat it. Must be the idea of it was enough to leave an impression.”
The nurse and paramedic grew serious again, knowing full well the situation could have been a lot worse. Roy sighed as he shifted his position slightly.
“Dix, you know . . .it took a long time for a squad to get to the accident scene. And we’re just lucky that our heart patient and Johnny hung in there until they did arrive.”
“I know. We’ve been talking about it. But Doctor Brackett says there’s really nothing we can do. . .there’s no way of knowing if a more serious call is going to come in soon after a less urgent one. And even if there was, there’s no way to know for certain which is which.” She sat on the edge of his bed. “People react differently to situations and someone might downplay a condition that’s very serious or overplay a trivial one in a panic. We won’t know until a paramedic unit is there to see what’s going on.”
“Where was Squad 45 when our accident was reported? They should’ve been the closest.”
Dixie sighed. “They were dispatched out on a call for an unknown type rescue. Turns out a woman had broken her finger and didn’t want to drive herself to a doctor.” She gave an apologetic look. “No one knew that until they got to the scene.”
Roy frowned. “Figures.”
“Someday we’ll get a better system than we have now, Roy. But until then, it’s really not all that bad. The paramedic program has come a long way.”
“Yeah,” he nodded. “You’re right. Our heart patient wouldn’t have made it at all if not for paramedics.”
Dixie stood up and walked towards the door. “Hang in there, Roy. You’ve got a good family, a partner on the mend, a crew that cares about you guys . . . can’t ask for too many good things at one time.”
DeSoto gave a small grin. No, I can’t. Those right there are the most important.
Alone in his room, Johnny waited for the latest dose of medication to take effect and ease the tremendous headache he was experiencing. The paramedic was feeling all the pain from the accident now that he was awake. His vision had slightly improved after awhile, but that only made for nausea as the room seemed to tilt and move around on its own.
Johnny groaned. This, too, shall pass . . .soon, I hope.
It was early afternoon the following day and Johnny was still battling the nausea, dizziness and headaches, though his vision cleared completely. The door to his room opening caught the groggy man’s attention. He smiled weakly when Captain Stanley peeked inside.
“Hey, pal, how’re you doin’?”
“Okay, Cap.” Slightly elevated in his bed, Johnny tried to scoot up a bit, wincing at the pain it caused on his left side.
Hank Stanley was over to the bed in seconds, ready to press the call button. “You okay?”
Gage forced a grin, ignoring the stinging it caused with the abrasions on his left cheek. “Yeah,” he answered tiredly. “I guess I can’t do that.”
“Well, don’t rush things.” Hank paused. “I saw Roy. He’s doing a lot better today.”
“Yeah? That’s great.”
“I’m just glad both of you are doing so well. When we came up on the scene. . .”
“I know. I heard,” came a groggy reply. “But I don’t remember any of it.”
Stanley smiled. “I hear you remember the stew with the cherries in it.”
“Yeah. Cap, we didn’t eat that stuff . . . did we?” he asked, grimacing.
“Nah, no one got a chance before we all got toned out. Then none of us felt like eating afterwards.”
“Good thing, huh?”
“I’ll say. But there’s probably still a whole pot of it at the station if you want any.”
“Cap, please. I’m nauseated as it is.”
Hank had to smile. “Relax. . .that stuff is going in the trash, if it’s not there already.” He started towards the door, as he could see Gage was getting sleepy. Reaching for the doorknob, he paused and turned around. “Hey, Chet wanted me to tell you he’ll be by when he’s feeling better. Right now he couldn’t see you or DeSoto if he wanted. . .he sounds terrible.”
“Tell ‘im thanks,” Johnny mumbled.
“I will.” As the captain stepped out the doorway, he looked over his shoulder, a smirk on his face. “You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘Phantom’ influenced Chet to call in that recipe to Phil.”
Johnny gave a lazy grin. Now that he thought about it, the captain was probably right.
A few weeks later things were back to usual with all of A-shift together again. Gage and DeSoto were just about to walk into the dayroom after roll call when C-Shift backed in with the squad.
“This is a dejavu. . .” Roy commented. He shook his head when his partner gave him a baffled look. He’d forgotten Johnny didn’t recall everything from the shift that had ended early for them with the accident. The senior paramedic walked over to the vehicle expecting to hear how many needless runs they had been on.
“So? How was it?”
“Not bad. . .not at all,” Dwyer answered. “We only had eight calls and all of them were legit for once.”
“Good. Maybe people are starting to realize the importance of us being available for real emergencies.”
“We can hope.”
Gage and DeSoto watched the paramedics from C-shift walk towards the locker room, then began to do a shift-change inspection on the equipment in the squad.
Squatting as he looked over supplies in the drug box, Johnny paused, resting his right arm on his knee. “You know, Roy. . .sometimes if you leave things alone, they just work out on their own.”
The senior medic gave an incredulous look at his partner. “You were wanting to fix the system just as much as I was.”
“Maybe so . . . but that was before. Now I see it’s already fixed itself.”
Roy opened his mouth to reply when the Klaxons sounded.
“Squad 51, man down, 3882 Market Street, Room 481, cross street 14th. Three eight eight two Market, time out 8:21.”
“Does that address ring a bell?” DeSoto asked.
“I think so. . .Wild Bill?”
Roy nodded. “Wild Bill.”
Gage grinned, proud that he could recall whose address it was despite what happened and after all the time that had passed. His expression changed to a frown when his partner pointed out what the call would probably entail.
“You had to say the system’s fixed, didn’t you. Now we've most likely gotta deal with the who-knows-how old injuries and scars of Wild Bill again.”
“Well, I -- how --” Johnny watched as Roy got to his feet, placing the boxes back in the compartments and shutting the doors. The blond man disappeared around the vehicle and acknowledged the call.
Gage stood up and hurried to the passenger side of the cab. “Ah, c’mon, Roy. You don’t believe in jinxes, do ya?”
As DeSoto drove the squad into the street, Johnny began, “You know, maybe we can think of a solution to this kind of problem afterall. If we just. . .”
Roy listened as his partner carried on. The senior paramedic rolled his eyes and shook his head slightly. I hope someone finds the answer before he drives me nuts.
Thanks to Jill H. and Kenda for the beta read! And to Peggy for answering a couple of questions. :o) ANY mistakes, medical or otherwise, are strictly mine.