Author’s note: Thank you to Maryilee and Mary Ann for betaing. Your help is greatly appreciated. J
Reason to Celebrate
(A ‘He looked at the clock and sighed’ challenge.)
By Monster Moofie
He looked at the clock and sighed. The surgery had begun several hours ago and Kel found he was unable to concentrate. He’d come to his office with the intent of catching up on the huge stack of paperwork that Dixie constantly nagged him about. He pulled out one chart and tried to write the necessary notes on it but hadn’t managed to write more than a dozen words.
‘How could it have happened?’ he silently asked himself. ‘She was supposed to have been at the Ranch preparing for Thanksgiving.’ “Why? Why did she decide to go somewhere?” he exclaimed, smacking his fists onto the desktop in frustration. His hands throbbed briefly; he looked at them unseeingly then cradling his head in them and let it sink onto the paper-covered desk top.
Six hours earlier….
Dixie hummed to herself as she took the last pumpkin pie out of the oven and set it aside to cool. She’d been busy preparing for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast for the last several hours. At first, she’d been unsure about the idea of having everyone come to Thanksgiving dinner, but when she’d expressed the thought to Kel, he’d told her it was wonderful idea and quickly offered his comfortable ranch house to host the meal. They had decided to invite the crew and families from Station 51, as well as Doctors Early and Morton. Everyone, especially the three wives in the group, had responded enthusiastically to her invitation. Dixie grinned at the memory of Kel’s face when Johnny and Roy told them everyone wanted to come. ‘He’s like a little kid sometimes,’ she thought with a laugh as she remembered his complaint that the day was too far away.
She searched through the refrigerator, looking for the cranberries she’d purchased. “Where on earth are they?” she asked the empty house in frustration. “I know I bought them – cranberry orange relish is Kel’s favorite. They were definitely on my list.” After removing nearly every item, she came to the conclusion that they must not have gotten home with her. “Drat! I’m going to have to go get some now,” she muttered as she switched off the oven. “I’m glad I didn’t put the yams in to bake yet.” Dixie removed her apron and applied a fresh coat of lipstick then picked up her purse. Locking the door behind her, she got in her car, fastened her seatbelt and drove down Kel’s long driveway, destined for the grocery store.
Stopping at a four-way stop, she looked both ways and continued down the road. Ahead, she could see the light at the intersection was green. ‘Yes! It’s my lucky day!’ She drummed the wheel happily, thinking about how glad Kel would be she hadn’t forgotten one of his favorite Thanksgiving dishes. She tapped the brakes lightly as a semi-truck approached the intersection from the left, then resumed pressing the gas when she saw it roll to a stop. A split second later, she screamed and stomped on the brake as a pick-up, hidden by the semi’s bulk, shot past the big rig and into her path. She felt the jarring of the impact and felt pain radiating through her body. ‘All I needed were cranberries for Kel,’ she thought briefly as blackness overtook her.
A few blocks away, Squad 77 was returning from a meeting out of their area. Based out of St. Francis, they knew little of the area where they were. When the tones sounded, calling station 36 to an injury accident, they realized it was the road they were on.
“Isn’t that intersection coming up soon Larry?” Squad 77’s senior partner Andrew asked.
The radio interrupted them at that moment, saying, “Station 36, ETA ten minutes.”
“I think you’re right, “Andy,” Larry answered. “Look, I think that’s it up ahead.” He picked up the microphone and said, “L.A. this is Squad 77. We have Station 36’s incident in sight and are responding.”
“10-4 Squad 77,” Acknowledged Sam Lanier. “Squad 36, cancel.”
Squad 77 pulled up nearby Dixie’s car. The two paramedics quickly gathered their gear and split up, Andrew attending Dixie while Larry went to check on the driver of the pick-up truck. After quickly checking for a carotid on the man, Larry returned to the squad, his shoulders slumped momentarily in dismay. “LA Squad 77.”
“Go ahead 77.”
“LA Squad 77. We have a code F. Please respond the coroner.”
“10-4, Squad 77.”
Hurrying over to help his partner, Larry asked, “What do you have?”
“Female, approximately 35 years of age. No visible head injury but her shoulder is separated. She has cuts and contusions on her face from the glass. Several broken ribs. Belly is distended.”
“I’ll grab the backboard,” Larry said as he hurried back to the squad. Returning quickly, he placed it on the ground and set up the bio-phone.
“I think we can get her out without too much trouble, Larry. She was thrown into the side window and hit on the steering wheel pretty hard, but she isn’t stuck.” He wrapped a cervical collar around her neck then the two men eased her onto the backboard and carefully lifted her out.
Larry picked up the receiver on the bio-phone and heard the sirens wailing in the distance, so he guessed they were from Engine 36 and the ambulance. He switched the dial from its normal St. Francis frequency to Rampart’s and then said, “Rampart, this is Squad 77, how do you read?”
“Go ahead 77, we read you loud and clear,” Carol answered.
“Rampart, we have a female victim of an automobile accident, approximately 35 years of age. Stand by for vital-signs.”
“10-4 standing by, 77,” Carol acknowledged. She picked up the phone and spoke, saying, “Please page Dr. Brackett to the base station, STAT.”
Several minutes later, Kel came out of the base station. ‘I sure wish Dixie were here,’ he thought briefly before pushing the thought aside. “Carol, set up a treatment room. They’ll be here in five minutes. We’re going to need to get x-ray in quickly and probably will need an OR. Get Joe or Mike down here, would you please?”
“Yes, Dr. Brackett, right away.”
Kel went into the lounge and grabbed a cup of coffee, gulping it down in a hurry. He figured it would be sometime before he’d have the opportunity again. He rinsed his cup and stepped out of the lounge just as the ambulance began backing in.
“How’s she doing?” he called to the paramedic at the side of the gurney. “Do we have….” he broke off in shock as he recognized Dixie. ‘No, it can’t be…she’s supposed to be at my house,’ he thought irrationally.
“What do you have, Kel?” Joe asked as he approached, concerned when he saw his friend frozen in place.
“It’s Dixie,” Kel managed to utter. Snapping to business, he barked, “Let’s move, people.”
"Carol, get Mike," Dr. Early said softly before following his friend to the treatment room.
Dixie was quickly transferred to the treatment table and the staff set about caring for her. Joe placed his hand on Kel's shoulder and said, "Kel, you need to step back. We'll take good care of her, you know that."
"No, Joe...I've got to stay and help her," Kel protested in a desperate voice.
Already informed of the situation by Carol, Mike flew through the door, followed by Carol.
"Kel, you can't stay. You know you can't treat her," Joe said as he turned to examine the nurse. "Trust us, please."
Kel let out a frustrated sigh but slowly backed away from Dixie. He knew Joe was right...he was too close to her to treat her even though it about killed him to have to step away.
A tap sounded on Kel’s office door. He started and jumped up to open the door.
Disappointment filled him when he saw Johnny and Roy standing before him.
“Doc, we just heard. Is there anything we can do?” Johnny asked concern evident in his voice.
“No, not at the moment. I’m just waiting…stuck down here waiting instead of in the O.R. Please, come in, have a seat.”
“That’s frustrating,” Roy agreed.
“I’m really sorry about Thanksgiving, guys,” Kel stated. “Dixie was looking forward to it so much. She was supposed to be at my house. I can’t figure out why she wasn’t.”
“Well, Doc, we’ll just have to have Thanksgiving when she’s up to it. This time the rest of us will do it for her,” Johnny stated. “Rampart’s got the best, she’ll be just fine.”
“It’s taking so long…they’ve been in there over three hours.” Kel began pacing, dozens of possible complications running through his head.
“Yeah…it seems a long time when you’re the one waiting,” Roy said as he glanced at Johnny.
Another knock sounded at the door and Johnny quickly opened it. Joe Early and the orthopedic surgeon who’d been operating on Dixie entered the room. Still adorned in the greens they’d worn, they both showed the signs of a long surgery. Joe smiled as he spoke, “She’s doing just fine, Kel. We’ve stopped the bleeding and her shoulder’s been put back into place. Her vitals are strong…it’s looking very good.”
“Thank God,” Kel breathed. “Thank you, thank you both,” Kel said as he offered his hand and shook hands with both the surgeons.
“She’s in recovery now, Kel, if you’d like to see her.” Joe clasped his friend’s shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze.
“Thanks, Joe. I would. Johnny, Roy, I’ll see you guys later.” Kel hurried out the door and pushed the elevator button.
A few minutes later he stood next to Dixie’s bed in the recovery room. He tenderly brushed an errant hair back off her face and then gently picked up her hand. “Speaking too low to be heard by the nearby nurse, he whispered, “You scared me, Dix. Please don’t ever do that to me again. You’re too important to me to lose.”
Kel stayed at her side the remainder of the time she was in the recovery room and was with her when she was transferred to a room. Shortly after arriving there she began to awaken. Her eyes fluttered and she tried to move but stopped when the pain hit her.
“Seated in a chair beside her, Kel quickly jumped up and said, “Easy Dix, don’t try to move, you’ve just come out of surgery.”
Dixie cracked her eyes open and gazed up at the blue eyes over her. “What happened?”
“You were in an accident, sweetheart. You messed up your shoulder and lacerated your liver but they’ve both been fixed. You also have three broken ribs and a whole lot of little cuts and bruises but you’re going to be just fine.”
“We’re out of cranberries,” Dixie informed Kel. “I need to make your cranberry sauce. Sorry, didn’t get it done.”
“Shh, Dixie it’s okay. I’ll help you make it when you’re ready, okay?”
Dixie smiled at him with a sleepy grin. “Okay,” she said as her eyes drifted closed.
Three weeks later Kel and Dixie sat in his kitchen awaiting the arrival of their friends. Although not fully recovered yet, Dixie was anxious to be able to celebrate the belated Thanksgiving. Kel had insisted she stay seated while he prepared the turkey and stuffing.
“I can do some of it, Kel. Really, I’m doing fine,” Dixie protested.
“No, you just sit there, Dix. I’m perfectly capable of making the stuffing.”
“Fine.” She huffed, frustrated with her current limitations.
“I’m sorry, Dix. I just don’t want you exerting yourself too much. It’s going to be a long day.” Kel sought her eyes with his deep blue ones.
“I know, Kel. And I love you for it. I’m making the cranberry sauce though!” she insisted. After a moment, she added, “I’d like some help though…seems to me you promised that we’d do it together.”
“You remember,” Kel mused. “I didn’t think you would. You were pretty out of it right then.”
“I guess I was a bit.”
Kel put the turkey in the oven then sat next to Dixie, taking her hands in his. “I’m so sorry, Dix. I’m sorry you were hurt because of fixing something for me.”
Dixie pulled one hand free and gently stroked his cheek. “You know it wasn’t because of you, Kel. It wasn’t your fault anymore than the accident you were in was.”
“I still feel badly, though.”
“Don’t,” she requested. After a moment, she changed tactics. “Look at it this way, Kel. I haven’t had the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas off work in years, not since I was in college. I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. Starting right now. What do you say we get up and get that cranberry sauce made?”
Kel placed a quick kiss on her cheek and stood, offering her a hand up. “After you, Miss McCall,” he said formally.
Several hours later, the smell of Turkey and other good things wafted through Kel’s house. No longer silent, the house rang with the voices and laughter of Station 51’s crew and family as well as Kel, Dixie, Joe and Mike.
“Wow, everything smells great, Dix!” Johnny exclaimed happily as he made his way into the kitchen.
“Don’t tell me, Johnny,” the nurse informed him. “Tell Kel. He fixed almost everything.”
“I’m impressed! Thanks, Doc!”
“Save your thanks until you taste everything,” Kel said with a laugh. “I believe the turkey is ready though. Why don’t you get everyone headed in the direction of the dining room?”
“Sure thing,” Johnny responded.
Later that evening, after all the guests had gone, Kel and Dixie sat on the couch relaxing after the busy day. Dixie had snuggled close to Kel, resting her head on his shoulder. “I don’t want this day to end,” she murmured. “I’m happy right where I am.”
“It was a pretty nice day,” Kel agreed as he wrapped his arm around the nurse and pulled her closer. “I don’t know about you, but I sure know what I’ve appreciated most about it.”
“You, Dix. You’re the reason I’m celebrating. This year the day of Thanksgiving was horrible for me, but today here you are on the mend and in my arms. ”
“I’m happy just where I am,” Dixie confirmed as she turned and placed a kiss on his lips.
“Me too,” Kel replied after they broke apart. “Very happy,” he repeated in a whisper then proceeded to show her just how happy he was.
All EMERGENCY! Characters belong to MARK VII LIMITED, but any and all OC's (Original Characters) belong to me and cannot be used without my permission.
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