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Roy pushed his untouched dinner plate toward the center of the table and then pushed his chair away from the table before getting up and making his way to the bay. Standing at the back bay doors looking out a window in such deep thought that he didn’t hear the foot steps coming up behind him.
“She’s alright Roy,” His partner repeated for at least the hundredth time that afternoon. “She’s just fine.”
“I couldn’t get to her Johnny, I didn’t fit.” Roy continued looking out the window to hide the tears he could feel threatening to over flow.
“You’re an adult Roy, adults just don’t fit in to the kind of places kids can get themselves into.” Johnny persisted in trying to snap his partner out of the funk he was in. “I hope you’re not getting the idea that starving yourself is going to change that because if you do I’m gonna haul your butt to Rampart’s psyche ward right now.”
Johnny heard the door open behind him and turned to see Captain Stanley standing in the doorway watching and listening to what was going on. He knew the captain was trying to decide if Roy needed to be sent home or if he should call in the crisis counselor. Johnny was determined to save his partner from either.
“Roy, you did everything you possibly could have done, we got her out.”
“No, you got her out. My skinny partner got her out.”
“Not until the rest of the guys jacked that shed up so I could crawl under it. Man Roy listen to yourself, no one could get in there except Jenny.”
“You don’t understand, you’re not a parent,” Roy turned on his partner in frustrated anger, “She’s my baby, my little girl, she’s only five years old and I couldn’t save her. It’s my fault, it’s all my fault. She never would have been there in the first place if it wasn’t for what I --- for what I taught her.”
“That’s funny; I seem to remember that you didn’t teach her.” Johnny shifted to trying to turn back time in his partner’s memory in hope of getting him out of the moment he was dwelling on. “Do you remember that day when she was brought in to the emergency department at Rampart?”
Roy didn’t want to feel better but just the mention of that day lifted his mood. “She thought she was being arrested.”
“Yeah,” Johnny responded realizing his tactic had worked, “as I remember it, she was more worried that you were going to spank her.”
Johnny managed to drag his frustrated partner to the back of the squad and get him to sit down on the bumper as he sat next to him. While he was moving Roy’s focus drifted back to that day just three months ago.
It was early in the afternoon and they had had a crazy morning of run after run after run, they had to stop and pick up supplies. They were so busy filling out forms and counting the supplies they were receiving that they didn’t notice the paramedic team race through behind them they surely wouldn’t have noticed the two police officers following a few minutes later each one holding the hand of a little girl. At least they wouldn’t have noticed if one of the little girls hadn’t have called him by name.
“Mr. DeSoto! Your daughter hit my mom in the stomach and made her spit out her strawberry.”
Roy could still clearly remember how stunned he was when he turned around to see who was addressing him to see his daughter and the neighbor girl in the custody of the police. The neighbor girl was accusing his daughter of hitting her mother. Jenny never hit anyone before. Just what was going on?
“Do these two girls belong to you?” the officer asked, Funny Roy couldn’t remember who the officer was now but it was someone he knew.
“A, NO, just this one,” he squatted down to be able to see eye to eye with the little girl who was being accused. “What’s going on here?”
“I’ll tell you what’s going on here,” seven year old Tara Fulmer yelled in anger as she stood next to the police officer with her hands on her hips. “First she pushes my mom out off her chair on to the floor and then she hits her in the stomach with both hands.”
“Please don’t spank me daddy!” Jenny sobbed tears streaming down her face and dripping on her blouse as she held both hands over her bottom. “I didn’t mean to get arrested, please don’t spank me, I know I too little but Tara doesn’t know anything. Please don’t spank me.”
“I do too know stuff, I go to school I’m not a preschool baby,” Tara was still shouting, still holding her hands on her hips and jutting her chin forward.
Just then Dr. Early stepped out of the treatment room.
“How is the woman Doc?” one of the police officers asked.
“She’s stable right now,” Dr Early answered as he squat down next to Roy and looked into the frightened tear filled eyes of his daughter. “I need you to tell me what happened so that I know how to help Mrs. Fulmer. Can you tell me exactly what happened before the paramedics got there?”
“She hit my mom in the stomach,” Tara screamed again.
“What da ya say you and I go down here and see if we can find a story book to read,” one of the police officers spoke with Tara as he pulled her away from Jenny, her father, his partner and the Doctor.
“Okay Jenny just start at the beginning and tell me what happened. You’re not going to get in trouble.” Dr. Early calmly coaxed the young girl.
“Tara’s momma was putting chocolate on strawberries for a party tonight and there was this one really really big strawberry. She said that it was too big but her dunked it in the chocolate anyway and put it in her mouth and took a great big bite. That’s when Barney ran across her foot.”
“Who’s Barney?” Dr. Early questioned.
“Her boy’s pet hamster,” Jenny answered.
“What happened next?”
“Her made this funny sound like a vacuum cleaner when a piece of paper is stuck over the hose and she kept grabbing at the front of her neck then she sat down in the chair and her head fell over on the table and she fell asleep only her eyes were open.”
“Then what happened?” Dr. Early coaxed her forward.
“Her face was turning funny colors and when I put my hand on her tummy it wasn’t going in and out. I thought the strawberry and her apple were fighting.”
“Her apple? Did she eat an apple as well as the strawberry?”
“No, that Apple that’s in the front part of your neck that moves up and down to tell the food which pipe to go down.”
“The Adams Apple?” Dr. Early guessed at her description.
“Yeah, that thing, only this one belongs to Mrs. Fulmer.” Jenny confirmed and Johnny coughed to hide his laugh while Roy just bit his tongue. By now he had pulled his daughter closer to him and she was leaning against the inside of his knee with her daddy’s arms around her.
“I tried to blow in her mouth but even when I climbed on a chair I couldn’t reach her mouth and pinch her nose very well but I remembered what daddy taught Chris, he’s my brother, that you need to have them laying on the floor. But I’m too little I couldn’t move her”
“Is that when you pushed her off the chair?” Dr. Early was beginning to put the pieces together. Jenny just nod her head.
“Well, considering the size difference I’d say you did the only thing you could under the circumstances.
What happened after you got her on the floor?”
“I tipped her head back and pinched her nose and tried to blow in her mouth but the air didn’t go anywhere it just made her face fat. That’s how I knew the strawberry was fighting with the apple. So I did the Hamelkick mover.”
“You mean the Heimlich Maneuver. “ Dr. Early corrected with a smile.
“Is that what you call it daddy?”
“Yes sweetheart,” Roy responded but was afraid to say any more for fear he would burst out laughing. He was also trying to figure out where his wife was.
“I didn’t hit her in the tummy I just pushed on it, in and up just like my daddy showed Chris and Jimmy, but when I did it the strawberry moved in her mouth and she breathed all by her own self.”
“Then what happened,” Dr. Early stiffled a grin as he coaxed the rest of the story out of young Jenny.
“I stayed by her and watched her breath until daddy’s friends from the fire department comed in and took the strawberry the rest of the way out of Tara’s mommy’s mouth. I asked Tara to get a blanket for her but she was mad at me cause she thinks I hurt her mommy.” “After daddy’s friends were getting ready to leave with Tara’s Mommy in the amblance the police came and arrested me. I know I too little but nobody was there that had watched my daddy teach anybody how to do it. Tara’s brother comes to my house to have my daddy teach him. She didn’t get to watch him learn like I did.”
“The way I understand things I think Mrs. Fulmer is a very lucky lady that you were at her house today.”
Dr. Early gave the young girl a squeeze on her shoulder then looking at her father, “I believe she received a mild concussion in the fall from the chair but that’s a lot better than the alternative. This young lady is very observant.”
“Do I have to go to Jail now?”
“No Jenny, we’re going to let your Daddy find your Mommy and then you can go home.” Dr. Early gave Jenny a big friendly smile before pushing himself to a stand. “And if your Daddy gives you a spanking you just tell me and I’ll give him a spanking.”
“You know you were a mighty proud papa when you picked her up that day.” Johnny had succeeded in getting a smile back on Roy’s face as they remembered together.
“Her Uncle Johnny looked like a proud peacock himself.” Roy turned to his partner.
“As I remember it you were able to call the dentist office and find Jo Anne and tell her what had happened and get the phone number for Mr. Fulmer’s work before we got another call and had to leave Jenny with Dix.” Johnny recalled.
“Dix told everybody in the hospital what she’d done and everyone gave her something loaded with sugar to congratulate her.” Roy recalled. “When JoAnne finally got her home she had a stomach ache.”
“Do you remember what happened when Dix put her in for that Young Hero Award?” Johnny said as he leaned back against the squad while Roy leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees and his chin on his fists.
“She was so scared of all the people.” Roy remembered.
“I can’t remember, why did they do it here at the station again?” Johnny remembered but he wanted to keep his partner talking till he had talked everything out.
“They a, the newspaper people that sponsored the award wanted to explore a, like father like daughter, angle to their story.” Roy explained what had been explained to him in the Captain’s office. “I still can’t believe how frightened she was. When it came time to hand out the award she was no where to be found.”
“We had the guys looking every where in the station while the police that were here were looking outside and in all the cars in the back.” Johnny snickered as he remembered. “We all forgot one thing though, we forgot she was a five year old girl and could fit into places we never dreamed of looking.”
“Who was it that finally saw her dress hanging out of the compartment on the squad?” Roy tried to recall.
“That was me and Cap,” Johnny remembered. “We both thought it best to let you really find her. If you know what I mean.”
“Yeah, Thanks” Roy leaned back again with moist eyes and looked at his partner. “She was so scared that the only way I could talk her out of the compartment was to promise to hold her and protect her.”
“With her Uncle Johnny there too,” Johnny added. “She wrapped her arms around your neck so tight I thought we were going to have to resuscitate you.”
“Na, Fathers are used to that sort of thing.”
“She wouldn’t even let go long enough to receive her award.”
“Nope,” Roy shook his head and laughed.
“Did the newspaper people ever get a picture of her face?”
“Jo has copies of a couple, one when I pulled her out of the compartment; she has her finger in her mouth. Then there’s another one of my back with her eating a cookie,” Roy remembered.
“She got cookie crumbs down my neck and it drove me nuts until I took a shower that night.”
“I thought you were going to have to take her with you when we got a run, she was hanging on to you so tight.”
“It was a good thing that JoAnne was there to hand her off to,” Roy remembered.
Roy’s mood turned suddenly somber again. “Why did she do what she did today, didn’t she know she could have gotten herself killed?”
“Probably not, and because she’s her father’s daughter,” Johnny offered as an explanation.
“Did you know she was watching you?” Johnny asked to get his troubled partner talking again.
“You mean when I was teaching the boys?” Roy clarified and Johnny just nod his head. “No, not really, she would usually sit at the top of the stairs and put her feet between the posts and look down on us. I thought she was just waiting for us to be done so she could watch TV. I did catch her crawling from behind the couch once on her hands and knees to get a better look at what we were doing. I promised her that I’d teach her when she was a little bigger and thought that was the last of it.”
“Apparently not,” Johnny turned to his partner, “Her medical terminology is a little off but she sure seems to understand some basic principles.”
Both paramedics were now leaning forward resting their elbows on their knees there had been a moment of silence and both knew the other was thinking about the same run.
“You know,” Johnny broke the silence, “that boy would have bleed out long before we got there if it hadn’t been for Jenny.”
“I know,” Roy responded the tears now escaping from his eyes, “That’s why I couldn’t tell her to just let go and climb out of there.”
Johnny sat up and placed his hand on his partner’s shoulder giving a gentle squeeze as Roy buried his face in his hands.
It started like almost any other call.
Station 51 unknown type rescue possible child trapped. Roy had never been fond of unknown type rescues but his dislike was mild compared to Johnny’s.
Station 51 KMG365 echoed through the station as a slip of paper was handed through the window and then passed to the passenger seat. Roy didn’t need to listen for directions from Johnny this time the call was just a few blocks from his home, a little out of their usual call area but he knew the way.
Roy pulled over behind a couple of police cars with the engine pulling up and parking in the street next to the police cars. One police officer was talking to a couple of boys and while the paramedics started pulling their equipment out of the compartments. A second policeman came running from the back of the house and headed right for the paramedics as Captain Stanley moved in to find out what was going on.
“We have two kids trapped under an old shed in the back, It’s loaded with all kind of junk and the wood is rotted I’m afraid that a stiff wind would blow the thing down. One of the kids says that the other one is hurt. She said that he has a big cut and that inside the cut is a hose that was squirting blood all over her so she is pinching it off,” the police officer reported and Roy and Johnny moved even faster to follow the police officer back where he came from. Captain Stanley and his men each carrying some of the equipment and right on their heels.
When they reached the shed at the end of the driveway they found a woman crying with her arms around a boy they guessed to be around nine or ten years old and another boy laying on his stomach looking under the shed.
“Alright son you best move out of the way and let the firemen in there.” The police officer leading the way said as he reached down and helped the young boy about eight years old to his feet. As the boy turned his mud smudged face toward the firemen Roy gasped. “Chris!”
“Dad!” the boy acknowledged. “Jenny’s under there.”
“Why is Jenny under there?” Roy asked as he fell to the ground and tried to see into the opening that his daughter was in.
“We were playing hide and seek and Joshua climbed under there to hide,” Chris began, breathing heavy with excitement and panic, “Josh is the real tall and skinny type, he cried out saying he was hurt and when I looked under there I could see that he was bleeding from his leg only it was a spurting, shooting blood. I sent Josh’s brother to call for you guys and tried to climb under but I couldn’t fit. So Jenny climbed in there.”
“It sounds like a femoral artery,” Johnny surmised, “Cap we better find a way to get him out of there fast.”
“He’s not talking anymore,” Chris added to his report, “Jenny said she’s pinching two hoses, whatever that means.”
“All I can see is Jenny’s feet,” Roy called from the ground as he tried and failed to reach in with more than his arm, “She’s too far in I can’t reach her. Jenny can you hear me?”
“Yes Daddy, I hear you, Josh falled to sleep, he doesn’t look like he feels berry good.”
“I better see if I can get under on the other side.” Johnny announced and moved around the shed.
“Are you alright Jenny? You’re not hurt anywhere are you?” Roy called.
“someping’s poking in my back,” Jenny answered, “But it only hurts a little.”
Roy flattened on the ground once again and cocked his head in an attempt to see what he daughter was talking about. “I need a flashlight.” He called out.
“Here use this one,” the officer pulled the flashlight from his belt handing it to Roy. Shinning the light between the two by eights that were holding the shed floor up Roy studied the situation before rolling over and addressing his captain.
“It looks like the floor had given out she has either a rake or a pitch fork resting against her back but I don’t think it’s penetrated. There’s also some kind of liquid dripping onto her back. I can’t be sure but I think I smell gasoline.”
Captain Stanley rested his hand on the side of the structure and applied a slight amount of pressure before the shed began to groan. ”Lets go see what John has found out and compare notes and see if we can come up with any ideas.”
When they rounded the last corner of the shed they got sight of Chet pulling on John’s legs to pull him from under the shed as soon as he had his head out he turned to look into the yard. “Chet get me that kid’s garden hoe.”
“What have you got John?” the captain asked as he looked through the window of the shed. The shed was loaded, packed from wall to wall with all kinds of stuff; any hope of going through the floor boards was going to take time. A lot of time.
“The kid’s in bad shape cap,” John began to report. “I can see that he’s breathing but his diaphoretic and really really pale. I can’t get under far enough to do a full assessment but from what I can see a circular saw blade has come through the floor and made a major gash in his upper leg. Jen is holding what she calls a hose on both ends of the saw blade I’m sure we’re dealing with a lacerated femoral artery and I think she’s holding both sides of the cut but I can’t be sure. He’s lost a lot of blood but I can’t tell how much. The saw blade is a big one at least a foot in diameter and part of it is still wedged in the floor boards. I’m not sure how we’re going to get him out of there at this point but I’m hoping I can pull his arm closer to me so I can at least get a pulse and if possible start an IV or even two.”
“I’ll get on the line to Rampart,” The paramedic in Roy took over.
“Jen’s got what looks like a pitch fork resting on her back but I don’t think it’s penetrated. I can also see what looks like a lawn mower blade poking through the floor near her shoulder. There’s some kind of a liquid dripping under there. I can’t be certain but is smells like some kind of insecticide,” John continued to report. “When I’m in as far as I can go the air flow under there is cut off and what ever is dripping in there smells pretty bad, but I think if we attach a mask to a pole I can get some oxygen to Jen and the boy.”
“Roy picked up the scent of gasoline from the other end and there’s something dripping on Jen’s back.”
Captain Stanley shared his insight, “from what I can see through this window there could be all of that in here and more. I don’t think we have much of a chance of getting to them through the floor boards. I’m afraid to even open this door for fear the whole shed will collapse down on all of us. What are the chances of digging out underneath?”
“None cap, it’s on a concrete slab. The concrete is crumbling but it’s full of rebar, it’ll just take way too much time. Time we don’t have.” Johnny gave the final blow.
“Marco get the oxygen off the engine, bring an air mask for John and bring all the rope you can carry.”
Then taking the small hoe from Chet, “Chet you go help him. Bring a couple of poles back with you.”
Captain Stanley hollered before putting his Handy talkie to his mouth. “LA this is Engine 51 we need another unit at our location. We have two children trapped under an unstable structure; one of them is seriously injured. Respond an ambulance to our location.”
“10-4 engine 51.”
“Cap,” Roy called out, “there’s a guy on the next block who has a lot of experience in moving and restoring old buildings. His knowledge could come in real handy here.”
“Let’s get him.” Captain Stanley agreed.
“I’ll go,” one of the police officers offered.
“Chris,” Roy called for his son, “go with this officer and show him where Frank Peters lives.”
Roy then turned his attention to making contact with Rampart and focused as hard as he could on the voice of Dr. Bracket when he came on. After relaying the inadequate vital information Johnny had already given him and explaining why they couldn’t give him any more. “Rampart we have a five year old girl under there pinching off what she is calling a hose that was squirting blood all over her. Right now no one else can get to either of them. My partner is attempting to pull the boys arm close enough that he can get a pulse and possibly start an IV. Stand by.”
“Repeat 51, you have a five year old girl holding pressure on an artery?”
“That’s affirmative Rampart.” Roy admitted, “She had climbed under the shed to do so before we arrived and now we can’t reach either one of them. Be advised we are also dealing with unknown liquids at this point we think we are dealing with gasoline as well as some kind of insecticide.”
“Do you know what kind of insecticide?”
“That’s a negative Rampart,” Roy cringed.
Johnny was unable to get back under the shed with an air mask on so he settled for a simple oxygen mask like the one he managed to push in and lay across the face of the boy Joshua. Since both of Jenny’s hands were busy and she couldn’t put a mask on herself an air hose was pushed in by pole and placed near her face. After a moment of grunts and groans Johnny’s muffled voice came from under the shed reporting a pulse of 140 and very weak, he now had access to the boy’s hand and forearm but couldn’t reach anything beyond his elbow. Johnny had managed to crawl in nearly up to his shoulders but couldn’t get any farther. The order was given for two IVs wide open, Roy could only guess how his partner was going to start them in such tight quarters but it was the boy’s only hope at the moment.
Through it all Roy could hear coughing and knew it was coming from his brave little girl. He knew those fumes were getting to her and they weren’t doing the other boy or his partner any good either. All he could do was bite his own lip, control his own breathing and call out encouragement between talking to the hospital.
Roy remained in a squat next to the feet of his partner and held the bags of IV fluid and watched and listened. Before Johnny climbed under again he had torn several strips of tape and stuck them to the back of his hand, the only place on his arm not covered with hair. Then with the ends of the IV tubing taped to his watch band and a collection of needles in his shirt pocket, he once again inched his way back into the narrow, cramped space. With all the tubing they had pushed in it was even tighter but after what felt like forever Roy heard the muffled instructions to start the drip.
“Uncle Johnny,” Roy could hear his daughter call. He couldn’t hear what else she said just that she was talking.
He then heard his partner talking to her, “you’re doing real good there Kiddles,” Johnny’s pet name for Jenny, “Just don’t let go of that artery and your daddy and I and all the guys from the station are gonna get you out of here just as fast as we can. We’re not going to let Joshua die. Put your face as close to that black hose as you can and breathe in the air from there okay.”
Roy listened anxiously as the women holding her older son explained that she had no idea what was in the shed, It was left from the previous owner who had been an elderly widow and her husband intended to knock it down just as soon as they were moved in. “We just moved in three days ago we’re still unpacking boxes,” She cried, “We told the children not to go in there that it was dangerous, I never thought to tell them not to climb under it.”
It was just like his kids to make friends with new children as soon as they moved in. His wife encouraged it, explaining how hard it was to move to a new neighborhood.
The sound of sirens could be heard in the distance but Roy wasn’t sure if it was the second engine or the ambulance, he then heard the beeping of a truck backing up and saw his captain run back toward the driveway. Soon he could hear tapping on the side of the shed coming closer to him and he cringed with fear the structure would collapse on his daughter and his partner and the other child. Soon Frank Peters was seen coming around the corner and giving a good look inside the window.
“Isn’t it amazing the kind of messes kids can get themselves into,” Frank commented to Roy before turning to Captain Stanley, “I think you’re right if we even as much as open the doors this thing will fall apart.”
“If we can just lift it up four to six inches my man should be able to get the kids out.” Captain Stanley coaxed.
“Alright but it’s going to take a few minutes,” Frank responded.
“See if you can make that a few minutes less,” Roy advised in controlled panic, “there’s a young boy under there bleeding to death and they’re all breathing in toxic fumes.” The boy’s mother let out a renewed cry when she heard what Roy had to say and the Police officer began to move her to the back porch where she could sit down on a step a little more out of hearing range.
Frank just shook his head and tugged on the captain’s coat sleeve in the direction of his truck.
Soon Chet and Marco were back with a roll of some kind of nylon mesh as they started to pull it tight around the bottom half of the shed with a staple hammer they tacked it to the corners. Two other firemen started digging holes near the corners of the shed and listening ears told Roy there were two more on the other side of the shed doing the same thing.
There was less coughing coming from under the shed now but Roy wasn’t sure if it was because of the air being pumped in or if the sound was just too muffled. He could hear his partner talking to his daughter from time to time offering encouragement but he often couldn’t understand what was being said.
“Roy!” he heard a high pitched scream and looked up to see his wife standing a few yards away in near hysterics as Chet and Marco applied a second layer of the nylon Mesh. Captain Stanley raced to JoAnne and put his arms around her pulling her away from the shed as Chris stood next to his mom.
“It’s gonna be okay mom, Jen’s not hurt, Uncle Johnny and Dad and the guys’ll get her out. You know they will.” JoAnne calmed quickly and Roy knew it was just an act for the sake of their son but he was very proud of both of them. Still there was guilt that it was Uncle Johnny they were counting on more than him.
As Chet and Marco started the first of two layers of mesh on the upper part of the shed Frank started dropping industrial sized hydraulic jacks into the holes that had been dug.
“We’re going to need two more holes, here and here,” Frank instructed pulling a spray can from his belt and marking two x’s on the grass in florescent orange paint. Some of it got on Johnny’s pants but that was by far the least of their worries.
As two firemen started digging holes on either side of Johnny’s legs Roy did his best to stay out of the way. Frank pulled out a tape measure and measured the distance on either side of Johnny to the corner holes and then left without a word. Soon Roy could hear the sound of a circular saw and before the last holes were finished Frank returned with two pieces of two by six boards and dropped one on either side of Johnny’s legs.
Frank soon returned with two more jacks while Captain Stanley pulled a compressor on wheels behind him and Mike carried two arm loads of hose for the compressor and hurried up behind them. Frank was connecting the hose to the Jacks when the ambulance attendants arrived pulling the gurney between them and Roy found a moment to give his wife and son and encouraging glance and nod.
Once Roy noticed the four by four support beams coming through from the other side he handed off the IV bags to one of the ambulance attendants and did what he could to help pull the beams through. The next step was to wedge the two by six boards between the jacks and the support beams. Everything was easier to deal with now that he had something he could do to help save his daughter.
Once all the boards were in place Frank made one last check and looked to Captain Stanley. “These support beams should keep the floor from collapsing when we lift it but I can’t guarantee anything in the section where your man and the kids are in.”
“Did you hear that John?” Captain Stanley got down on his knees and called.
“What?” came John’s muffled reply.
“We’re ready to start lifting the shed, there may be a problem with stuff falling through the floor boards in your section.” Captain Stanley explained.
“Just do it, we gotta get this kid out of here, now!” John spoke with an unmistakable urgency.
Captain Stanley gave the go ahead nod to Frank who didn’t hesitate to turn the compressor on and flip the up switch. Slowly the jacks engaged with the boards and then the shed started to groan. With every millimeter the shed rose Johnny crept deeper under the shed.
The sound of a crash and a clang accompanied by Jenny’s Scream and the button was pressed to stop the lifting process.
Roy glanced at his wife and could tell by the horror struck look on her face that she heard the scream. He so wanted to give her the sign that everything was alright but instead he heard his partner’s voice.
“Jen, Jen don’t move, keep your eyes closed, don’t rub’ em.” Roy couldn’t give the sign he so wanted to. “Pull me out fast!” Came John’s muffled cry and Chet Marco and Cap joined in pulling on John’s legs and belt. “Pull, Pull, Pull. Jenny, keep those hands away from your eyes.”
Before Johnny’s head had cleared the opening they saw the boy’s hand and the IV’s as well as the slivers in Johnny’s arm. When John’s head was clear they could see the boy’s head and one look at his face and Roy knew he needed to move fast.
“WE need a tourniquet fast!” John called and the firemen who had been pulling him moved to lift the boy onto the gurney. As Roy tightened the tourniquet around the boy’s leg above where John was now holding the lacerated artery, John reported. “Jen’s alright she was just frightened. She’s got something in her eye, you take him and go and I’ll get her out.”
Roy only needed one look at the boy and knew his partner was right, the police officer was already moving the boy’s mother and brother into the front of the ambulance and other firemen were picking up his bio-phone and drug box as the ambulance attendants started moving the gurney with the boy towards the ambulance.
“She’s okay,” Roy called to his wife and he followed along counting a pulse and respirations. He would get a blood pressure in the ambulance in route.
John turned to the Captain, “I need a rope around my ankles so you can pull me back out,” and then he nearly dove back under the shed calling encouragement to Jennifer as he inched his way under leaving the guys to tie the rope around his ankles as he moved deeper under the shed.
As Johnny crept back under the shed his first act was to set the flashlight that had been knocked askew when he was pulled out before so that he could get a good look at Jennifer. When the shed was being lifted several things fell through the floor. As far as Johnny could tell they had all missed Jenny but she had been startled and frightened and pulled away from of the artery she was holding.
Johnny had been inching forward so when Jennifer let go he was close enough to quickly reach out and take over the pressure but not before Jennifer got a face full of blood and blood in her eyes. With the help of his crew mates he had gotten the boy out and now he was in the capable hands of his partner. Hopefully he had been able to put him at ease about his daughter so that he could focus on what the boy needed.
“Okay Kiddles, I’m back we’re going to get you out now.” Johnny reassured as he pulled himself inch by inch toward her. “Remember to keep those eyes shut and don’t touch them. I’ll be there in just a minute.”
“Uncle Johnny is Josh dead?”
“NO, he’s with your Daddy, He’s taking him to the hospital where Dr. Bracket and Aunt Dixie are going to fix him up.”
“Yeah Kiddles?” Johnny kept inching forward.
“I’m coming Jen, just a little farther and then we can get you out,” Johnny encouraged,” just hold on a lit-little bit longer.”
“Keep your hands away from your face, I’m almost there,” John continued to call as he heard the ambulance pull away with the first patient.
He had now reached the big saw blade that had been the cause of all the problems. When the shed was raised it had rolled out of the boy’s leg. Usually it was best to leave such items in the wound and let them take it out at the hospital but in this case they were able to get the boy out at least ten minutes earlier without the blade than they would have been able to with it, so it was a good thing. Now it was in his way again, he had seen firsthand the damage that thing could cause and he had no desire for his hands to look like his last patient’s leg.
Johnny found a large sliver of the floor board hanging loose and getting an idea pulled it and another one from the wood, using the two slivers he managed to push the blade back up between the floor boards and roll it off to the side enough that it was out of their way. When he felt sure the blade wasn’t going to roll back down on him he inched just a little deeper. Several other items has fallen through the floor, there was what looked like a fishing rod and some kind of a garden trellis, those items too were pushed back up and to the side as was the lawn mower blade. The pitch fork was not going to be as easy to get out of the way though.
After making several attempts to push it up and get it to catch so he could pull Jennifer out from under it John paused to think. Jennifer was much calmer now that he was touching her and had reached out to take a hold on his uniform collar.
John was so glad that his partner couldn’t see her now, she was so covered with blood it would have sent him in to shock. Knowing he was going to have to deal with JoAnne and Chris as soon as he got out John gave Jenny’s back a rub then got an idea.
“Okay Jen plug your ears I’m going to have to yell.” John felt the hand on his collar move and gave just a second more before. “I need someone out there to send in a thinish board to hold this pitch fork up so I can get her out.”
It wasn’t long before a one by something was advancing past Jennifer’s feet coaxing it forward and guiding it with his other hand until it was under the tines of the pitch fork. “Okay now, hold it to the bottom of the floor.”
Slowly and cautiously John let go of the end of the board and when it stayed where he needed it he took a firm hold of Jennifer’s shoulders and called, “Okay get us out of here.”
He heard the message relayed from the opening beyond Jennifer’s feet and then felt the rope around his ankles tighten as the two of them slid back toward the opening he had crawled into. As he was pulled backward he could feel several more slivers puncturing his skin along both sides but he said nothing. Soon he felt hands on his calves and then more on his belt and then he could see the light of day and he felt he could breathe.
“Okay Kiddles we’re almost there, just another foot.” They continued to pull him out along the grass until Jenifer was cleared and then a cheer rang out followed by a gasp from all those who could see the blood covered girl.
John quickly pushed himself up and scooped Jenny in his arms before carrying her to a safe distance.
“Cap, I need O2, the trauma box and we better wash her off.”
“Marco,” was all Captain Stanley had to say and Marco was on his way to the squad as fast as his feet could carry him. “Chet lets pull the reel line back here.”
JoAnne was quickly on her knees at her daughter’s side with a worried look on her face, Chris at her side acting like a brave young man trying to comfort his mother. Cap then pulled the oxygen canister they had been using over and started to attach two masks to the two different ports.
As soon as Marco arrived John reached for a bottle of saline and after telling Jenny what he was going to do washed out her eyes and most of the blood off her face. Captain Stanley then placed the oxygen mask on Jenny’s face before placing the second one on John’s face.
“If she needs it so do you,” Cap ordered.
John didn’t fight his captain just continued with his assessment. After looking under her clothes to be sure he lay his hand on JoAnne’s arm and spoke through the mask, “None of this blood is hers it’s all from the other boy.”
JoAnne started to cry and rub her daughter’s head smearing the blood in more places; Jenny raised her hand and rest it on her mother’s arm. “It’s okay mommy don’t cry,” she calmed through the mask as she otherwise lay very still on the ground.
Chris followed with, “It’s alright mom I told you she wasn’t hurt.”
“LA this is station 51 please set up relay with Rampart for vitals and patient information.” Captain Stanley spoke into his handy talkie.
“10-4 51 go ahead.”
“Rampart please relay to Squad 51 that second child in now extricated and all looks good, He has a personal interest in this one.” Captain Stanley informed through his handy talkie.
“Thank You.” JoAnne said to the captain with a smile and tears in her eyes
“51 Rampart says they’ll do that.”
“Uncle Johnny, I gonna frow up,” Jenny complained and Johnny was barely able to roll her on her side before she did. John moved her away from the vomited material and then set out to get a set of vitals.
Just then Chet returned with the reel hose and John finished taking a blood pressure then leaned back.
“Okay Kiddles you’re going to get an honest to goodness fireman shower.”
“Make sure you wash John down too,” the Captain ordered, “his back is saturated with whatever was dripping under there.”
John pulled his mask down and relayed the vitals to the captain who repeated them into the handy talkie. John then made a request, “It would really help if we can find out what is leaking out under there, I mean really help.” He shifted his eyes to JoAnne to let the cap know it was really important but he didn’t want to upset his partner’s wife.
“We have permission from the home owner to do whatever we need to, to that shed including demolition.” The police officer informed.
While holding the HT out so John could hear the order for an IV to be started on his young patient, Hank turned to the neighbor who had expertly helped. “How difficult is it going to be to get in there and find out what was dripping on these people?”
Frank blew out a deep breath and shook his head, “Now that you’re not worried about anybody getting hurt not hard at all. I have to say you men are good… and crazy.”
“Yep, that’s us, good and crazy” Captain Stanley responded with a smile as he gave his paramedic a slap on the back and then replaced the oxygen mask on his face.
As soon as Chet had soaked the two of them down John called for a blanket then proceeded to pull out what he needed to start the IV. “Okay Kiddles I’m gonna have to give you a little poky so we have an easy way to get some medicine in you later on, You’re going to be a big brave girl for me now aren’t you.”
Under the oxygen mask Johnny could see Jenny’s bottom lip curl and quiver and her eyes start to drip as JoAnne reached out and took her hand.
“It’s okay sweetheart Mommy will help you be brave.”
“You do give permission to start the IV don’t you, or do you need me to radio Roy?” Johnny joked and JoAnne too overcome with emotions to really talk just reached up and swatted her husband’s partner on the shoulder.
“Just do it,” She finally said.
When the IV was established Marco stepped up with two blankets and while John was tucking one around his favorite patient Marco wrapped the other around John’s shoulders. Cap who had moved away for a moment returned and knelt down next to John. “Dispatch reports a 20 minute ETA on another ambulance. It’s going to take us about that long to safely get into that shed.”
“Let’s just take her in the squad,” Johnny decided, “You can radio in what you find when you find it.”
“Marco you take him in.” Cap ordered and then added. “And John, you will be bringing a doctor’s note back to the station with you.”
“Yes Cap,” Johnny rolled his eyes as he slid his hands under his little patient. Chet took the IV bag and Marco grabbed hold of the oxygen tank as Hank aided JoAnne to her feet.
“Do you have a way to the hospital?” Captain Stanley asked his Sr. Paramedic’s wife.
“Yes, my car is just around the corner.”
“Are you alright to drive?” Hank questioned as he evaluated the woman he was holding on to.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“Sure?” Hank continued to question.
“Yes, I’m sure,” JoAnne smiled and looked more positive and calm than she had done. She then stretched up on her tip toes and planted a kiss on Hank’s cheek leaving a lipstick mark behind.
Other firemen grabbed the rest of the equipment and supplies and followed along to the squad where John slid into the passenger seat with Jennifer on his lap then instructed Chet to hang the IV bag from the visor and Marco to place the Oxygen tank between his knees. The rest of the equipment was replaced in the compartments and Marco climbed behind the wheel and they were off.
“Squad 51 this is Rampart do you read,” Roy heard Dr. Bracket over the bio-phone, he was nearly half way to the hospital and fighting with everything he had to keep his mind off his daughter and on the critically injured patient he was caring for.
“Go ahead Rampart.”
“We have just received word from the rescue scene that the second child is now evacuated and all looks well.”
Roy let out a huge sigh of relief, “10-4 Rampart, thank you, thank you very much.”
“You’re welcome 51.”
When he arrived his patient was taken directly to the operating room and Dixie corralled the mother to get permission forms signed and whatever kind of medical history she could.
Roy was sure they were going to be bringing his daughter in and stopped by the base station to see what he could find out but Bracket was in surgery and no one else knew anything. Still they had said all looked well so he just waited for them to come in.
The last thing Roy expected to see was his partner walking in carrying his daughter, wearing an oxygen mask himself, Marco had replaced it on his face as they got out of the squad, as well as one on his daughter and Marco walking along his side holding an IV bag high in one hand and carrying the oxygen tank in the other. His daughter’s blanket had fallen away from her shoulders as they walked revealing her blouse wet but still covered with blood and blood matted in her hair. It didn’t help any that Jenny had fallen asleep in his partner’s arms during the ride in either.
A nurse quickly directed them into a treatment room and Dixie quickly stopped Roy from following. As he stood across the hall he watched a nurse leave the room and return with another gurney and the door was shut again.
“Let them check her over good and then we’ll let you go in there. According to the scanner they’ve gotten into the shed and should know what they’ve been exposed to in just a few minutes.” Dixie calmed and professionally controlled the sr. Paramedic.
Marco stepped out after a few minutes and walked straight over to Roy. “Johnny said to be sure to tell you that none of that blood on her clothes or in her hair is from her; it’s all from the other kid.”
“Thanks Marco, what’s with the oxygen and the IV?”
“Precautionary until they figure out what was dripping under the shed, Cap said whatever Jenny needed John needed too but he couldn’t get him to start an IV on himself.” Marco explained with the best smile he could muster. This had been an emotionally draining rescue one he hoped they never had to repeat.
JoAnne showed up just after that nearly dragging Chris along by his arm. Roy took them both in his arms and held on telling them both he was sorry that he had to leave and how proud of them he was.
It wasn’t really long after that that Dixie came out of the treatment room and waved them in. When Chris stayed behind she gave an extra wave and he followed his parents through the door.
Once inside the first thing Roy noticed was that his daughter was now wearing a hospital gown and had received a good washing including a shampoo. A privacy screen had been set up between her and the next bed where Dr. Morton’s head could be seen just over the top of it.
As they reached their daughter’s side and took her hand she smiled at them under her nasal canula and Dr. Early quickly entered the room with her chart in his hands.
“We’ve found out what we’re dealing with and it’s nothing a little atropine shouldn’t take care of.” Jenny here convinced us to put hers in her IV so we’ll need her to hang around until it’s finished say an hour or so.” Dr. Early reported with a smile, “Before that’s finished I’d like to do some lab work and get a chest x-ray and as long as those check out she can go home.”
Roy and JoAnne both let out a deep sigh and Chris exclaimed, “I told you guys she was going to be Okay”
“And your partner was big and brave and took his atropine in his arm,” Dr. Morton peeked around the privacy screen, “And as long as his blood work and chest x-ray check out he can go back to work. Providing I can get all these slivers dug out of him before his shift ends.”
“How is Joshua?” Jenny asked, “He’s my new boy friend.”
“Well he’s still in surgery but the Dr. thinks he has a really good chance thanks to you.” Dixie reported and that was enough information for Jenny.
“I think your Mom and Dad need a hug,” Dr. Early prescribed, “ Do you want to give it to them or should I?”
“I better do it, My Daddy likes my hugs bestest.” She sat up on the cot and then climbed on her knees.
“Joshua and I are going to get married when we’re bigger,” she declared happily and she threw her arms around her father’s neck. Dr. Early made sure there was enough slack in the IV tubing that she didn’t pull that loose as everyone in the room smiled.
“Not until your21,” Roy exclaimed with a smile as he wrapped his arms around his daughter buried his face in her hair and held on.
“I think I want to wait till I’m 50,” Jenny declared when she pulled away from her father. “I don’t want to get married too young.”
The chuckles got louder as Dixie handed Chris a damp wash cloth and pointed to his face. Roy just smiled wider and exclaimed, “that’s fine with me,” As Jenny threw her arms around her mother’s neck.
Once the hugs had been administered and the patients were feeling the effects Roy took hold of his daughter under her arms and sat her down on the gurney.
“Now I want you to promise me that you’ll never do anything like that again.” Roy talked seriously to his daughter.
“But I can’t do that Daddy.” Jenny declared as she tilted her head to look up at her daddy. “That’s not fair for you to even ask me to promise that. You and Uncle Johnny do it all the time.”
The equipment bay was quiet once again the reserved laughter of remembering Jen’s engagement announcement died as they remembered her refusal to promise. Somewhere in the back ground they were aware of the phone ringing but paid little attention to it.
“What are you going to do now?” Johnny asked his somber partner, he had to keep him talking, to somehow get him to move forward and look past the rescue today. “I could help you teach her some more First Aid.”
“She already knows more than is safe for her to know.” Roy looked over at his partner, “I think I’m going to start a campaign to seal up all openings under sheds.”
“Well look at the bright side,” Johnny persisted, “That shed is history and as fast as she is growing she won’t fit in those tight spaces for much longer.”
Captain Stanley walked up the side of the squad making sure his footsteps could be heard, “that was Rampart, the boy is out of surgery now. They are going to keep him in intensive care for a few days but he’s doing well and unless there are any complications he should keep his leg. They expect a full recovery.”
“That’s great,” Johnny showed excitement. “Cap you know you’re talking about Roy’s future son in law.”
Roy scoffed, “She’ll forget all about it by bedtime tonight.”
“What the boy friend or waiting till she’s 50 to get married.” Johnny tried harder to get his partner to smile again.
“How are you doing there pal?” Hank nudged Roy’s shoulder gently, “That was a tough run for you today.”
Roy leaned back against the squad and looked at his captain silently, he knew they just wanted to help and they were but he really didn’t know what words to use to answer his question.
“The pastor of our church has a favorite story that he likes to tell, he tells it several times a year but always around Easter.” Roy began to talk and although neither Cap nor Johnny knew what he was trying to say they were content that he was talking and quietly listened. “It’s a story about a railroad switch man who is responsible to see that the rails are switched so that a passenger train can safely cross a bridge over a river. This one night after dark he goes to switch the rails just prior to a passenger train going through and the automatic locking system doesn’t work. So he has to cross the bridge and manually hold the lever tight until the train passes or the train will derail and fall in the river killing everyone on board. As the story goes he is just across the bridge holding the lever tight when he hears his young daughter calling to him and can tell that she’s crossing the bridge looking for him. He doesn’t have time to get her and get back to the lever so he has to choose between his daughter and the passengers on the train.”
Roy paused and looked at first his partner and then his Captain, “I’ve heard that story so many times I’ve lost count and I’ve always known how it is meant to make me feel but I’ve never felt the way I know I should. I always tell myself to make sure to teach my children never to play on the railroad tracks, to wait for me at the booth and I’ll be back soon, Make sure my wife knows to never let the children go out alone.”
“Today on the run, I felt it, I felt what it meant to risk my daughter’s life for that of another.”
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