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Dixie's Day Off

An Emergency Story by


Dixie's Day Off by Patti Keiper. (Anotherjaneway)

(Cameo by "wone3"<jwilds@prodigy.net> Used with permission)


Dixie McCall stretched languidly on her raft just soaking in

the southern Californian sunshine. ::It's just been far...too... long.::

she sighed, listening to the birds nearby playing in her apartment

complex's birdbath. Max, the caretaker's cat, seemed to agree with

her, stretching a single paw down from his perch on the poolside

lifeguard chair.





Children's laughter rang like belltones in her ears as she dozed

under her sunhat and occasionally, the yips of the excited dogs

watching the other tenants sharing the same pool, splashed and

played on the sidelines. Sighing, Dixie let the sun fry out her aches,

one by one. ::If I ever work another double shift like the one I had last

night, may monkeys fly out of my butt.::  she thought. "Ohhh, I hate

head colds." Dixie sniffed, ignoring yet another tickle running down

her throat. She shifted on her inflatable, easing a sudden gut cramp.

The tired nurse let the noonish summer's day work its magic, and

ignored it. "Guess what, Kel?" she mumbled to herself, still quite

alone on her side of the pool. "I'm cancelling dinner plans. This

day is gonna be just ..for......ZZzzzzz...zzz.."


The lulling waves returned her to a state of blissful somnolence.





Dixie didn't know how long she had drifted, when an uneasy pup's

whine sliced through her dreams. McCall made a face.


Then the kids started screaming. Dixie shot up onto her hands, blinking

in the torrid sun's glare, her eyes tearing. She cast her head about towards

the frightened children, shouting in alarm. "What's the problem here?!"


One petrified boy pointed to someplace behind Dixie. McCall turned.

One of the Miller dogs was still whining, standing rigid on a second

floating rubber raft, looking at something down under the water.





Dixie saw a wavering form shimmer, sprouting legs

and motionless, drifting arms.


"Mr. Miller!" she gasped, twisting off the raft. Dixie swam as

fast as she could across the pool, shouting as she went, "Call

the Fire Department Rescue Squad! My patio door's open!"

she told the children. One of the oldest started running for

the phone.


Dixie plunged into the pool's depths, opening her eyes. It was

deep at that end and Gerald Miller was no tiny teenager

when she finally reached him and started hauling his spasming

lanky body to the surface.  She kicked through a plume of red.

::He's hit his head?:: McCall analyzed.





The side cramp biting her earlier made a comeback. Dixie

grunted bubbles, cursing. But then her hand caught the edge

of the pool's rim and her chin broke into the air. The stench of

chlorine poured into Dixie's stuffy nose and she opened her mouth,

spitting out luke warm water.


"Is my brother ok?" asked a tiny blond girl in active horror.


Dixie threw an arm over Ger's shoulder and rolled his slack

face out of the water, taking care to not jar his spine. The

teenager was unconscious now and he fountained water out

his nose and mouth when she turned him. ::Drowning.:: she

thought. Holding him still, the nurse beckoned to the kids.

"Push something over to me!" she ordered, treading water. "I need

a support surface to lie him on. Even a lounger will work."


But the chairs along the sunning area were chained to the fence.

Dixie swore. "There! Use that." and she jerked her head towards

the blue raft from which the frantic dog was barking.


Two young boys leaped in and shoved it close.


Dixie managed to get it floating perpendicular under

Ger's chest with his head splinted level in both her hands.

She didn't bother to drain him further and started right in

with a breath attempt. Ger gurgled, but his chest rose.


McCall's fingers found the groove in his neck.

::Sh*t. His pulse's almost gone.::  Dixie kept holding

the teenager's head in alignment around her jaw thrust.

She lifted rushing eyes to the panicking children surrounding

her."Kids, we gotta get him out. Now. Remember how to

do that? Like I showed ya in kidscouts.. We're gonna make

a ramp out of the pump pipe cover by the shed. All right?

Go get it!  I gotta keep helping him." she said, blowing another

breath through the suffocating man's chest water.


Ger's color had grayed before her eyes by the time they

got back. "No, Ger. Keep fighting!" Dixie hissed into his ear

as she pushed air into his lungs.


The oldest boy ran back outside."The operator said that

they're on their way! I got through!"


"Terrific.." McCall grinned up at him.

 She used the other children swimming around

her to keep Miller's head and back unjostled.


Between the five of them, the slippery teen slid off

the long piece of plastic onto the deck quickly. "Watch his

head. Don't move his neck around..." Dixie told the older



"He's bleeding!" cried the youngest.


"It's not real bad. Head cuts are just messy." Dixie said



"His neck beat's gone! His neck beat's gone!" shouted

Ger's brother, knowing enough to check.


"I know. He's just gone out. Don't be scared. Now. He'll need

that CPR stuff I taught you all, so girls, dry him off your beach towels,

especially around his chest. Then nest them about him to soak up

all of this water." Dixie said rapidly, thinking ahead for future



Hauling on a rope of floats, McCall flung herself out of

the pool. She scrambled over to the teen's head and

reopened an airway by lifting his jaw bone. "Michael, now take

over here. Hold his chin just like this when you give your

breaths, ok? Move nothing else. I'll start here." Dixie told the

boy, beginning compressions. "Don't be alarmed if water

squirts out after a bit. Let it come. The more of it, the better."


Dixie's cramp was a vice now, and her nose ran, so she

lifted one leg and crouched on her right foot to ease it. Already,

McCall was sweating and beads of it stung her eyes. She

glanced up as Ger's brother delivered another breath mouth

to nose. "That's fine, Mike. Give those a little deeper. Keep

going. Good job." McCall panted, keeping up her CPR.


After each pulse check, Dixie lifted her head toward the

veranda's main gate listening acutely for the sound of sirens.


Dixie McCall reached down yet again to the drowned teenager's

throat after another long minute. Her chilled fingers found a thready

carotid. "Michael! Trade places with me. He's got a pulse.

Hold his head still, in between your knees, as I keep ventilating

him." she requested, keeping in line stabilization with her hold

on his airway. "Keep talking to him, hon. He's in trouble but he can

still hear us."


Stuttering nervously, Michael leaned down to his brother's ear.

"Ger. I promise I won't tell anyone what you did in the house.

Just wake up, ok? Dad's gonna be so mad you jumped head

first into the shallow end like we're not supposed to."


McCall looked up at the nine year old, about to ask him what

that house comment had meant, when the wail of sirens and

squealing tires heralded a paramedic squad's arrival.


It was 51's.


"Johnny! Roy! Non-breathing, but with a pulse now!

He was under, I'm guessing,.. less than two minutes."


DeSoto and Gage flew into the yard, 02 tank clattering, with a

police officer in tow, lugging the defibrillator and a backboard.


"Officer, set those by his head." Johnny ordered. Then he

wrapped a thick cervical collar around Ger's neck without

getting in the way of Dixie's mouth to mouth resuscitation.


Roy moved immediately to kick the drying blankets the children

had used out of the way. "Dixie? We thought the address was



"Sorry for scaring you fellas but this was pressing.." she replied,

delivering another breath to the boy carefully.


Johnny felt the teen's distended stomach. "This getting in

the way?"


"More and more."


Gage got busy setting up the demand valve to take

over for the nearly exhausted nurse.


Roy finished hooking up the EKG monitor and he put the

defibrillator on charged standby. Then he set up the

biophone's antennae and began a hail. "Rampart, this

is Rescue 5..1.."





##Go ahead, 51## answered Brackett over the line.


"Rampart, we have a male approximately fourteen

years of age. Victim of an apparent diving accident."


Dix waggled her head in agreement at Roy's guess

at mechanism of injury as she accepted the positive

pressure mask from Gage and began using it.


Johnny flung open the I.V. box and grabbed out what

he needed rapidly.


Roy continued his report. "...He's been under active

resuscitation, non-breathing now, but with a regained

pulse following CPR. He's on 15 liters of assisted O2.

Spinal precautions have been taken. Please stand by

for the vital signs."  He set the phone onto his shoulder

as he tore pieces of IV tape off a dispenser to stick

in rows onto his leg.


##Standing by, 51.##


McCall rattled off Ger's pulse and its quality, and

his consciousness level."120 and thready. No reaction

to pain. Pupils, reactive, but sluggish."


DeSoto nodded, getting a quick B/P while Johnny

did a rapid head to toe survey after listening to

the boy's breath sounds via scope. "I'm getting rales

bilaterally." he said.


"He took in a lot of water.." Dixie confirmed catching

her breath back as she used the ventilator on their



Gage went on. "Negative Babinski's." he said after

he ran a pair of forceps points up the bottom's

of both of the teenager's feet.


Dixie sighed in relief. "One point in his favor.."


Gage rewrapped the stethoscope around his neck. He

peered at the blood oozing from the boy's temple.

"This looks minor. There's no depression." Then he

looked for cerebral spinal fluid out the ears and nose.

"No CSF, Roy."


"Ok, Johnny. Better call out for the engine. His B/P's

sixty over P."


Gage jerked his head in affirmation and grabbed

his walkie talkie. "L.A., This is Squad 51."


##Squad 51.##


"Respond Engine 51 for medical assistance to

our location."


## 10-4, Squad 51. Time out, 12:51.##


Everyone ignored the broadcast tones over the

frequency, double echoed through the squad's

Motorola Converta-com and the HT as Captain

Stanley acknowledged the run and gave an ETA.


Dixie felt a wave of fatigue. "Johnny, I'm tired." she

shivered. "I gotta give it up."


"All right." Gage said, eyeing her up, a little

self conscious because of Dixie's skimpy

made-for-the-sun, two piece bikini. "Rescuing's

hard work. Why don't you..uh,, wrap up, sit

down and rest a while. We got it."


The motorcop smoothly took over teenager's

mechanical ventilations.


Dixie barely felt the kids throw a flannel quilt over

her shoulders, offering her their gratitude with timid

pats and hugs as she parked on a lounger by

the edge of the swimming pool. McCall shook her

head, thinking out loud. Then she snapped her

fingers. " Amy Miller, can you go get that consent

form your mother's got hanging on the frig? These

firemen are gonna need it to give Ger some



"Ok, Dixie. I'll be right back, Ger!" cried the tiny

child before she ran off.


DeSoto got his first orders.


##51, Start an I.V. Normal Saline with an insulin

drip. I'm gonna assume he was coding longer than

two minutes. I want to terminate any catecholamine

release effects before they complicate things for us.

Go ahead and administer 1.0 mg Lidocaine IV push

to control any intracranial pressure he might have from

that possible head injury. Prepare to insert an esophageal

airway and send me a strip. Add 1 mg Sodium Bicarb,

then turn his drip to TKO. Let me know when you've

secured your airway. ##


"10-4, Rampart. I.V. Normal Saline with insulin, Lidocaine

and Sodium Bicarb. This'll be lead 2."


The reassuring sound of the Ward Pumper's deeper siren grew

then fell away with the bark of her airhorn.


##L.A. Engine 51's on scene.## came Stoker's transmission.


##10-4, Engine 51. Time is 12:55.## replied L.A. Dispatch.


The pool kids, except Michael, went running to fetch the

other firemen to show them the way.


Roy lifted his HT. "Cap, we'll need all hands and

the spare O2. Active resus."


##10-4, HT 51.##


Ger suddenly started to seize and his stomach rippled.


Gage startled. "Is he vomiting?" he asked the police

man, with his hands full of supplies.


"No, there's nothing here yet. ....But.."


"But what?" Roy asked, impatient.


"I..don't think I'm getting a chest rise anymore.." the

officer admitted. "Just started happening."


"D*mn!" Johnny swore, feeling Gerald's throat for

the beat and double checking the jaw lift. "Try

another vent again."


The cop triggered the thumb button. Despite a

tight seal over skin, the demand valve failed

to accomplish a finished breath. The officer

shook his head. "See? Just like I told ya."


Johnny flew into action. "Roy, ask for a nasogastric

tube. He's really blocked and in a convulsion from

hypoxia. His gums are blue. I wanna drain that

distension now."


Roy hurried and updated Dr. Brackett about

the new developments.


## I confirm rising tachycardia on the scope, 51.

Relieve that intragastric pressure with an NG tube

and watch for signs of an obstructed airway..##

Kel snapped crisply.


Working together, Roy and Johnny inserted a well

lubricated catheter into the teen's unbloodied

nostril and got it down past a sudden odd resistance.

Frothy pink emesis welled out of the tube's end and

onto the concrete in a noisy involuntary belch. Then

Ger's bulging stomach fell flatter than it had been.


"Ok, try him now." Gage told the policeman as

he quickly drew the tube back out again and suctioned

out the boy's nose and mouth. Difficult breaths went



Stoker, Chet and Lopez immediately knew what

to do at a mere glance of the area. They shifted the

backboard until it lay flush with Ger's back as Johnny

and Roy log rolled him onto his side for more

active suctioning. Swiftly, the head block, chest, waist

and leg straps were settled and tightened into place.


Leaning down, Johnny examined the stain on the pavement.

It was sweet smelling. "Roy, he's been drinking...." he

said flatly, not happy.


DeSoto's face tightened. "He's just a kid."


"I know."


Roy picked up the phone again. "Rampart, we've

positive evidence of ETOH ingestion."


Brackett returned a long sigh of resignation

and sadness. ##10-4, Roy. Then we're all the better

for that insulin drip counteracting things."


Roy had the advanced airway prepped and gelled. "I'm

gonna need one of you for a Sellick's maneuver."

he told the gang.


"Me." Marco volunteered and he peeled off his coat

and gloves and kneeled down.


DeSoto had foregone the EOA for an endotracheal tube.

"Stoker, why don't you take over on the O2? Thanks,

Officer Palmer.." he read from the man's name tag.


"No problem." The officer stood back to begin his

incident report, allowing the more experienced firefighter

engineer to take over the task.




Hank noticed Dixie McCall bundled up on her chair.

"So much for the day off, eh?" he grinned for her benefit.

"Nothing like a little excitement to liven up an afternoon."


Dixie just coughed at Stanley's encouraging humor

while avoiding the bright sun beating down on

her from his direction.


She felt a glove on her shoulder that made her jump.


"You ok there, Dixie?" Cap asked. "Sorry. I didn't

mean to startle you."


Dixie afforded the helmeted captain a smile.

"I'm fine. Just a little worried."


"About what?"


"About him." she gestured with her head.

"If we can't get that airway in......"




A weak, choking jolt upset Roy's positioned

laryngoscope and the paramedic yanked it out

to prevent a sudden mouth injury. "Marco, keep

up that cricoid pressure, whatever you do. Johnny!"


"I'm on it! Rampart, our victim's seizures are worsening.

So's his color."


##Have you established that ET tube yet?##


"That's negative, doc. We're experiencing some jaw

clenching." Johnny sighed in frustration.


##Knock him out, 51, for a rapid sequence induction.

Point one mg's of Vecuronium IV push. That'll paralyze him

enough for you to get one inserted. Know that you'll be

completely responsible afterwards for maintaining his

airway with adequate ventilations.##


Roy, next to Johnny, gulped.


"10-- uh, 10-4, Rampart." Gage affirmed. "RSI

with .1 mg's Vecuronium IVP."





Stoker spoke up suddenly. "Gage! Laryngospasm!

I'm getting in nothing now."


"What?!" Johnny felt around Marco's Sellick hold.

He felt a foreboding rock stiff hardness surrounding

Ger's adam's apple. "Roy, ...positive on that...

Obstruction's total!"


"Rampart, standby... We've a fully obstructed airway."

DeSoto dropped the phone.


##Push the Vecuronium, now! Double it if you have to!##

commanded Kel. ## The increase may help your clearing



Johnny straddled the dripping immobilized teen while Kelly

hastily undid just the abdominal straps of the longboard,

allowing Gage access to Ger's lower abdomen. The paramedic

delivered four sharp upward thrusts under the teenager's diaphragm

with both hands while Stoker and Chet pinned the boy's head

and neck still.


Roy sent the muscle paralyzer into Ger's high flowing I.V.

and hung it dangling on the fence. "It's in. Is it working?"

he looked to Mike Stoker.


The engineer shook his head and demonstrated the 02

gushing out around the mask quickly with some triggering.


Johnny tried a few more abdominal thrusts. Then he

scrambled to Ger's head with a long shafted pair of

Magil forceps in his teeth. He used a jaw screw to open

the shaking teen's mouth to get at the deeper part of his

throat. The lengthy, scissors like instrument was guided

down, but stopped short only along half its usable length.

Gage grimaced as he probed, biting onto a pen light

so he could see what he was doing. "There's nothing

here, Roy. I'm not seeing any vocal cords. It's gotta

be just a laryngospasm. These aren't threading down."

he said of his Magil forceps.


DeSoto nodded, licking dry lips. "Second dose then,



Gage nodded, backing off so Stoker could use

the demand valve yet again.


Roy injected a small orange labelled syringe into

the rubber intravenous delivery port deftly. "It's in!"


Stoker and Johnny struggled to offset the teenager's

cyanosis with some chest rise, but they were

unsuccessful, no matter what they thought to try.




In the base station, Brackett eyed the running EKG strip

and became ansy. He had to force himself not to interrupt

his hard-at-work men just for an update.




A dragging minute passed under the firemen's

sweaty exertions. Then Stoker detected a relaxing

jaw. "He's loose.." and then he started to force as many

feebly reaching ventilations as he could into the boy's

lungs. He kept it up until the ominous dark blue began to

fade from Ger's face and lower extremities.


Johnny snatched up the abandoned endotracheal tube

that Roy had left on the teenager's chest and said,

"Hyperventilate him a minute more, Mike. Then move



Stoker nodded.


Roy lifted the phone. "Rampart, our victim's still

partially obstructed and we can't find what it is.

The paralytic agent's beginning to work, but we're getting

vents into him only with difficulty. Johnny's attempting

another intubation. Both the boy's work of breathing and

his seizures, are now absent." Roy reported, seeing

a quiet, fully drugged stillness, settle over his patient.


Kel let out the breath he was holding. ##Avoid any

stimulus that'll trigger V-fib. He's sensitive to that



Gage accidently poked the back of Ger's soft palate

with the ET tube as he was visualizing for his vocal



Roy's head shot up when the EKG monitor warbled

an arrythmia alarm. "Brady! Back off, Johnny!"


Gage froze and yanked out the tube, digging for

a carotid artery in the boy's neck with his other hand.

"...Stupid!  ..I'm ...stupid...." he grunted.


DeSoto flew to the open drug case when the

boy's cardiac rate continued to sink into the forties.



## I see it, 51. Point five milligrams Atropine. Speed

him back up again. What I'm seeing here, is vaso vagal

in origin. It's not an adverse Vecuronium reaction.##


The betablocker soon boosted Ger's heartrate back up

into the low, irregular seventies. Everyone sighed in relief.


## D/C trying the endotrach. I'm authorizing an immediate

needle cricothyrotomy.## Brackett went on..


Gage tossed the ET tube aside.


##....Set up your supplies. Have your head man keep

hyperventilating your victim as best he can. Roy,

you've told me in the past that you've done one of

these before ..in Nam. You've got the ball once again.##


"10-4, Rampart." Roy replied back, wiping sweat off his lip.


Johnny was a pure professional. He wasn't offended in

the least for being asked to step down during a primary

treatment action. He wanted a resolution to the problem

too badly to even care. He un-papered an adapter to a

7.5 mm sized ET tube, a 10 ml syringe, and a 14 gauge

needle catheter.


Reaching down, he slid a finger on a free hand over the hard

thyroid cartilage running down the midline of Ger's throat until

he found the soft depression of the cricoid membrane. "Ok,

Marco. Keep his trachea from moving around and put

one fingertip,.....here.." And he guided Marco's index finger

to a precise spot on the teenager's sweaty skin. "Mark

that landmark and don't lose it.."


"Believe me, I won't..." Lopez admitted eagerly.


"Ok, Roy. We're ready for you." Johnny said looking

up, screwing together the puncture lancet."Lopez has

got the trachea splinted." Then Gage handed the whole

rigging over to his much calmer partner.


DeSoto spoke. "Johnny, could you draw up a mil of

water into the syringe for me, please? I gotta trick

I like to use."


Johnny nodded. "Stoker, is he adequately oxygenated yet?"

he said, filling Roy's needle with a pull of its plunger into

another unused, sterile IV bag.


"As best as he's able. His pupils are still reacting but he's

a little too cold now to judge by his color."


Gage fitted the syringe back into place into the guiding

shaft, curious as to what purpose Roy was going to use

it for. ::Not for med absorption into the lungs, Kel hasn't

ordered any ET drugs yet.:: he thought.


DeSoto took over pressing a finger on the landmark Marco

was guarding. Then he moved his fingertip just enough to

place the point of the needle directly over the membrane

he could feel. He angled the syringe, end down at

a forty five towards Ger's feet, and advanced the needle

into the skin, all the while aspirating the plunger upwards

with his pinky and ring fingers. He stopped instantly when

the upward welling suctioning drew up pearling air bubbles.

He smiled. "I'm in the trachea.." he announced.


Roy slid a 3mm endo tube catheter inside the syringe and

threaded it until it was well into the air passage below,

angled downwards. He withdrew the long needle, passing

it off to Cap to dispose of into the sharps bin.


Johnny flew into action once again. "Ah, now I see what the

water was for.." he said, listening to the teen's chest as

DeSoto fitted the ET adapter's  syringe and catheter's end

onto a high flow oxygen circulating ambu bag. "A better visual."


"Yep." DeSoto blinked.


Lopez helped Roy tape the inserted tenuous airway to

Ger's throat amply and then he took sole charge of

stabilizing it with both hands so that it didn't budge

a single centimeter out of place.


"You're pure cement, Marco." Gage ordered.


"Solid, man. This is going nowhere." he said,

watching Stoker rapidly make up for lost

ventilating time. "How's he doing now?" the

hispanic fireman asked, marveling at the heavy

bag's ability to work through such a slender tube.


Johnny took the listening ports of the stethoscope

out of his ears. "He's got minimal chest rise. But it's

enough to keep him alive until we get to the hospital.

Nice work, pal." he grinned. "Thanks everyone."


"Mike, I'll break you." Roy said. "I know just how

to get the most inside without distension happening.

It's a narrow band force of pressure with this sized catheter.

It's just like a newborn's.."


"I'll learn it for next time.." said Stoker as he traded places

with DeSoto.


Johnny picked up the phone. "Rampart, we have an airway.."


##Congratulations, guys. Now get him in here. I want a vitals

set every five minutes in route. Keep vigilant for good or bad

lung sounds, any sign of expanding hematomas, or subcutaneous

air under the skin. ##


"10-4. We're on our way, Rampart. The ambulance has just

arrived.." Gage said with a smile.


That smile fell away when Dixie McCall suddenly sagged

backwards from where she was seated out of her blanket.

She tumbled limply into the pool when Hank Stanley failed

to catch her in time. "Dixie?!" Johnny yelled.




Cap started to get out of his turnout and helmet to go

after her when Gage shouted. "I got her!" He swan dived

into the shallows.


Very quickly, Dixie McCall was conveyed to the surface

and to the edge by many hands. She was lifted up, set

onto the ground and rolled onto her back.


"Dix?" Johnny shook her firmly, monitoring her carotid.

He wiped streaming water away from her nose and

mouth as she began coughing and moaning.


McCall was almost as white as her alabaster swimsuit.


"She's ok.." Gage told the others. Stoker jogged over

with the engine's O2 apparatus. "I think this's just an

episode of syncope, she's waking up already." he

said. "Let's move her to one of those chairs and

get her wrapped up before you start her on that Mike."





Roy looked up from where he and Marco were

still watching and working on Ger. "Johnny?! What's

the problem?"


"I don't know yet!" he shouted, letting Stoker, Cap

and Kelly transfer Dixie from the concrete to a

head raised sunchair. "Let me check her out."

he coughed. "Keep packaging him for transport.

I'll call a second ambulance for her if I have to."


Cap reaffirmed Johnny's plan, setting an oxygen

mask over McCall's nose and mouth. "That's

gonna be the call."  He waved on Stoker to notify

L.A. of their need for an additional Mayfair or

Cadillac. "I don't like her breathing rate. It's labored."


"Umm hmm, something's definitely going on here.."

Johnny agreed. "Dix, can you hear me?"


She didn't answer past a few groans.


Chet Kelly continued to try to get a legible verbal

response out of the nurse while Johnny got a B/P

off her arm.


The children were scared but they stayed out of the

way, remaining maturely silent.


Gage saw that Roy was ready to go. "You keep

the biophone."


"She stable?"


"Yeah. Her B/P's no longer low. Take Marco with you for

that airway support. Kelly can follow me in the squad

later after the other ambulance gets here."


Roy was a bulldog. "Use a landline, ok? The kids can

bring out a phone to you for you to use for her." DeSoto

said, shuffling along behind the gurney leading attendants,

carrying the defibrillator and the drug box.


"I know. I know.. Just go already. The sooner you leave,

the sooner I'll find out some answers on her. Don't

worry...I'll contact ya on HT as soon as I find out anything."

Gage grumbled.


"No, I'll do that.." Cap promised.


"All right." Roy replied, waving the ambulance men

on again. "I'm going..."


Johnny paid no more attention to him as Ger was carted

off Code Three to Rampart Hospital.



Cap and Johnny turned back from watching Roy

hustle away to find Chet inexplicably armed with a mug

of steaming coffee, which he was waving underneath Dixie's

nose near the O2 mask on blow by so that she could

smell it.


Dixie sputtered, shifting her head from side to side.


"Kelly, cut that out this instant!" Hank boomed.


Gage gave out an exasperated shout of mild disgust and he grabbed

the cup away from Kelly. "Chet, would you knock it off!? Where did you

get such a crazy idea in the first place?!" he demanded, gently

replacing the mask as McCall's eyes fluttered open.


"From them.." Chet shrugged.


"Yeah," said the oldest child standing nearby. "It was my idea.

We do this coffee trick all the time when Miss McCall won't wake

up after sunbathing. She told us to so she wouldn't ever be late

for work."


"Well kids, I hate to break it to ya, but today is Dixie's DAY ..OFF!

Thanks for all your help. We got it from here. Now, sCRAMMM!"

Gage exploded.


The children, all three dogs,..and the caretaker's cat, took fright

and all of them ran away as fast as they could with screams, barks

and a yowl.


"That wasn't very smart." Hank interjected when the noise died away.


"Huh?" Gage double taked. "Why not? They're out of our hair..Unlike

some people.." he glared at Chet.


"We don't have our outside phone yet, you twit." Cap said, smacking

Johnny lightly on the back of the head for emphasis on the word, "twit."


"I'll get it." said Stoker. "I think I remember a phone being in the pool

party hut from last year. It most likely has a cord on it long enough to

reach us.."


Johnny didn't even hear him. "I'm not the twit. Chet's the twit.. Geesh,

Cap. Think about it. Reviving someone with coffee fumes? Now I've

seen it all."  He kept glaring at Kelly. "Just what were you thinking?"

he asked Chet sarcastically.


"It worked, didn't it? She's almost speaking." Chet countered.

"At least java's kinder on the old nostrils than an ammonia capsule.

I should know. You've used enough of em on me as the Phantom

in the middle of the night when I was still sleeping..."


Hank just rolled his eyes and asked L.A. for the ETA on Dixie's



"No...ambulance.." coughed Dixie, sitting a little straighter in

her chair. A flush of growing embarrassment was staining her cheeks

and erasing all of her remaining questionable clinical signs red tagging

problems. "I'm......fine, fellas. Really!" she protested, peeling off her

oxygen firmly. 'I'm awake, I'm aware.. I know who I am, where I am and

what happened....I'm not going anywhere.." she hissed with a little of

her normal heavy guns tone. "If I see that hospital one more time this

week, I'll rip all my hair out for sure.." she promised.


Johnny tossed his paramedic's notepad that he had been

writing in over a shoulder and threw his hands up, rubbing his face

in exasperation. "I don't believe this is happening, Cap.." he whined.

"We gotta get her t--"


Hank held up his palms. "Now, Gage, you know the law as well as

I do. The little lady's obviously fully cognizant enough, legally, to decide

what's best for hers----"


"Little lady?!" Dixie fumed.


Hank shrank in his overcoat. "Sorry. Poor choice of words? To me,

everybody's little." commented the lanky fire captain sheepishly.

"I apologize if I offended you but the important thing right now

is finding out whether or not you're really ok. We can hash over

how this is being handled afterwards, all right?"


Dixie drew up a glare. "Cancel that Mayfair, Hank. I have a cold....

That's all." she said dangerously.


Cap felt the back of his neck smoking from the strength of her

ire. "Ok.. canceling. ." he said reasonably and fully respectful

of her wish to end the medical call. "Gage, she's allllll yoourrsss."


"Thanks, Cap.." Johnny was thrilled. Not.


"Kelly," Cap barked. "...let's give them a little earshot distance.

Come on, pal.."


"Aww, Cap. I wanna stay and help out.." Chet whined.


"Now, Chet!" Stanley snapped.


"...coming..." Kelly peeped.


The two firemen packed up the O2 and turned for the direction

of the Ward just as Mike Stoker came panting up with the private

phone rigged onto a bright orange extension cord. "I got it..

Hang on while I dial o--"


Stanley didn't even bother to turn around. "Jolly well. The

gang's all here. Now put it back. I guess she's a refusal, Stoker."




"Is there something wrong with your ears or mine, Mike." Cap



"Mine, Cap." Stoker bellied up.


"Fine. Clean up this mess around here and cancel the second

ambulance while you're at it." He began to tromp away. "Oh,"

he said, retracing his tracks. "You're deaf to those two for the

next minute or so.." he said tossing a hand at Dixie and Gage.


"I sure will be.." chirped Stoker, recognizing a pending bit of

paramedic hardball to come when he saw it. He stooped only

long enough to use a water puddle to wash off some blood

after he had policed the area free of medical run fallout. Then

he was gone, with Cap being his bigger shadow.



Gage willfully stopped drumming his frustrated fingernails on the

arm of Dixie's poolside chair. He laced his hands together in an

unconvincing show of amenability. "Ok.." he smiled, falsely fake.

"Now where were we?" he purred, ..tightly.


"Talking about how normal I am right now.." Dixie said, crossing

her arms together.


"I wouldn't call keeling over backwards into a swimming

pool in a dead faint, quite normal, Dixie. Quite the opposite."

he growled.


"Look..." Dixie purred, just as deadly serious. "I just got

done with twenty five solid minutes of aggressive, rapid CPR."

Would you still be normal after doing that?" she fired back at him.


Johnny gaped like a fish, then he pursed his lips, scratching

his head. "Well...." he admitted, his voice sliding up a few notes

on a scale. 'I-- uh, I'll give you that...... particular point."


"Good! Then go away cause I'm telling you, I'm perfectly--"

Dixie sneezed and immediately, she gasped, grabbing

her stomach.


"Oh, really?" Gage moved in for the kill. "That was normal,

eh?.. Come on, Dix. Let me see your stomach!" Johnny said,

reaching out for palpating check.


McCall whipped up the blanket to her chin, deflecting

Johnny's hands as she resumed her angry stare.

"Touch me, and I swear I'll bite your hand off!

Today is gonna be all MINE!" she yelled, barely

keeping it below a quiet roar.






"Is there a problem here?" came an authoritative



Both the battling Dixie and Gage looked up, kinda

startled for a moment. They had forgotten about

the cop being there. And his report.



"Nope. Not at all." they both stuttered.


"We're through.." said Dixie firmly.

Johnny said the same words, meekly obedient. "We're through,

officer.. uh,...I guess.."


"Okay, then you wouldn't mind if I go over a few

details with Miss McCall here about the Miller boy.

That's if.. you found that she's still medically ABLE to.."

the police officer hinted.


"I AM." Dixie punctuated, dismissing Johnny with

a wave.


Johnny cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Go right

ahead, officer." Gage postured, backing away and

wrapping up his stethoscope.


He fired off one last glare at her when the cop wasn't looking.

"You call us back if ANY of those symptoms return. Understood?!"

he hissed, stabbing down a finger at the air. That gesture

immediately turned into a farewell wave when the police man

glanced up at Johnny with a disapproving raised eyebrow.


Dixie celebrated. "Mother's keeper.." And then she stuck out

her tongue at him. "In...your....dreams..."



So, having chalked up one save and another one as unresolved,

Station 51 tucked their tails back between their legs and

left the neighborhood. The engine returned to base as unavailable

and the squad remained 10-7 to Rampart until everyone was

freed up from their mutual responsibilities.


Gage continued to pore over Dixie's symptoms.


"Maybe I should let one of the docs know about her." he mumbled

to Chet on the way back.


"I wouldn't if I were you. You still have to WORK with Dixie later on,

man. Do you really want to face her once she's over that cold

of hers?"






It was an hour later, not long after the Miller boy had been

stabilized cardiac wise from respiratory acidosis. He had gone

on to Broncoscopy for a thorough check on the extent of the

alveoli damage that he sustained from his aspiration of

chlorinated pool water into both his lungs.


Kel was very happy with the teenager's labwork, C spine

and chest x-ray films. He was being kept under the paralytic

agent to thwart another surprise occurance of intubation

laryngospasm. The boy had been reunited with his family

and things looked good on the EEG. Dr. Brackett was almost

certain that no brain damage took place while he had been

arrested. ::Helps that someone was there to work on his resuscitation

so quickly.:: he theorized. ::My gut feeling on his neurological status

will just be confirmed when he wakes up tomorrow morning.::


That line of thinking reminded Kel yet again of his short,

revealing conversation with Roy DeSoto about Dixie McCall.


The four firemen from 51's had gone back to the station as soon

as they were freed from the Miller kid's care and paperwork,

jammed together in the rescue squad.  He had wished that

he could've talked to Johnny Gage directly about his head nurse's

symptomatic findings, but he had been too tied up with his

teenaged patient's surgical intubation procedure.


Kelly Brackett excused himself from the Emergency Department

floor, letting Carol know that he'd be in his office for a few minutes.

His simple nod and gesture toward its ornately polished dark oaken

door guaranteed that Carol would indeed notify him the moment

another patient case announced itself either by paramedic biophone

or via the waiting room.


The babble of hospital activity was mercifully muffled when he

shut the door behind himself. Kel Brackett immediately went

to the olive green phone on the desk.


His fingers danced over a familar sequence of numbers on

the rotary dial and he impatiently sat through four telephone

rings before he finally heard a sleepy voice pick up. "Dix?

It's Kel." he began. "Talk to me."


He heard a tired groan on the other end of the line followed by

a tight cough and a rustling of blankets when McCall's gravelly

voice finally addressed him. "...hmm. Kel? For Pete's sake, what

time is it?"


"Time for your attending physician to get some answers pronto."

he said firmly. "Just what were you thinking when you sent the

paramedics away following your little stunt nose diving into

your apartment complex's swimming pool?"


In a point assuredly in her favor in Dr. Brackett's book, Dixie

McCall immediately got angry. "Give me one good reason why

I shouldn't hang up on you right now, Kel Brackett. I was sleeping

soundly for the first time in..."


"Roy DeSoto. He was worried enough about you to let me know

what had happened to you in the Treatment Room after your neighbor

was brought in." Brackett fired back.


"That b*st*rd!" and there was a silence on the other end of the phone.

" Whatever happened to patient/paramedic confidentiality?! I didn't know

Johnny Gage was such an irritating example of a gossiping SOB!"


"Pipe down! He only did his job like any paramedic worth his salt

should've done. He notified his attending medical director of a potential

medical problem. The fact that he did it through his partner's a moot point

and you know it."


Dixie quieted down, thinking of her unexpected rescue victim. "How's

Ger doing?" she asked, sitting up in bed, smothering up a wince so

it wouldn't be apparent vocally.


The lamp turning on in her darkened bedroom did more than just stab into her eyes.

It brought on the mother of all headaches and a wave of unexpected

deep nausea which the nurse fought down by putting a hand to her mouth.


She bore through Kel's ire bravely.


"I'll get to Gerald Miller as soon as I know that YOU'RE all right. If you

were symptomatic enough to red flag Roy and Johnny, you automatically

red flag me. So again, I say, talk to me.." he said no nonsense.


Dixie sighed, pulling a waste can full of used tissue and half eaten cough

drops into her lap. "There isn't much to say, Kel. What's so unusual about

having a stomach virus?"


"When did that come on?"


"Yesterday morning at work."


"What are your symptoms and vital signs?"


"Oh come off it, Kel. Quit being a mother hen.  I'm not a hypochondriac

to take notes on every little incidence of the sniffles."


"Humor me."


"Kel....no." she spat tightly. "This is my day off, and it's gonna stay that way.

We're not going to be getting together over dinner tonight. No police officer's

gonna stop by for more details on Ger's drowning. And no pesky off duty

paramedic is gonna come calling to my front door. Nada. End of story.

I know my rights as an ex-emergency medical patient."


"What about my rights as your closest friend? Does that matter any?

Forget about my white coat, Dix. That and my stethoscope are still

hanging up on the hat rack across the room!" he boomed.


McCall sighed, resting her head onto her bare knees. "I'm sorry, Kel.

I get cranky with colds. When I get them.." she bemoaned.


"Oh, so now you're telling me that you've got a cold and not a stomach

bug. Which is it?"


"I don't know.. and I don't care. All I want is twenty four hours uninterrupted

down time as is due me on my off day. Is that such an unreasonable request?

The fact that Ger Miller's accident interceded has absolutely no bearing on

the issue!"


"You're right, Dix. It doesn't." Kel agreed rapidly, toning down the frustration

in his voice. "And thank you for being there. He's gonna make it with flying





"None. His films are clear."




"There're no signs. You guys were absolutely amazing with keeping him

one hundred percent oxygenated. Just be grateful to Brantigan and Grow for

Roy's military needle cric technique that he so kindly shared with me during

the last paramedics meeting. Miller's already been decannulated and

there's no indication of any subglottic stenosis at all. Now enough about him."


"Kel, read my lips, or at least listen to them. Go away. I'm fine. I'll call

you after sundown in an update. Just keep Johnny and Roy outta my hair

tonight and I'll think about staying your best friend. Good night or good

afternoon and good riddance!" and she slammed her elegant white and

gold Victorian phone receiver down and cut off the connection.


Kel Brackett winced at the vigorous slam of noise into his ear. He

held the phone in his palm for a few seconds, half considering calling

Dixie back again. :: Do I have the right to bother her any more? She

sounds like she knows what she's doing. And I'll get my second phone

call in five hours.:: he thought, looking at his watch.


McCall barely made it to the bathroom in time before vomiting and

suffering a bout of miserable diarrhea. "Oh, god I hate the flu bug.."

she groaned. Long minutes later, wet from the shower and naked,

Dixie crawled back into bed and pulled the covers over her head.


Making a decision, Dr. Brackett decided candor was the better part of

valor and he dialed the number out to Station 51.




"Los Angeles County Fire Department, this is Fireman Mike Stoker.

Can I help you?" Mike glanced up, "Gage. It's for you. It's Brackett."


"It is?" he said, his mouth full of burger. "It's about time I heard from

him. Roy, did I ever tell you I love you for spilling the beans about Dix's

little fainting stunt to him?"


"No. But I think you can refrain from expressing yourself. Joanne

might get a little jealous." DeSoto quipped.


Johnny jogged to the phone, dodging around all the gangs' shoulders

in his hurry to cut physical corners to reach the doctor. "Dr. Brackett?

Johnny Gage."


"Gage. I talked with her."




"And...there's nothing more I can do at the moment. She's adamant about

refusing to see me or any other doctor for her illness."


"That's sheer craziness, doc." Johnny said, spitting out his mouthful of

burger into a napkin. "She's gotta be seen sometime. You weren't there.

I was. She was paler than anything once I rolled her face out of the



"Did she breathe any of that in?"


"No. She woke up too fast for that."


"Did her BP stay bottomed out?"


"No. It got back up into the low hundreds."


"And that was sitting up, right?"


"Yeah, doc. Look. Now you know as much as I do. So

bottom line. Are ya gonna do anything about her?"


"I can't. Not by law."


"I'm going over there."


"No you aren't. You'll only get hauled off for

trespassing. Dixie mentioned something to that effect."


Gage threw up his hands. "Wonderful. Now how are we gonna

have any guarantees that she's all right?"


"I sort of got one."


"How...?" Gage asked sarcastically.


"She's gonna call me at sundown with an update."


"Fair enough. I'll call off Roy, too, from going over there only so

long as we hear from you as soon as you hear from her."


"Consider that a promise."


"Thanks, doc."


"No problem. I'll hear from you next rescue call. I got

the floor from lunch time through the rest of the night."


"Bye, Doctor Brackett. Talk to you then."


Johnny hung up the phone.


He wandered back over to his chair and sat down,

ignoring the bowl of potato salad that Chet pushed over

to his end of the table to cheer him up.


Cap inquired finally. "So, how's she doing? Is she gonna

get checked out?"




Roy looked up from his lunch. "You're kidding."


"Wish I was, pally. Kel just made me promise that

you and I won't stop by over there in between calls."


"On the strength of what guarantee?!" Chet whined.


"On the fact that Dixie's promised to keep phone tabs with

him every couple of hours."


"And Kel Brackett bought that line of malarkey?" Cap

sighed sarcastically.


"Yep." Johnny said, balling up his napkin and tossing

it onto his plate in irritation.


Roy had some input. "You know, fellas, this could be a case of

personal feelings getting in the way. Those two did date once

you know. Maybe they're dating again. It could explain the doc's

lack of medical bulldog tenacity because it concerns someone

he truly cares about. He doesn't want to offend her."


"That's just stupid, Roy. If you were Dixie right now, being sick

and all, stepping on eggshells is the last thing I'd be doing

about you. I'd be busting down your door with a full med kit."

Johnny interjected loudly.


"I don't think it'll come to that." DeSoto grinned reasonably.

"After all, Dixie's a veteran registered nurse of twenty years.

She'd never let an illness go on untreated if it were truly serious."


"I'm still not comfortable." Gage said, narrowing his eyes.


"Neither am I." said Chet, fully in agreement. "I think we should

go around the both of them and let Joe Early in on this. No one

will be held accountable if he's the one who suddenly shows up

on Dixie's doorstep. He's gotta go over there tonight anyway."


"How so, Kelly?" Marco asked.


"To deliver a box of tickets for the Fireman's Annual Picnic

Event. Dixie's one of the primary sellers this year since Gage

didn't come forward and volunteer himself for it like he did

for last year's."


"Why should I have? I'm a rotten seller." Johnny defended.


"Ummm hmm, but you're too good a paramedic not to

meddle with a friend who might be in trouble and I'm too

good a fireman to let someone burn themselves unnecessarily.

I'm gonna go call Joe right now." he said, getting up. "Look, you

two have done your job, and so has Dr. Brackett. It's now my

turn to go to bat. Calling Joe'll only take a minute. Excuse me.

And Gage, if you touch my burger, you're dead meat.."

Chet warned as he dialed the phone without turning around.


The others laughed when Johnny snatched his creeping hand 

back into his lap.


Roy leaned over the table. "This sorta compromises the patient

paramedic confidentiality thing. You feel good about Chet

getting Dr. Early involved, Cap?"


"You bet your *ss I do. Somebody's gotta take a stand. Cause who's

gonna watch out for Dixie's, if we don't?" Hank replied, biting into a

potato chip.








Dixie McCall awoke to a full darkness, broken

only by the pale moonlight streaming in through

the lacy curtains of her bedroom window. Her bleary

fever dry eyes, made out the time on her nightstand

clock.  00:38.  She tried to move, in a reach for a

half full, luke warm water glass, when the sharp belly pain

doubled her up making her grab around both knees,

in a surge of choking nausea.


"Owww..." she moaned. "Ok, enough's enough.." she

grunted, half sobbing. She hugged herself under the

blankets in suffering, burning agony. "I give up. I give in.

I'm going to see a doctor. I promise....Just...just

ease up and let me dress." she said to her stomach.


Her belly pain, had moved. It was now pinpointed, in a

spot between her right hip bone and her navel.


She frowned, unable to make the significant connection

with that new finding. Her mind was too muddled.


Dixie had pulled on pants over her pajama shorts and had

snatched up her car keys from the dresser,

when the pain toppled her onto the rug.


She lay there, curled in a ball, soundless, as wave after

wave of pure agony swept over her. Her bedroom

furniture and the moonlit ceiling blurred. "No, not gonna

black out. Oh, boy. Kel's never gonna forgive me for

trying to wait it out." she cried, leaking tears of misery.


Dixie crawled trembling fingers across the rug until they

reached the phone cord trailing from the Victorian receiver on

her nightstand. With a jerk, she pulled the phone down

from the table. It clattered in a tangle of cord around

her head. "...ohhh..hhh..." McCall moaned, dragging

the phone and its hand held receiver to her face.


She dialed seven numbers, leaving the phone tipped

over sideways, out to the only number she could remember



A male voice came on the other end of the line, questioning,

and concerned, when Dixie didn't answer.


Dixie passed out close to the receiver, where her strained

breathing could be heard clearly, in fevered distress.


The time was 00:51.



From:  "wone3" 

Date:  Wed Oct 27, 2004  1:40 pm

Subject:  The Call out


The number Dixie remembered and dialed was Station 51 and

she had been really lucky as the whole station was just returning

from a vacant house fire with no injuries to be transported that had

occupied all of them for the last hour or so.


Mike Stoker had just pulled the engine in place and raced to pick up

the phone beating Captain Stanley to it.


He heard the distressed breathing on the other end and when he tried

to get the person to talk, he received no answer from the other

end. "Can you please tell me who you are? " he said into the phone.


Suddenly, Johnny realized that they hadn't heard anything about Dixie

since being called out for the coaster incident. "Do you think it is

her?" he said aloud. "Ask the person if it is Dixie." he said.


Mike called into the phone, "Dixie, Miss McCall is that you?" He

heard a quiet groan on the other end.


Roy, who was right beside the receiver heard the groan, too, and grew

concerned that it might be Dixie.


Roy called over to the Captain, "Cap, can you call us in a silent

alarm for Dixie's place? We should go check it out to be sure. Could

you also call over to the hospital? Doctors Brackett and Early will

want to know what's going on, we promised to keep them in the loop as

they promised us."


Cap reassured them that the docs would be called as he hurried to

call the alarm into dispatch. "Dispatch this is Station 51, calling

in a silent alarm for squad 51 to 213 Elm Street, Apartment 6."


Dispatch answered, ##10-4…. Squad 51, time out, 00:51.##


Captain answered, "10-4, KMG 365." He went over to the squad with

the call slip as the guys were waiting in it. Marco ran over to open the

bay door for the squad to exit.


Cap told the guys, "Be careful, but get there quickly. We'll make the

call. If you need to take her in, you can stay available from the

hospital. Call us once you find out anything though, OK?"


Both Johnny and Roy echoed, "We will, Cap, and thanks." They

then sped out of the bay on a speed trip to Dixie's apartment.









From: "Patti Keiper" 


On the way, with lights and siren running, Roy DeSoto

had a thought. "Johnny, do you think we'll need PD for

this call? We might freak out a lot of Dixie's neighbors

if we force our way into her place without alerting em

ahead of time."


Johnny let out a big sigh, crumpling up the address slip.

"It is the middle of the night, and you know how we need

the police for most of our other calls like this. I'll raise em

on the horn." said Gage with a nod.  He lifted the mic,

"L.A., this is Squad 51."


##Go ahead, 51.##


"Send out a squad car to our silent alarm's location. We may

need official authorization for a break in." he said and then he

hung up the microphone head onto its spigot.


##10-4, 51. LAPD says their ETA is fifteen minutes.##


"What?!" Johnny said in exclamation. "That's sheer craziness!

What if Dixie's condition's serious? We can't wait that long just

hanging about outside her patio...." he empathized out loud

as he listened to L.A. notifiy a police patrol car about their

medical emergency private home entry request.


Roy said. "If we can't see her in the window, that's what

we're gonna haveta do, junior. A phone line with a history

of heavy breathing doesn't mean a life or death situation."


"But it doesn't negate it either." Gage said, very unhappy,

as he clunked a jacketted elbow down on the open edge

of his passenger window. "You told me you and Stoker

definitely heard a groan on that line."


"It IS near Halloween, Johnny."


"Yeah, but why would kids prank call a firehouse? Usually

kids think we're really cool and...leave us alone." Gage



"I can think of half a dozen crank calls B shift's had over the

last two months that started up just like this one."

Roy just shrugged. "We'll have at least some answers

in...." he looked at his watch in the glow of the bar lights

reflecting off the squad's hood. "....four minutes....."


"I got a better idea....." Johnny said with a finger snap.


"What?" Roy asked, glancing away from the road.


Johnny picked up the radio mic again.




Engine 51 roared off the freeway ramp and pulled up behind

the squad in front of Dixie's apartment complex. The noise

of her arriving Code Three woke up everyone within ear shot

to a distance of two hundred yards.


"Is this your idea of a brilliant idea?" DeSoto asked Gage

while they wound through the night clothed crowd of people,

now milling about the pool area, fully loaded with gear.


"Yeah..." Johnny grinned. "Now we have witnesses..."

"And Cap's just as concerned about that phone call

as we are. He's not gonna yell. Not in the slightest."


"You're right about that." Roy considered. "It's not like

it's a busy night for firehouse calls. Being available here

or at the station's pretty much the same thing I guess."


"Exactly.." Johnny said.


As they neared apartment six, the gang piled out

and went immediately to the front entryway to ring

the doorbell while Roy and Johnny covered the back

patio facing the moonlit pool to see what they could see.


Johnny upped his ante. "Would someone turn on the lights

out here? We gotta see what we're doing!" he shouted to

the babbling, gossiping crowd of residents around them.


The off hours overhead suddenly kicked on over the

party hut at the far end of the pool, lighting their way

through the thick palms and bushes surrounding Dixie's



"Thank you!" shouted Roy. Then he mumbled. "Geesh,

talk about an abundance of bystander help."


Johnny's HT came to life in his jacket pocket. He

pulled it out. It was Cap. ##No answer at the front door

at the bell or with the knocker. And we've no windows

to look inside. How about on your end?##


"Still getting there. I wouldn't say Dixie's a premiere..."

he grunted as he forced O2 tank and com box through

the hedges.." gardening type. It's a sheer jungle over

here, but we're getting there." Johnny told Hank.


"She does like her privacy.." Roy grinned.


Gage sighed and finally his shoes reached the concrete

slab of her patio. "You know, there's another reason

why I used the engine to wake everybody up."


"Why's that?" Roy asked as he, too, fought through

the bushes to join his grinning partner on Dixie's

back yard landing.


A commotion on the sidewalk of fast stepping slippers got

their attention and a thick, hidden ivy covered gate

that neither Roy nor Johnny knew was there, suddenly swung

open onto the patio where they were, revealing a woman in a

robe of quilted pastels with a thick ring of keys in her hand.


"That's why.." Gage pointed at her. "I figured one of these

crowd folks just had to be the land lady.." Johnny said, tilting

his head. "Dragging out the Ward, too, just bettered our

chances in finding her.."


"Will wonders never cease.." Roy sighed with a half smile,

pulling off his helmet. He quickly explained the situation to

the land lady about Dixie McCall.


"Oh, sure.. Here, let me let you in. The poor dear. We all

thought she was just tired from saving Gerald Miller. The

kids saw her go back inside right after you fellas left."


Johnny was still peeking through the windows, shining his

flashlight. He couldn't see anything. "Thanks, Ma'am, for

coming. You see, the cops are delayed a bit. And this can't



"No, of course it can't.." said the landlady. "Here you go boys.

Can I come in? I'll be your entry witness.." she volunteered.


"That's what we had in mind, Ma'am.." Johnny said as

the landlady opened the glass patio door with a flick of

a long skeleton key.


Roy and Johnny immediately went inside, shouting Dixie's

name. The landlady trailed behind and turned on the lights

for them.


"She's not in here.." said Roy, leaving the bathroom.

"Looks like she's been vomiting." he said about an

unflushed toilet. "Some diarrhea, too." He flushed it

away after Johnny had a look at it.


Johnny let in Cap and the others through the front door

and quickly, the gang cased the living room, den,

the closest bedroom....


Finally, they found her on the carpetting, face down with a

phone receiver in her hand, in the farther one.


"Cap, we'll need an ambulance.." Roy said.


"You got it, pal. I'll be right back."


Johnny unwrapped the phone cord from around Dixie's

body and hung up the phone into its cradle, setting the whole

thing back on the nightstand while DeSoto knelt down, feeling

for a carotid. "Dixie? Can you hear me?"


Together, he and Johnny gently rolled her over onto her left

side from off of her stomach, supporting her head and neck in

a line, carefully, leaving her legs bent up to her stomach as they

checked to see if she was breathing. She was, shallowly.


Dixie just moaned at an arm pinch. "Altered level, Johnny.

Marco," he asked looking up. "..can you get her on some O2?"




"Make it high flow."


Hank returned after his HT call outside and

crouched down, "Can we move her to the bed? It

might make it easier for you two to work."


Johnny got done sweeping Dixie's head, neck and back

for any blood or misalignment. "Yeah, I'm not finding anything

here. She didn't hurt herself falling at least. Her c-spine's clear."


The gang lifted her to the bed with a sheet, leaving

the others pulled down. She was placed onto her back and

Roy and Johnny piled the gear around her after the O2 was

set over her face.


Stoker thought ahead and placed pillows under

Dixie's knees to keep them bent, remembering her

unexpressed pain from earlier in the afternoon.


Cap began a hail out to Rampart while Johnny loosened

Dixie's clothes and pants for breathing's sake and got an initial

set of vital signs. "Chet, see if you can wake her past groaning.

I don't know why she's not conscious yet. The oxygen should've

helped her regain more awareness a full minute ago."


"That's if this is just another syncopal episode." DeSoto said

as he got a blood pressure off of her. His expression changed

into a more serious frown. "78/52. She's real warm, too."







"Sepsis?" Johnny guessed.


"Maybe. Check her abdomen. You remember what happened

to her this afternoon better than I do." DeSoto admitted.


"Not really. She wasn't very revealing." But Johnny checked.

He found mild rigidity in the lower right quadrant and

he heard noisy bowel sounds through his stethoscope.


"Ok." Kelly began talking to McCall loudly. "Come on. Dixie,

can you open your eyes for me? It's Chet Kelly from Station

51. We got your call ok. Everyone's here. Hey, open those

gorgeous peepers of yours and say hello to your house guests.

Millie the land lady's here, too. Johnny, hand me your penlight.

I'll check out her pupils for you."


Gage tossed Chet his light. "What'dya got?"


Kelly reported a finding after a few seconds. "P.e.a.r.l."


"Figures." Johnny huffed in frustration. "Keep at it.

We'll need her talkin to learn anything more."


"And... she's starting to flinch." Chet continued.


"That's a little better. Just don't kiss her. She may get

mad at ya." Johnny said with volume, trying a bad

joke to get any kind of a cognitive reaction out of

the sick nurse.


"Why not? She's pretty enough.." Kelly quipped,

going along, equally loud.


Dixie blinked and then she coughed. And then the

pain returned, full blown. "Oh, guys. I ..thu  you'd nev ...here.."

she moaned, drawing her knees up even higher than

the pillows. "Oh ..gaa ..make it sto-- p p.." she sobbed,

with the emotions hardly reaching her features as much as

it did in her voice.


"Dix?" Johnny asked, "Open your eyes.." he said,

shaking her. "Tell us what's happening.." he

ordered firmly.


She just made a non-sensical noise and shuddered

in a fever chill.


Hank got a reply on the biophone. It was Dr. Morton.

"Stand by, Rampart. I'll pass you off to one of

the paramedics now. We've got a thirty two year old

female with an acute abdomen, non traumatic." he

informed. Then he mouthed the word "Morton" at

his men when they looked up from getting a Normal

Saline I.V. ready.


Roy took the phone. "Rampart. Our victim's semi-conscious.

Non responsive to verbal commands. B/P's 78/52, Pulse's 90.

Her respirations are 20 and shallow and both pupils are equal

and reactive. There's no signs of falling injury but there is evidence

of gastric and intestinal upset with a fever. We found mild guarding

in her lower right quadrant. She's on fifteen liters of O2."


Morton nodded his head and then he pressed the talk button

in the base station. ##Maintain her O2. Start an I.V., 51. Normal

Saline. Administer a 250 to 500 cc's bolus and titrate until her

pressure's at least 90 or better systolic. Then turn it TKO.

Conduct a head to toe survey and get a better neurological

assessment. Look for any abdominal distension or signs

of pulsatile masses. Palpate her flank on the effected side for

any CVA tenderness. Also, draw a red top for analysis. She's

been vomiting and losing digestive material intestinally, so I'm

gonna assume it's been a while since she's eaten anything. Give

her some Dextrose at 50%. 25 gms in an I.V. push. Let's hope her

stuporous state's due to hypoglycemia and that it isn't septic

involvement. 100 mgs Thiamine won't hurt either. In fact, give her

some. And get an oral temperature for me if you can, 51. Monitor

her on EKG for any altered rhythm. Report back to me in two

minutes with any new details. If not, transport her as soon as

possible. ##


"10-4, I.V. Normal Saline titrated to the hemodynamic status

margin minimum. A red top followed by 25 gms Dex50 I.V.,

and 100 mgs Thiamine. EKG check followed by a condition

update and immediate transport."


Millie wanted to know. "What's all that stuff?"


Cap answered, "Salt water and sugar, with one of the B vitamins,

a heartbeat reading, and then a fast ticket outta here."


"Huh...Whatever happened to the good ol smelling salts and

patting the wrists routine? That worked fine in reviving folks

awake in my day.." Millie interjected.


Johnny and Roy just smiled.


They got down to business re-examining Dixie for problems

visually and by feel and found only a few bruises on her palms

from the CPR she had given Ger and a few minor scrapes

on her hips from when she dragged the boy out of the pool.


No masses or pulsations were found anywhere in her abdomen

beyond the rigidity that was just starting to become apparent.


After they had given her a good once over and had connected

Dixie to the heart monitor, they covered her up with a sheet

for warmth.


A minute later, following the energizing Thiamine,

all the sugar and the actively pushed fluid bolus, Dixie finally showed

some mental life. Her eyes  fluttered open. For good measure,

she jerked her hand out of Kelly's concerned one." I heard that

joke, you two nutcases. I just couldn't answer.." she growled.

"Not yet, anyway.  Just how much is all this attention gonna cost

me? I've never needed an ambulance before.."


"Hardly anything and ...we're glad you liked it.." Johnny said.

"And everybody ELSE'S glad that you're conscious. Now you

know the routine. Quit griping and answer my questions already."


Dixie sighed under her O2 mask and lifted her knees a little

higher at a particularly viscious pain stab. "Go.."


"What are your symptoms? We already know about

the fever, diarrhea and the vomiting."


"Abdominal pain. Surprise!"


Roy and Johnny made a face. Chet just laughed.







"Do you have any allergies?"




"Are you on any medications or have you taken anything

for this?"


"None and no."


"What kind of abdominal history do you have? Anything like a

past incarcerated hernia, intussuception, cholecystitis, cystitis,

duodenal ulcers, diverticulitis, abdominal aortic aneurysm,

kidney infections, kidney stones, pancreatitis,

pelvic inflammatory disease...."


Dixie just rolled her eyes at the last one.


"Sorry.. And I know you haven't had any kids recently.."


She glared at Gage indignantly.


"..ever.." he amended self consciously, clearing his throat.


Dixie let him off the look-that-could-kill hook.

"None on all counts, Johnny. All I know is that I hurt.

Horribly. And I'm so hot I feel like I'm gonna die." she

whimpered instead.


"No you're not. Your pressure's sitting at an even 100

now. Up twenty millibars." Roy grinned.


"Speak for yourself. You aren't hurting." she snivelled.


"He could be if you punch him one.." Chet suggested.


"Don't tempt me.." she spat.


Right then, Johnny tested for rebound tenderness over

her stomach and found a definite positive finding

when she shoved his hand away with a sharp intake of

breath and suddenly grew five shades paler. " Uh huh..

And right over McBurney's point, Roy.."


Dixie met both the paramedics' eyes with a blank stare.

"You've got to be kidding. Appendicitis?" she pegged.


"We don't know that and none of us will. Not until after a

battery of testing.." Roy admitted.


"Cap, how long on that ambulance? She's.. VERY..

stabilized now." Gage asked, putting a bored chin into a

hand on an elbow lean.


"Let ME find out for ya, Cap." and Kelly neatly exited the

apartment to avoid the storm to come. "I'll....just.. show them

the way through darkest Africa out here..." he said.


"My garden's not THAT bad! Oww.." Dixie fired back,

doubling over when her shouting irritated her side again.


Gage returned to his questioning. "Last oral intake?"


"Uhh,, I don't remember.." she sighed weakily from the pillows.


Roy rubbed his nose. "Morton called her diminished

LOC right on the nose. Hypoglycemia.."


"Not him, too...?! Ughh!" Dixie denied. "It's bad enough having Kel

and Joe snooping around and finding out about this.." she winced.

"But to have that beside mannerless automaton knowing

about it.."


"Shall I relay that message?" Johnny quirked, holding out

the biophone receiver. "He's listening.."


Dixie paled even further.


"No, he's not. I covered the phone when you started up

about him. Aren't I nice?" Gage sniffed. "Events leading

to your illness?" he continued, scribbling into his note pad.


Dixie sputtered, recovering on all tracks but the physical.

"Let's see, over work, under pay.." she ticked off on her

fingers.. " a tiny head cold and now I've got a big problem

with a certain bunch of real pesky firemen.." she blathered.


Johnny ignored her. "When was the onset of your pain?"


Dixie finally got intimated by the proceedings and started

answering without bristling. "Started mid line bilaterally

around 11 am, right after work, yesterday."


"What provoked it?"


"Moving." she snapped.


"What does it feel like?"




Now it was Roy's turn to roll his eyes.


Now Gage poured on the purest kind of paramedic mule headed

cussedness. "Does it radiate anywhere?" he asked through gritted

teeth, staying outwardly professional beyond that one anomaly.


"Not anymore. You found the X that marks the spot."


Johnny bit his lip. "How severe is it?"




Cap started chuckling and had to amble away.


"Does anything make it better?" Roy tried when

Johnny began boiling.


"Unconsciousness did, Roy, and I got you two to

thank for dragging me kicking and screaming out of it."

Dixie said quite honestly, ripping off her oxygen mask.

"Excuse me, I'm going to go puke.." and she started

to get up.


Both Johnny and Roy.... and Cap... stopped her by

grabbing and laying across her chest, knees and

legs. "You're not going anywhere, Dixie! You've lost

your right to make a judgement call." Hank thundered.


"Who says?!"


"We all do!" Gage shouted. Then he narrowed his eyes

in a challenge. "Let her go, Cap. Roy, you too."

Reaching over, he shut down Dixie's running I.V. to TKO.

"Ok. Prove it."


Dixie eyed Johnny suspiciously. "Prove what?"


"Prove that you're fully medically competent to handle

this health matter..." he said firmly stabbing a finger

down on the bed sheets in between them. "If you can

stand up on your own two feet, without blacking out,"

he said waggling a finger in her face."...all of us will just

pack up.....and we'll leave..."


The silence in the room was palpable.


Dixie's hand snaked over and dialed up the I.V. to a fast

gush in the drip chamber.


"Ah, ah ah.." Johnny said, jerking the tubing out of her hand

and he redialed it back down to TKO. "Without any outside help

or adjunct." he clarified.


Then he pulled her sheets down and invited her to swing her legs

over the side of the bed.


Dixie froze like a deer in the headlights.


Then her jaw clamped shut and the insult she was about to

hurl died aborning. She yanked the covers back up to her chin

and her teeth started to chatter. "You boys make sure neither Kel

nor Joe does my surgery.."


Johnny relaxed his finger pointing stare and he planted the

abandoned O2 mask that was hissing around her neck to back

over her face.


She didn't protest. "Promise me..." she asked of her two hands on

hips posturing paramedics.


"Ok.." Roy shrugged and he turned up her I.V. to a shock fighting

level again.


Feeling a bit like the devil, Johnny added, "We'll let Morton do it."


Dixie nearly levitated off the bed.


Right then the elegant Victorian phone on Dixie's nightstand



"Uh oh." trickled Cap.


Johnny picked it up, reluctantly, after it rang six times. "Oh, hiya doc.

Uh, what do you mean what am I still doing over here? Uh,  that's kind

of a long story. You see...."






Just as Johnny hung up the phone, Dixie's eyes rolled back and she

blacked out dissolving into unconsciousness once again.


Johnny Gage noticed, "Dixie?  Hey--" and he reached

out to touch her chin when Roy DeSoto stopped him.


"Why don't we let her be, Johnny?" he smiled. "Looks

like she's finally given in to that long rest her body's been

demanding that she'd better have. She's comfortable

enough and breathing fine on her side just as she is without

us messing around with an oral airway. We'd be disturbing

her if we did any further monkeying."


"But--" he bit his lip, considering, and checking a sudden retort.

"Ok, convince me. What's her pressure now?" checking McCall's

pupils again in a search for how far down she'd gone.


"116/72.." he said pointedly amused. "The I.V.'s HAS done its work.

And see? On the monitor...." Roy invited with an eye glance.


Johnny studied Dixie's tracing EKG reading on the scope and his

critical analyzing frown slowly turned into a light smile. "Sinus rhythm...

finally." he sighed.


"Yeah, her rate's about 58." Roy agreed. "Not stressed any longer

at all.."


"Now that's what I call sleeping.." Kelly remarked.


"Chet, how would you know?" Gage commented. "You're not a paramedic

like us." The irritation on giving into his partner's low impact patient care

plan was still festering a bit under the skin. He liked his victims awake

and talking when they didn't have vitals that disfavored maintaining that status. 


"No, but I know good vital signs notes when I hear them." he said, unoffended.

"I got the smarts when I need em, Don't you worry yourself about that, pally." he

said, winking at Roy to let him know he was in a needle Johnny Gage

mode again now that all the excitement was over.


Gage rapidly starting cleaning up and tidying while Roy readied

Dixie's apparatus for gurney loading. "No, you're definitely pumpkin positive,

Chet..." he mumbled.


"What? I didn't quite hear ya, Johnny? What the heck's pumpkin positive

mean?" he grinned, giving motions of a gimme more gesture behind Gage's

back where the dark haired paramedic couldn't see it.


The gang just folded arms together to watch the verbal tennis match with

the same grins on their faces.


And Johnny walked right into the baiting, hook, line and sinker. "If a doctor

writes 'Pumpkin Positive' on your notes, Chet, they mean if they shine a penlight

into your mouth, they would encounter a brain so small that your whole head

would light up."


"Oh, uh huh." Kelly said, mildly, completely unruffled. "Gee, that's really interesting,

Gage. But what IQ scale fits your place at the shallow end of the gene pool...?

You didn't even see that Dixie's just snoozing right now until Roy here, pointed

it out to you."




"Ok, enough's enough." Cap intervened, chuckling. "If you two carry on in here

much longer, you just might DO what Roy says not to do and you'll wake her up.

You guys can go play debate team after the call's over. Come on, Kelly. Back

to the engine. Stoker and Marco are already waiting for ya. "




"But nothin, I'm only lagging behind because I wanna make sure that Dixie's

place get's locked up again once the PD gets here. You know my signature's

needed on the house entry form. "


"That's all right, sir. I can take care of that.." said Millie the land lady..


Cap blinked and her comment didn't register under the hard thinking and

disciplining he was still embarking upon. " I'll take the squad in so Roy and

John can fuss over her at much as they'd like on the way in. Now, shoo.."

Hank said, jerking up his chin in a firm, I'm the captain look.


"Cappp..." Chet whined. "Are you gonna let Johnny keep

picking on me?" he said in jest.


"No, I'm gonna let YOU take a time out on HIM. That wasn't

a request, Kelly.."


"No, it was an order, I know.. I know." and he trudged out the door,

putting on his helmet again over his smoky curls. "Why spoil my fun? I was

just trying to lighten the tense mood radiating out from a certain someone

still leaning over the bed. And Dixie hasn't been disturbed. She

hasn't moved since Roy tipped her head back."


"Go.." Cap pointed, his stenorous baritone cracking out.


"Yes, sir.." Kelly said automatically at the undeniable

tone of command. He snapped his fingers in self chiding

annoyance when he realized that he was still so well

conditioned, that he actually jumped to attention at it.


"Weellll, maybe there's a few seeds in the jack o lantern

after all." Gage shot back after him. "You understood

that ok.."


All the firemen raised their heads when the sound of

the Mayfair responding to their rescue call appeared

and finally pulled up just outside.


"Gage, zip it." Cap coughed, trying to hide a smile.

"You're falling behind. DeSoto's got the I.V. box

already put back together and the attendants are

only seconds away."


Millie rubbed her chin. "I guess all the acid banter means

that Dixie's really ok?" she asked with a knowing smile.


"It sure does.." Roy said, standing up from one last

check on Dixie's respirations. "I'll leave a note with

her about your involvement in resecuring the apartment.

The policeman coming is just a formality. Cap's only

got a few lines to fill out on the officer's report."


"All right. Thank you, gentlemen, for helping Dixie like

you have. It really was sitting in the back of my mind, that

something wasn't right. I was just too timid to inquire and

intrude, you know?"


"Yeah, we know." Johnny said. "It's a trait of being

American, that respect for any individual's home privacy.

No harm's done, ma'am."


"Thank goodness."





 Dixie.. Can you hear me? Look what I brought..." said firm

 but quiet male voice.


Dixie opened her eyes and peered around a flowing oxygen



And saw a grotesque swollen pink and purple worm, floating

in a jar of preserving fluid..


"GahHH!" she jerked, throwing her hands up. "Get that thing

away from me." and she immediately winced when stitches,

external and internal, snagged on her innards. "Ooo.."


"What? It's not a prop from the little shop of horrors, Dixie."

said Joe Early with a chuckle. "This was part of you fifteen

minutes ago."


"I know what it is, Joe. It's just so... yyuck.." she shuddered, coughing

up a plume of anesthetic gas from her chest as she got a radar

on how truly awake she was becoming.  Her nursing side finally

got the better of her. "Ok, so what did ya find?" she gave in.





Kel Brackett, to Joe's left, also seated on the bed, answered her.

"Well, your appendicitis was uncomplicated. We found no fecaliths, lymph

node involvements, or any signs of appendiceal perforation. You just had

some moderate suprefaction of the mesentery that didn't effect the

peritoneum. We did a WBC and a flat plate, which was negative

along with a UA for blood which came completely clear of red cells.

Your kidneys,..are fine."


Dixie blinked, still very groggy. "Would you explain that in plain

english? I think I'm still a little hollow in the head right now."


"Rest, Dix." Kel said, getting up. "We'll just leave your souvenir

on the bedstand for you to analyze later."


"Don't forget to use a pillow on your abdomen when

you have to cough up some of that phlegm. And yes, we

made sure the incision was made below the bikini line." Joe added.


"You're all heart." she grumbled, rolling over to sleep some

more. "And if I hear one crack about the mickey mouse shaped

beauty mark I know you saw down there coming from the nursing staff,

I'll personally feed you both halves of my appendix floating around

in that specimen jar."


"She's awake, Kel. I think we can leave now. No one who's too

sleepy to breathe ever musters up a threat."


"You're right, Joe. Sweet dreams, Dix, and get better fast.."


The only reply was a blissful mumble followed by a rub of

a few fingers on her nose.


The two Rampart doctors left the recovery room on scrub paper

covered shoes, gingerly.













These excerpts of Dixie scenes are from


Episode Fifteen


Emergency Theater Live



Guest Writer; J. Wilds  **Her section noted by author's nick**

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