Home | Emergency Stories by Tammy | Send Stories | Fun Page | Guest Writer's
Author’s note: This is a purely fun piece I wrote for my 9 year old daughter who is a big fan of Emergency and Johnny Owies. I got the inspiration for this story when we were assisting with a Girl Scout clean up at one of our state parks. My daughter started to slide toward the edge of a small cliff and I rushed to the rescue. I slid past her (luckily not off the cliff) and stopped myself by dropping to my knees. My daughter yelled to my husband, “Daddy, mommy pulled a Johnny.” My husband came to our rescue and my daughter declared him to be the perfect Roy, always in control of the situation. So here is my story. Hope you enjoy. Be kind and leave feed back.
“Is that their plane mommy?” eleven year old Erin excitedly pointed to the large plane that had just touched down on the runway of the airport. She was standing with her mom on the roof top observation deck watching anxiously for the plane carrying her friend Jennifer De Soto who was visiting with her family all the way from California.
Erin’s mom put her hand up to shade her eyes from the glaring July sun. “Well, it does say Continental Airlines on it.”
“It’s them, it’s them, I know it is. Come on mom, we have to go down to the gate and meet them,” the enthusiastic young girl began pulling on her mom’s hand.
Candee smiled and looked down at her daughter, “Okay, okay, don’t get your britches in a bunch.”
On the plane Jennifer De Soto sat next to her mom, her face glued to the window, talking a mile a minute. “It looks warm out there. I wonder if it will be as warm as California? Erin said we could go to the pool. I hope it’s a big pool. It’s so cool that we get to stay with her and her family. She said us kids get to sleep out in their pop up trailer in their back yard. I’m glad Chris had Boy Scout Camp and couldn’t come, where would he sleep? Not with us girls! Erin said her Girl Scout Troop is working on their Bronze Star Award and we can help out.”
The melodic voice of the stewardess brought a halt to the one sided conversation, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain seated until the plane has come to a complete stop at the gate, and thank you for flying Continental.”
“Man I tell you Roy, she may have the voice of an angel, but she is as cold as ice. I simply got up to ask her for a pillow and you know what she did, she said that we were almost here and that the pilot would be turning on the seat belt sign and I needed to return to my seat.” Johnny slumped down in his seat looking dejected. “I mean, all I wanted was a pillow.”
Roy smiled. “And the time before that you wanted a blanket, and the time before that a drink, and the time before that a magazine.”
Johnny turned to look at Roy, his mouth open as if to say something, then he closed it and turned back to face the front. Looking back at Roy he finally said, “I was just trying to be friendly. Nothing wrong with being friendly.”
The plane came to a stop and everyone stood up and started the slow process of exiting. Jenny led the way, bouncing down the aisle followed by Joanne, then Roy, with a moping Johnny bringing up the rear. Joanne paused for a second and whispered back to Roy, “I’ll trade you miss chatter box for mister mope.”
Roy chuckled, “Sure, you got a deal.” Squeezing past Joanne he caught up with Jennifer who was diligently quizzing the pilots, “Come on Pumpkin, our friends will be waiting.”
Withouttaking a breath, Jenny turned and bounded down the steps to the tarmac, “Will Erin be here to greet us? How far do you think they live from the airport? I wonder what kind of car they have. I hope it’s big enough to fit us all.”
“Dan said that he had to work today, but that Erin and her mom would be here to meet us.” Roy said, barely getting a word in.
Johnny, coming out of his funk chimed in, “I’m glad we will finally get to meet Candee. It was too bad that only Dan and his oldest daughter Erin where able to come out when they had the National EMS Conference in L.A. a couple years ago. If I remember correctly their youngest daughter Kelly had to have her tonsils removed.”
“Yeah, poor kid. Candee said she was just miserable.” Joanne knew what it was like to have a child stuck in the hospital. Although not related by blood, Joanne swore that Jenny took after Johnny more than she did Roy in her ability to get into trouble.
Joanne smiled as she heard Jenny’s excited voice urging Roy on, “There they are daddy, come on, there’s Erin and her mom, come on.” Jenny broke into a run, greeting her friend as if they were long lost sisters. Looking at them, they could have been twins. Both wore their hair long and straight down their backs hanging just below their hips, almost touching the hems of their mini dresses. Their white go go boots glinted in the sun light.
Roy walked up to the tall curly haired woman standing next to the two girls, “You must be Dan’s wife, Candee.”
“And you must be Roy, welcome to Ohio.” Candee said as she pulled him into a big welcoming hug. Releasing him, she turned to the woman of the group and embraced her, “Joanne, it is so good to finally meet you.” Turning to the last member of the group she smiled and gave him a warm hug, “Johnny, I presume. I’m glad that you were able to make it. Dan said you busted up your leg a couple months ago. I hope it didn’t give you any problems on the trip out.”
Johnny was slightly taken back by the warm greeting, “Uh… yeah, I mean no … no problems. A little stiff maybe. My knee still tries to give out every now and then, but not enough to keep me from the job.”
“Well when we get back to our place you can stretch out on the back deck and enjoy the sunshine. Let’s go find your bags, shall we? I think I heard Erin and Jenny offer to carry them all out to the car.” Candee said as she turned and took her daughter’s hand, squeezing it affectionately.
“Uh uh, you’re going to carry them all.”
“Not me, my job’s driving the car. I brought you along to haul the luggage.”
Mother and daughter continued the teasing banter as they headed to the baggage claim area, Jenny bouncing and giggling along beside them. Joanne put her arm around Roy’s waist and followed along with Johnny bringing up the rear.
Soon they had the luggage loaded on the top of the Dodge station wagon and were heading down the highway. Jenny and Erin sat in the back rear facing seat excitedly making plans for the week while Johnny and Roy and Joanne enjoyed a brief tour. First they headed west into the heart of the city, driving past German Village, where the streets were still paved in cobblestone and the houses resembled a small European village. On the other side of downtown proper, they turned north and headed toward the campus area. The University had a very large hospital which the highway curved around. Almost immediately the highway curved back the other direction to circumvent another large hospital. The curves where both very quick and Roy and Johnny could easily imagine during adverse weather conditions the two hospitals receiving numerous accident victims. Candee confirmed their suspicions and informed them that the dangerous area had been nicknamed the ‘hospital curves’ not just for their proximity to the two hospitals, but also due to the number of accidents.
A short time later they exited the highway and headed a little further west to the edge of one of the suburbs where they turned into a small three road neighborhood. Candee guided the car into the drive of a large bi level house, that backed up to a golf course, and pulled into the garage. Everyone piled out and up the half flight of stairs into the large family room.
“Hello, we’re out back,” came a voice from the other side of a large sliding screen door.
“Grammy,” Erin squealed and bolted around the large dining room table, heading for the door. “Come on Jenny, I want you to meet my grandma.”
Jenny paused and looked to her parents. Roy smiled and swatted her on the backside, “Go ahead, we’ll get our stuff settled and be right out.”
“I’ll take you down to your rooms and you can freshen up.” Candee led them to a set of steps that went halfway down to the front door and then turned and went the rest of the way down. The lower half of the house was half way underground in the front and all the way underground in the back. She explained that this kept the house cooler and they didn’t need to use as much energy on air conditioning. She explained that Dan and his dad designed the house when it was built to be energy efficient. The front faced the south and had large windows to capture the full strength of the sun in the winter, the lower half of the house was underground to cool the house in the summer, and solar panels on the roof gathered energy to supplement the electricity. She showed Roy and Joanne to the first door on the right and Johnny to the second door. She explained that they could stay in the girls’ rooms since the girls were anxious to sleep in the camper. The three guests were surprised to find waterbeds in the rooms. Candee smiled and advised them that it didn’t take long to get use to sleeping on one, just to be careful and not make too big of waves. The last remark she said smiling at Joanne and winking. Joanne blushed and looked up at Roy who was looking at the bed with an intriguing smile on his face. With that Candee excused herself and headed back upstairs to check on her mother-in-law and the girls.
Roy turned and looked at Joanne who smiled widely back at him, “Uhm, Johnny, could you let Jenny know that we will be up in a little while. We’re going to rest up a little.” Roy closed and locked the door behind him leaving Johnny standing in the hall staring at the door with a perturbed look on his face. From behind the secured door he heard the distinct sounds of Joanne’s giggles and Roy commenting that ‘she wasn’t kidding about the waves’.
“Rest my eye,” he mumbled as he stowed his bag in his room and headed back upstairs.
Walking onto the back deck, Johnny found Candee and another older woman sitting and watching as the girls ran around the back yard. Candee stood and introduced Dan’s mother, Susan, who was a nurse at Children’s Hospital. Johnny shook her hand and accepted the cold beer Candee offered to him. Walking over to the railing he leaned on it and looked over the large yard and the golf course just beyond. The deck was level with the top floor of the house and sat on a hill which sloped down to the rest of the yard. Jenny and Erin were watching a younger girl with two brown curly pigtails show off a string of cartwheels, round offs, and back hand springs.
“Kelly has ambitions to become the next Cathy Rigby,” Candee said as she came and stood by the railing. She smiled and looked down at the railing. “I don’t know how many times I’ve had to tell her to get down off this railing, that it isn’t a balance beam.”
“I still think she’s going to be a vet or a park ranger of some type,” Susan chimed in. “You guys don’t still have that snake she found last week, do you?”
Johnny’s eyes got wide as he looked around. “Did you say snake?”
“Don’t worry Johnny, it wasn’t a rattler, it was just a red Rat Snake. And no mom, we don’t still have it. We took it to the rangers over at Highbanks,” Dan said as he came through the back door, still dressed in his white uniform shirt and dark navy blue pants. Reaching out he shook Johnny’s hand. “It’s good to see you. How’s everyone back in L.A.?”
“The guys at the station said to say hi. Mike told me that I wasn’t to come back with out your Lasagna recipe, Candee. Dix said to say hello and to give Erin and Kelly hugs.”
The guys talked for a little while longer before Dan looked around and asked, “Where are Roy and Joanne?
Candee looked at her watch, “It’s been a little over a half an hour, I hope they are feeling okay. Did they say anything to you Johnny?”
Johnny’s cheeks turned a little red and he looked down at the bottle in his hand, “They, um, well that is, they said, um…”
“We decided to rest up a little. It was a long flight.” Roy said smiling as he and Joanne joined the group. “Dan, it’s great to see you.”
Introductions were made to Dan’s mother; who then excused herself stating she had to get home before the traffic got bad. Candee thanked her for watching after Kelly and taking her to Gymnastics. The girls were called to come say goodbye to their grandmother and get cleaned up as they were going out to Pizza House for dinner. Shouts of ‘Yeah Pizza House’ resounded as they charged through the rooms. Dan changed out of his uniform and soon the group was piling into the two cars for a filling meal of pizzas and ice cream for desert.
Later, after the girls were tucked into their sleeping bags, the adults sat out under the stars taking in the beauty of the night. You’ve got a really nice place here,” Roy commented looking up to the vast array of stars. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many stars except when we are in the mountains camping.”
“Thanks,” Dan replied. “We really lucked out when we found this property. All the other houses have been here for at least a couple decades. This lot and the one across the street were the only vacant ones. You should have seen the neighbors’ faces when they saw this thing going in. The design my dad and I drew up didn’t quite match the single story houses of the 1950’s. We did a lot of the work ourselves to cut down on costs so we were able to do a little more with it than if we had to hire it all out.”
“You know that sounds like a great idea. I’ve wanted to get a small ranch out in the foothills, but land is so expensive out there. I hadn’t thought about looking at some of the abandoned or run down places. I bet they’d be going for a lot less and I could work on the place on my off days. Roy could help. Right pal? Maybe I could even ask some of the other guys.” Johnny sat back and got that ‘look’ in his eye.
“On that note, I’dbetter say my good nights and head off to bed before he starts having me build a barn”
“A barn! You’re right Roy; I’ll need a barn too. I could get a couple horses.”
“Good night Junior. Joanne, are you coming?”
Joanne stood up and put her hand in Roy’s out stretched one. Turning back she asked, “What time do we need to be up tomorrow for this Girl Scout thing?”
“The clean up starts at 10:00 am, so we should probably leave by 8:00. We’ll need to get there early to help set up. How about I wake you up at 6:30?” Candee stood up to go in herself. “I suggest we all head in.”
“Sounds like a wise idea,” Dan agreed, “I’m bushed. Johnny you coming?”
“Hmm? Oh yeah,” Johnny replied as he came out of his daydream. He stood up, stretched, and then took a step toward the house. His right leg buckled under him and he grabbed the rail for support.
“You okay Johnny?” Roy asked as he stepped over to assess the situation. Dan had taken up position slightly behind Johnny to assist in sitting him down if needed.
“Yeah, it’s no problem. Brackett said my knee might act up every now and then if I don’t stretch it. Guess I’ve just been sitting too much today.”
“Do you need a brace? We could stop by one of the hospitals tomorrow,” Dan offered.
“You might want to stay home tomorrow,” Roy suggested at the same time.
“What is this, stereo mothering? I’m fine. I just need some rest.”
Good nights were said and everyone headed off to bed.
The morning came all too soon and after a quick breakfast the two groups headed out for the state park and the clean up. Erin’s Girl Scout troop had organized a clean up of the park. It encompassed over eleven hundred acres of fields, woods, ravines and streams. Troops from all over their area of Ohio had volunteered, along with other community members. The park was divided up with the help of the rangers and as groups checked in they were given trash bags and assigned a section.
While Joanne assisted Candee with the preparations for the volunteer lunch, Roy helped Dan set up the first aid tent. Johnny found himself shanghaied by Erin, Kelly, and Jenny who dragged him off to the woods to help clean their section.
As they headed for the trail Dan yelled over to them, “You guys be careful out there.”
Erin stopped, turned and looked at her dad and rolled her eyes, “We will, besides we have Johnny with us.”
“Why do you think I told you to be careful?”
“Hey!” Johnny stopped and looked back with his hands on his hips.
“Daaad!” Erin sighed loudly, then turned and took Johnny’s arm, “Come on Johnny, just ignore him.”
An hour later, the girls and Johnny were still diligently diving into brush, pulling paper, plastic containers, glass bottles and all sorts of trash out with their gloved hands. Jenny spotted a large brown paper grocery bag a couple feet off the trail near a drop off to the creek below. After picking up the bag, she stepped closer to the edge of the drop off and looked down. The hot weather had dried up the creek, exposing a pile of shattered glass bottles approximately 10 feet down.
She waved her arm and shouted to the group, “Hey come over here!” Pointing behind her she continued, “There is a large pile of…” Her words trailed off as the fragile shale rock beneath her feet snapped and slid out from under her dropping her to her knees and then her stomach as the crumbling rock took her over the edge.
“Jenny! Hang on, I’ll be right there.” Johnny shouted as he sprinted toward the panicked girl. Crouching down next to her he reached for her hands to pull her back up.
At that moment Kelly spotted a green object slithering behind Johnny. “Oh look!” she shouted excitedly, “A garden snake!”
Johnny stood up and spun around, “A snake, where?” At that moment, his right knee decided it’dhad enough activity for the day and buckled out from under him. Arms wind milling in a vain attempt to keep his balance, Johnny disappeared backwards over the edge.
Erin and Kelly stared in shock as they heard a sickening thud and a crunch of glass as Johnny landed on the pile of glass below. Seconds later, Jenny screamed as her grip on the edge gave way and she slid the remainder of the way down.
Carefully working her way over to the edge, Erin lay down on her belly and peered over. “Jenny, are you okay?”
“I got pretty scraped up on those sharp rocks and I think I twisted my ankle when I landed. I’m worried about Johnny though, he hasn’t moved and I think I see blood on the ground under him.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll get help.” Backing up from the edge, Erin stood and turned to her sister. “Kelly, I need you to run back as fast as you can. Get Dad and Roy. Tell them what happened. Tell them Jenny’s okay, but Johnny maybe hurt badly.”
Nodding with wide eyes Kelly turned and raced back down the path at full speed.
Erin turned and scanned the edge of the cliff in either direction. Further down, a tree had toppled, creating a ramp down into the creek bed. Pulling her red bandana off she tied it to a tree next to the spot where Johnny and Jenny had gone off the cliff, then carefully made her way to the downed tree. Climbing up onto the top of it, she sat down and scooted down to where she could easily jump off. As soon as her feet touched the ground she sprinted the short distance back to the side of her friends.
Jenny had scooted closer to Johnny, carefully avoiding the shards of glass. She looked up as Erin approached. “His respirations are about 28 and they are pretty shallow and labored. His pulse is around 120. It feels kind of weak.”
“Has he shown any signs of consciousness?” The girls had picked up quite a bit of knowledge from their fathers over the years and both had achieved their first aider badges.
Jenny shook her head, “I called his name several times with no response. I didn’t want to do a sternal rub. I didn’t know how hard to push and I was afraid that if I pushed too hard the glass under him would hurt him even more.”
Erin knelt down next to Johnny and scanned him from head to toe. For a moment she hesitated. She had never been trained to handle something this big before. “I… I think I remember my dad mentioning looking for blood or fluid or something like that in the ears if they suspect a head injury. Do you see any in his left ear?”
The answer was negative for both girls. “I’m worried about the blood I see coming out from under him over here.” Jenny pointed to a spot about the middle of his back. “It’s not a lot, but still… If he landed a piece of glass that stabbed him, it could have also hit his lung. That would explain why he is having trouble breathing. Do you think we should check?
“Let me think for a moment.” Erin rocked back on her heals and chewing on her fingernail. “Let’s do a quick head to toe to get a better idea of what we are dealing with first. You check his arm and leg on your side and I’ll check my side.”
Quickly and efficiently the girls checked the limbs and were grateful to not find any broken bones. They were in the process of deciding what to do next when both girls heard a low moan and looked down to see Johnny’s eye lids fluttering.
“Uncle Johnny, Uncle Johnny … can you hear me? Come on, you’ve got to wakeup,” Jenny pleaded.
Erin was saying simultaneously, “Johnny, come on, wakeup. We need you to wakeup, Johnny.”
Johnny groaned a little louder and he reflexively brought his hand up to his head. “Wha… What… What happened? Jen… Where’s Jenny?”
“It’s okay, Uncle Johnny, I’m right here. I’m fine, just a little scrapped up.” Not wanting to upset him, she decided not to tell him about her ankle that had really started to hurt her. She took his hand in hers and gently squeezed it.
Erin reached up and took his hand that he had brought to his head and brought it back to his side. “You need to stay still. We don’t know how bad you are injured. You fell off the cliff onto a pile of glass. Jenny says she sees some blood coming out from under you. You were unconscious for a while, but we didn’t see any fluid in your ears.”
Johnny smiled slightly. “Sou … Sounds like… I’m… in… good hands. Little… har… hard to… breathe. Think… piece of… glass… hit lung. Jen… how… how much… blood?”
“About the size of my fist. It hasn’t gotten any bigger.”
“Good. Glass… must… must be… acting like a… a… cork.”
“Should we roll you over and check?” Erin asked as she reached for his opposite side.
“No!” Johnny said forcefully bringing his arm up and blocking her. A cry of pain escaped his lips and he brought both his arms across his chest as a wave of coughing brought tears to his eyes.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you!” Erin cringed back and hugged her knees to her chest.
Reaching out he found her hand and squeezed it. His voice was softer when he spoke, “It’s okay… You… didn’t hurt… hurt me. I just moved… too fast. As… as for move… moving me, don’t… have… enough… man… power. Need… need to wait… for… for… re… reinforce… ments. Get… getting… c… cold.”
Erin and Jenny looked at each other and mouthed the word “shock”. Slipping their blue jeans jackets off, they covered his upper body. Erin then gathered some stones and wood and put it under his feet, elevating them. “Here Johnny, this should help.”
Erin looked up to the spot above her and could just make out the red of her bandana. What was taking Kelly so long, and were where her dad and Roy?
The distance back to the check in shelter wasn’t that far, but the path was uneven and more than once Kelly’s knees met the ground the hard way. Her knees hurt and her palms stung. She just wanted to sit down and cry, but she couldn’t - her sister and friend needed her. She had to get help. It was just 10 minutes later that she burst out of the woods and sprinted across the open ground toward the group of adults. “Mommy, Daddy, help!” she shouted as loud as her winded lungs allowed.
As a group the adults turned to the sound of a child in distress. Immediately Candee broke from the group and gathered her youngest daughter in her arms. “Kelly, what is it? What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
Dan and Roy, who had been alerted by Joanne, emerged from the first aid tent behind the shelter. “What’s up? Kelly are you okay?” Dan dropped to his knees in front of his wife and daughter sitting on one of the benches.
The little girl swiped at the tears running down her cheeks with the sleeve of her jacket and then held her hands out to her dad. “I hurt my hands and knees when I tripped and fell running back here.”
Dan gently took the small hands into his and looked at the scraped up palms. “Don’t worry angel, we’ll get those cleaned up.”
Roy turned to get some saline solution when Kelly’s next words stopped him in his tracks.
“But Daddy, you have to help Jenny and Johnny first. They fell off a cliff. Erin told me to run back here as fast as I could. She said that Jenny was okay, but Johnny may be hurt really badly.”
Joanne stood up next to Roy, the worry on her face echoed on his. “Kelly, did she say anything else? Did you hear Jenny?” Roy probed.
“I heard Jenny tell Erin that she got scraped up on some of the sharp rocks and that she may have twisted her ankle. She also said that Johnny wasn’t moving and that there was some blood on the ground under him.” She looked up at her Mom with big tear filled eyes, “It’s all my fault! If I hadn’t yelled about the garden snake behind Johnny then he wouldn’t have fallen off the cliff.”
Candee hugged her daughter tight, gently rocking her. “It’s okay honey; it’s not your fault. It was just an accident. Daddy and Roy will go find them and take care of them.”
Already Roy and Dan were gathering some basic supplies into a pack and conferring with the Rangers. It was decided that the two of them and one of the Rangers would go back to the scene while the second Ranger called for help and then directed the rescue squad and ambulance when it arrived. With gear in hand the three headed back down the trail Kelly had emerged from. How much time had passed before Kelly had reached them? How long would it take for them to reach the scene? What would they find when they got there? Would the squad and ambulance arrive in time? All these questions ran through the worried minds of the two fathers.
Jenny looked up from her injured ankle that was being held steady by the make shift splint Erin had fashioned out of branches and their belts and looked over to Johnny who was laying unconscious next to her. “How long has it been?”
Erin looked at her watch, “Fifteen minutes. I’m sure they’re on their way. How are you doing?”
Jenny shrugged her shoulders, “Okay I guess. My ankle is not hurting as much, my hands and arms sting from where they were scratched up, but that’s about all. I just wish they would get here quicker. I’m worried about Johnny. He hasn’t opened his eyes in a while.”
“His breathing hasn’t gotten any worse. I’ll check his pulse again.” Erin gently lifted his right arm and pressed her two fingers into the groove on the wrist just below the thumb. Silently counting in her head she watched as the second hand slowly made its way from the 12 to the 3 and then multiplied the number in her head. “I got 124, and it still feels weak.”
Jenny leaned closer to Johnny, “Uncle Johnny, its Jenny, your little princess. Come on, you have to wake up. Please Uncle Johnny, daddy’s going to be here real soon, please hang on.” The brave front she had been trying to hide behind finally broke and tears poured forth from closed eyes. “It’s all my fault, he wouldn’t be hurt if I hadn’t gone off the path so far. Now he’s hurt and he is going to die and it’s all my fault.”
Erin jumped up and went around to the side of her friend and gave her a big hug. “It’s not your fault, Jenny. It was just a stupid accident. And Johnny’s not going to die, you’ll see. My dad and your dad will be here any moment.”
Jenny felt a hand bump into her leg as it blindly felt it way to rest on her thigh. Looking down she saw Johnny’s eyes partially open and the corner of his mouth pulling up into a half smile. “Don’t … give … give up … on me … yet princ … princess.”
Just then Erin put her finger up to her lips. “Shhh, I think I hear something.”
A second later Jenny’s eyes lit up. “I hear it too. It’s our dads.”
Looking up to the edge of the cliff the two girls shouted at the top of their lungs. “Daddy! Daddy, over here!”
Both girls broke into big smiles when they heard two familiar voices answer back, “Erin, Jenny, where are you?”
Erin stood up and shouted back, “Look for my red bandana tied to a tree. We’re in the creek bed below it. Be careful the rocks are really loose at the edge.”
The girls could now hear boots crashing through the brush and seconds later saw three men standing on the edge of the cliff above them.
“Hurry Daddy, Johnny’s hurt and needs help fast,” Erin said pointing behind her.
“We’ll be right down sweetheart.” Dan scanned the creek bed for a way down.
“Over here Daddy,” Erin said as she ran back to the fallen tree, “You can get down over here.”
Within minutes, Dan was kneeling next to his daughter holding her tightly as Roy and the Ranger made their way over to Johnny and Jenny. “Are you okay sweetheart? Are you hurt anywhere?” Dan held her at arms distance scanning her from head to toe.
“I’m fine Daddy, but you have to help Johnny,” Erin said as she dragged her dad toward the downed man. “He was unconscious at first, but we didn’t see any fluid in his ears. His pulse was 124 and weak, and his respirations were about 28. He was breathing really shallow. He woke up then went unconscious again and then woke up again. He doesn’t appear to have any broken bones in his arms and legs, but he does have blood coming out from under him. He said he was cold.” Erin stood on her tiptoes and whispered up to her dad, “I think he was going into shock so I covered him and elevated his feet.”
Dan smiled proudly down to his daughter and ruffled the hair on top of her head, “You did great, Erin. Roy and I will take over from here.” Kneeling on the ground next to his friend, Dan smiled, “You know Johnny, if you wanted a tour of our ER you could have waited for the conference. We had one planned for the second day.”
Johnny half smiled back. “You know me … got … got to be … first … to check … out the nurses.” Turning his head he looked over to Roy on his other side. “How … How’s Jenny?”
“She’ll be fine partner. Her ankles twisted, but it doesn’t appear to be broken. She’s a little scraped up but mostly she’s worried about you.”
“Tell her … tell her I’m…just a little ti … tired… and a little … a little scraped up too.” Johnny got out as his eye lids again became too heavy to stay open.
“Johnny, Johnny can you hear me? Come on partner, we’re not out of the woods yet. You have to stay with me.” Roy reached over and tapped his partner’s cheek.
“Juss tire n… n col. M still here.”
“Just hang in there, okay? The Ranger called back to base camp. The squad just arrived. They’ll be here with a stokes in a few minutes. We’ll get an I.V. in you and some oxygen on you. We’ll take a look at your back and get it patched up. Then we’ll load you up in the squad for a quick ride to the hospital.” Dan took another quick set of vitals, checking with his stethoscope heart and lung sounds then grabbing a quick B.P. He looked up at Roy, “Breath sounds are diminished on his left side, so what ever is affecting his breathing is coming from that side. When we roll him, let’s roll him onto his right side so we can see what’s going on back there. I didn’t feel any rigidity in his abdomen so I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have any internal injuries. Johnny, you still with us?”
“Mmm … huh.”
“Listen Johnny, we are going to roll you onto your side so Roy can get a look at your back. We are going to have someone holding your head for spinal care. Now listen Johnny, this is important. Let US do the work. Okay?”
“Okay, on the count of three we are going to roll toward me.” Dan
Roy had taken out a big pressure dressing and placed it over the bottom of a glass bottle that was sticking into Johnny’s mid back. There was no way in determining how much of the bottle had buried itself into him. “It looks like just one penetrating piece, thankfully. It’s not bleeding a lot right now; it appears that the piece of glass is acting like a plug. Sometimes I wonder how you get so lucky, Johnny.”
“Luck … lucky?” Johnny panted out as they rolled him back onto his back.
“Yeah, lucky. You fall off a cliff and don’t break any bones. You land in a pile of glass and only one piece stabs into you.”
“And you have two good lookers taking care of you,” Dan added with a wink at Erin.
“Yeah, th… girlss… di … grea ..”
“The girls, who’s talking about the girls, I was talking about Roy and me.”
Roy looked up to the edge of the cliff, hearing the commotion of the approaching crew. “Looks like your ride is here, partner.”
In short order, the engine and paramedic crew from the Township Fire Department had Johnny neatly packaged into the stokes with an I.V. and oxygen. Dan had stood back holding Erin’s hand. He was certain if he let go she would be up there telling the guys from the squad how to do their job. Roy hoisted Jenny onto his back piggy back style and the group headed for the clearing.
Entering the clearing, they were greeted by the Medic, the Engine, the Rangers and a throng of concerned parents. It wasn’t until they were in their mother’s arms that the two brave girls broke down and cried. Erin buried her head on her Mom’s shoulder. Sitting on the grass, Candee soon had her daughter’s tears dried and the young girl engaged in a detailed description of the events. Joanne sat next to her daughter on the bench in the Squad and helped to settle her down for the ride to the hospital. After some really long hugs and some quite words, Joanne soon had her daughter smiling. They talked about the differences of her daddy’s work truck that could not transport patients and the vehicle the paramedics here drove. Jenny remarked that they were much like the ambulances back home, but with more equipment.
They finished stabilizing Johnny and loaded him into the Medic Squad. It was decided that Roy would accompany them and the rest would follow. After last minute instructions from “paramedic” Erin, the doors were closed and Dan slapped the side of the vehicle to let the driver know all was secure. The fifteen minute drive seemed like an eternity to Roy who held his daughter snuggled in close as they watched the expert hands of his colleague tend to Johnny. The Squad pulled up to the emergency room bay and the typical flurry of activity ensued. The two paramedics whisked the stretcher carrying Johnny into one of the treatment rooms, providing the doctors with an updated list of vitals. Roy carried Jenny over to a waiting gurney and walked with her into the treatment room were one of the nurses set about taking her history and cleaning up her scrapes. A doctor came in and looked over the situation and ordered x-rays of her ankle to be certain it was just a sprain. Joanne arrived and accompanied Jenny as she was escorted in a wheelchair to the x-ray lab.
Roy numbly walked to the door that he had seen Johnny wheeled through. He put his hand to the door and took a deep breathe. A hand on his shoulder stopped him from going through.
“He’s not in there,” Dan said. “They took him up to surgery. He’s doing okay, but there was definitely damage to his left lung. They are going to remove the glass and explore around a little bit and clean him up. The biggest thing they are worried about right now is infection. God knows what was on that bottle.” Dan’s expert hand felt the slight tremor of muscles as the adrenaline released from Roy’s body. “Come on buddy, let’s go find a place to sit down and have a cup of coffee before you fall down.”
Johnny squirmed restlessly in the hospital bed as he laid aside one of the magazines the candy striper had brought him. It had been five days since the accident and two days since he had come out of ICU. After the surgery, as expected, he spiked a very high temperature and flirted with pneumonia due to the dirty bottle that had infiltrated his lung. Thankfully, with a strong round of antibiotics they were able to keep the infection at bay. Johnny scratched absently at the chest tube still sticking out of his side. The doctors had said that if all the tests came back good that they would remove it tomorrow morning along with all the other tubes sticking out of him. His thoughts were interrupted by a soft knock on the door.
“Hey Junior, you up for visitors?” Roy asked as he poked his head inside.
Johnny sat up a little straighter in bed and straightened up the sheets, “As long as they are better looking than you, Pally.”
Roy looked back out in the hall, smiled, and then looked back at Johnny, “I don’t know, they look pretty motley to me.”
From out in the hall they heard a chorus of ‘Hey
Soon the room was filled with the remainder of the De Soto clan and Dan and his family. The girls chatted excitedly about their adventure. Kelly shared her skinned up knees and hands with Johnny. Jenny demonstrated her skill at walking around with crutches. Johnny was glad to hear that her ankle was only sprained and she would not have to go back to California with the crutches. Erin had fun checking Johnny’s vitals when the nurse came in to update his chart. Candee promised to bake one her famous turtle cakes when Johnny got out of the hospital and Joanne was already planning his care when they returned home, insisting that he stay with them until he is able to drive himself. Dan and Roy filled him in on all the events of the convention and that his ‘accident’ was part of their discussion on the need for more trained personnel in rural areas.
Plans were finalized for Joanne and Jenny to return to California on their scheduled flight and for Roy to stay until Johnny was released from the hospital and cleared to fly. As the conversation wrapped up, Erin looked over to find Johnny fast asleep. Ever the consummate caregiver, she quickly ushered the group out the door, insisting that Johnny needed his rest.
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