The Longest Fifteen Minutes
By Susan G
"He's not going to make it. Fifteen minutes is
just too long!" Chet Kelly thought as he looked at Johnny's face. The
paramedic was way too pale and there was a definite bluish tinge around his
mouth. Frustrated, he yelled, "Hey Mike, do you suppose this bucket of
bolts could go a little faster?" There was no way Mike could've
heard him but the engine seemed to pick up speed anyway.
"Johnny," Kelly said in a vain attempt to keep him awake," how are you feeling? The hospital is going to want an update soon."
"Hur's," Gage slurred, pointing first at his leg and then his chest.
Unsure of what to do for his friend, Chet tried to remember what he learned in first aide training. He felt Johnny's forehead: definitely cold and clammy. A quick BP check revealed that his blood pressure had dropped to 70/40.
"Damn, he's going into shock and there isn't anything more I can do." Chet looked around but they were still nowhere near the hospital.
Just then they hit a particularly nasty bump and Johnny groaned and tried to sit up. "Stay still" cautioned Chet as he gently pushed him back down.
"Get away from me!" Johnny tried to wriggle away. Chet settled him back on the pile of hoses and tried to calm him down but suddenly Johnny was a whirlwind of activity. He began to flail wildly with his arms and legs.
"Johnny, it's me. It's Chet! Relax, everything is gonna be fine." Kelly tried to reason with him but Johnny was beyond understanding. The flailing only got worse as Chet tried to keep him down and still.
Suddenly Johnny's left arm broke free and he tried to club Chet in the head. The fireman did the only thing he could think of and dived on top of Gage, grabbing his left arm before the IV could be pulled out.
Johnny bucked up with his pelvis nearly throwing Chet off the back of the engine. Kelly ended up lying full length on top of the other man -- one hand holding the paramedic's arm down and the other holding on to the engine's railing for all he was worth.
Gage's struggling soon stopped and his eyes closed. Chet let out a sigh of relief, and immediately the paramedic's eyes snapped wide open. He stared at Chet, who was nose to nose with him. Slowly the patented Gage grin crept onto his face, "Hey, Candi...!" was all Johnny managed before he lost consciousness again.
"Candi!" sputtered Chet as he climbed off Gage, " You damn well better make it now so the Phantom and repay you for that one!"
As they backed up to the emergency room doors at Rampart, Chet gathered up the scattered equipment, alternately clutching his left side, where Johnny's right fist connected more than a few times, and his right knee which he whacked during his near summersault off the back of the engine. As he followed the gurney into the ER, Chet thought to himself, That was the longest fifteen minutes of my life.