By Audrey W.
“I got it! I got it!” Six-year-old John Gage exclaimed as he tore away the Christmas wrapping paper that covered a medium sized box. It was a gift from Santa Claus, one he’d wished for all year long.
“What is it?” His mother asked while his sister tried to peek from where she sat beside him in front of their decorated tree.
John ripped off the remaining paper and held up the box for his parents to see.
“A doctor’s kit!”
He brought it back down in his own view and looked admirably at the pictured contents on the lid.
“Well, aren’t you going to open it, son?” His dad wondered, a smile on his face.
John’s mom exchanged an amused glance with her husband, who in return winked.
“Yeah, open it, open it!” His little sister urged.
John examined the cellophane cover for any sign of a tear to get started. When he didn’t find one, he ripped a corner and soon had it off, the box open and the small medical bag inside filled with various pretend doctor supplies.
He picked up the black plastic stethoscope and placed it around his neck, then reached for a small plastic tube with a plunger that was supposed to be for shots. John held it up for all to see as he asked, “Who wants ta go first?”
His sister scooted away, a wary expression on her face.
“I will,” his dad volunteered.
His mother watched as he gave his dad a shot after checking his heart beat.
“Okay, Dad, you did good. Here’s your lollipop,” John said as he offered the imaginary candy in his fisted hand.
“You’re going to make a fine doctor someday.”
John smiled proudly at his mother’s comment.
“What’s this?” John asked as he carefully unwrapped the last Christmas present he had to open.
“You’ll see,” his mother said.
John’s father set his new leather wallet aside and shook his head. It wasn’t his idea to get their seventeen-year-old son the extra present, but his wife had insisted. Firmly, too.
Soon a white tin box with a red cross on it was revealed. John popped the clip holding it closed and opened it to study the contents.
“Can’t have you camping without a first aid kit,” his mom commented.
It was well equipped with just about anything he’d need for a minor emergency.
John looked up with a crooked grin. It was typical of his mother to worry about him when he’d go camping outside of the Los Angeles area and in the hills, whether he was alone or with his friends.
“Just promise me you’ll use it if you need it.”
He nodded as he glanced back down at the contents.
“What’ve we got?” Twenty-four-year-old John wondered as he joined his on duty partner, Roy DeSoto, where he was leaning inside a wrecked car. The female driver was still in the seat.
The two men were paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Roy had trained first, then once John had been, they were both assigned to a rescue squad at Station 51 in Carson.
It was the paramedics’ second time of working on Christmas Day. They always hoped it would prove to be uneventful for everyone’s sake. However, unfortunately, they were kept rather busy both times.
“Tenderness in the abdomen, multiple contusions. She's got a good bump on her forehead. Pupils are sluggish.”
John opened the drug box and handed Roy the bp cuff. After that, he set up their biophone to contact Rampart hospital.
“BP is 90/60,” Roy reported. That wasn’t a good sign, it was possible their victim was bleeding internally. Roy gave John the remainder of the lady’s vital signs, which the younger man relayed to the doctor on the other end of the line.
The two worked efficiently together and soon had the young woman out of the car and on a yellow safety blanket on the ground. She was immediately placed in anti-shock trousers, which helped to stabilize her blood pressure so they could get her transported via ambulance to Rampart. Thanks to their care, she was already in better condition than when they’d arrived.
Once again, John Gage found himself appreciating medical supplies in his hands on Christmas Day. He may not have turned out to be the doctor his mother referred to in younger days, but he'd come close enough with his paramedic skills.
To think it all started with a simple little kit.
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