Disclaimer: I don’t own the guys from Emergency so please don’t sue me. I promise to put them back in one piece when I’m done with them.

 

An interesting shift leads to interesting dreams as seen through Joe’s eyes.

 

Dear Journal,

 

After a day like today I have to write a lot to you, my middle of the night dream catcher. My brain is going a hundred miles an hour so let me dive into the setup and the dream that has me wide awake and emotional. Hopefully everything will make sense. To give you a time reference it is currently 0230. I usually get up or work at 0500, hopefully I’m done writing by then. Coffee works wonders!! Without further delay, let me dive into what is tugging at my heartstrings right now. First the set up…

*********************************************************************

Yesterday, I was on duty - sort of. I didn’t report to Rampart, but rather to one of our affiliate hospitals. Even with all the emotional highs and lows I see day in and day out at Rampart, I was not prepared for the emotions of today. Where I was and why I was there I will get into in just a second. Even as I write this now I am pretty emotional so bear with me.

 

Yesterday, I spent the day over at the Los Angeles chapter of Shriners Hospital for Children.

 

AN: Shriners Hospitals for Children Los Angeles is affiliated with Harbor UCLA Medical Center, the real Rampart General.

 

The work they do there is truly amazing. Everything is at no cost to the patient either. Why was I at Shriners instead of Rampart? In essence, work. At Rampart I deal a lot with neurosurgery and kids. My work with kids had me working with the Shriners today.

 

I arrived at the hospital and was met by the Chief of Staff who happens to be an old friend of mine, Bill. Bill smiled at me, “Morning Joe.”

 

I smiled, “Morning Bill.”

 

“You up for a full day?”

 

“Sure. Would you mind if I meet some of the patients at some point today?”

 

“No actually that’s the reason you’re here today.”

 

I was confused, “Okay, now you lost me.”

 

“Lets take a walk and I’ll explain.”

 

“Okay. Lead on.”

 

As we walked Bill asked, “How are things over at Rampart?”

 

“Up and down. For the most part, though, people are behaving.”

 

“That’s good.”

 

As Bill gave me the grand tour, two things struck me about the building itself. It is much like Rampart with one glaring exception. Since the hospital treats patients from age newborn to 18 years old the hospital was quite cheery. I think I’m going to the powers-that-be at Rampart about cheering up our look.

 

I also noticed it was pretty quiet, “It’s a quiet morning.”

 

Bill chuckled, “That’s because you’re used to emergency medicine.”

 

I laughed, “Yeah I guess you’re right.”

 

Bill smiled, “Don’t worry this place will come to life in about thirty minutes.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Lets go grab some coffee.”

 

My ears perked up, “Sounds good.”

*********************************************************************

Bill and I headed for the cafeteria. He asked, “Ya hungry?”

 

“No thanks. I ate before I came over since I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Bill and I grabbed our coffee and found a table. Bill looked me in the eye. I thought, ‘Uh-oh this is serious.’

 

“Joe, before stuff starts really cranking around here I want to give the same heads up I give to everybody who isn’t around these kids all the time.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“It won’t be easy to see a lot of these kids. Hell, it isn’t easy for us who work with them everyday. These kids are so strong though it really helps. If they get to you to much let me know. We have a quiet room for the staff to regroup in.”

 

“Okay Bill thanks.”

 

“You’re welcome Joe. Its not that I don’t think you can handle it I just wanted to warn you.”

 

“I understand Bill thanks.”

 

Bill and I finished our coffee. He smiled, “Time to get down to business.”

 

“Just point me in the direction you need me.”

 

“Well actually you’re here at the request of one of our patients.”

 

I was stunned, “Oh?”

 

“Yeah. Lemme introduce you to her doctor. He can give you more specific details. I was only asked to make sure you specifically were here today.”

 

“Okay.”

 

We headed for the elevator and the fourth floor.

 

“I want to introduce you to her doctor before he has to do rounds.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I had mentally mapped out the hospital and asked, “Fourth floor. Isn’t that some of your older kids?”

 

Bill grinned, “You were paying attention.”

 

I smiled, “In a hospital that I don’t know very well always; call it second nature and force of habit.”

 

“Nah, I call it just being good at your job. Knowing your working conditions and staff is half the battle.”

 

“You got that right Bill.”

 

“Speaking of which, how is your gang doing?”

 

“Good. Kel keeps a good reign on things. Dixie is being Dixie keeping Kel and I in check.”

 

We chuckled. Bill spoke, “Poor woman.”

 

I lightly smacked Bill and grinned, “Oh thanks.”

 

Bill grinned broadly, “Not a problem. How are the medics you work with doing?”

 

“Doing good. Everybody’s in one piece and surprisingly the people are being smart so the medics aren’t going nuts.”

 

“Good.”

 

We reached the fourth floor.

*********************************************************************

Bill spoke as we walked down the hall, “Joe, you’re about to meet James Smith. He’s one of our orthopedic surgeons and an all around good guy.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I immediately saw what Bill was talking about as we walked past some of the patients’ rooms. The older kids were already pulling at my heartstrings. How was I going to handle the younger kids?

 

Bill saw the emotions play on my face, “Just remember what I said Joe. There is no shame in admitting they get to you. They get to the best of us.”

 

I swallowed the lump that had formed in my throat, “Thanks Bill.”

 

“You’re welcome, Joe.”

 

Bill led me to a closed office door, “Here we go.”

*********************************************************************

Bill knocked on the door. Dr. James Smith answered from behind the door, “Come in.”

 

Bill held the door open as we walked in. James smiled when he saw Bill, “Good morning Bill.”

 

Bill smiled, “Good morning James. I’d like to meet Doctor Joe Early from Rampart General.”

 

Smiling, James stood and walked over to me, “Good to meet you Doctor Early.”

 

I smiled as we shook hands, “You too James. Please call me Joe.”

 

“Okay Joe. Would you like some coffee?”

 

“No thanks James. Bill and I just had some downstairs.”

 

“Okay. Let me get down to business with you before I do rounds.”

 

“Sure. What can I do for you?”

 

“Do you remember a patient of yours by the name of Erin Gayz?”

 

Immediately the name clicked in my mind, “Yeah she was brought in about a month ago by squad 51 after she fell off her bike and busted herself up pretty good. If I am not mistaken she has Cerebral Palsy.”

 

James turned serious, “No you’re not mistaken that’s her. She’s a surgical patient of mine.”

 

I was immediately worried, “Oh my. Why?”

 

“She needs a double gastrok lengthening as a result of her CP.”

 

“She’s only a teenager, too.”

 

“Yeah. I operate on her later today.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Before I do though she wanted to see you, along with somebody named Dixie and a couple guys named John and Roy. She said that besides the staff here you guys are the only ones who have ever really calmed her down.”

 

I smiled, “Dixie is the head nurse of Rampart’s emergency department. Johnny and Roy are the paramedics that took care of her. Normally Dixie would be here but not this week. She has a bunch of new nurses to break in.”

 

“Nough said.”

 

“As far as Johnny and Roy they are on duty so I don’t now if they’ll be able to come over here, but I’ll call the station and see.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I couldn’t keep the worry out of my voice when I asked, “How is Erin?”

 

“Nervous.”

 

“I bet. What does it look like as far as the surgery is concerned?”

 

“To be completely honest I won’t know exactly til I get her opened up. From her records and pre-op stuff it should be very successful.”

 

“Good.”

 

“Come on. I’ll start my rounds with Erin that way I can drop you off.”

 

“Thanks. Is there a phone in her room I can get an outside line on?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Good.”

 

Bill, James and I left James’s office. As we walked James spoke, “Thank you for coming down today Joe.”

 

“You’re welcome James. When Bill asked me I didn’t even think twice. I knew he wouldn’t ask unless it was important.”

 

Bill quickly added, “Not on days I know you’re working. Then again it’s just as rare for a patient to specifically request you.”

 

“I know.”

 

The three of us walked to a room at the corner of the main hallway and a side hall.

 

Bill lowered his voice so as not to wake any patients, “Joe, I’ll catch up with you later. Have me paged if you need anything.”

 

I lowered my voice and answered, “Will do, thanks Bill.”

 

Bill kept his voice down, “You’re welcome Joe. See you later James.”

 

James whispered, “You bet Bill.”

 

Bill turned and left.

*********************************************************************

James turned me and asked, “Ready to see her?”

 

Slightly nervous I replied, “Yeah.”

 

James and I quietly walked into Erin’s room. She was still sleeping. James stood at the foot of her bed and said, “Erin, time to wake up.”

 

Erin groaned and slowly opened her eyes, “Why?”

 

“Because I want to watch you walk one more time before surgery.”

 

“Argh. Okay.”

 

James motioned for me to wait in the hall about twenty feet down the main hall from Erin’s room. I made quick tracks before she was awake enough to see me.

 

I found myself thinking as I watched James help Erin out of bed, ‘Boy I hope Carson is good to 51’s today. Once Johnny and Roy find out who is asking for them, their nerves are going to be shot.’

 

Just a few minutes after I walked out into the hall, I saw a sleepy Erin standing in the doorway of her room. James and I smiled at the same time.

 

James asked, “Erin, would this be easier if you had a surprise?”

 

Erin replied groggily, “Yeah. This isn’t easy anyway. I’m sleepy and sore and everything.”

 

My heart sank at Erin’s words but I kept the smile on my face. James grinned, “Erin, look up the hall.”

 

I saw Erin smile as she looked up and saw me, “Doctor Early!”

 

I couldn’t help but chuckle at Erin’s excitement, “Yes Erin it’s me. Come here, nice and slow.”

 

Slowly and painfully Erin made her way toward me. My heart broke as I saw how much pain she was truly in. James was watching from behind taking a few last minute notes.

 

I kept my voice calm and encouraged her, “Come on Erin just a little more. A few more steps.”

 

Erin finally got to me and hugged me tight. I softened the tone of my voice knowing she was scared and nervous, “It’s okay Erin. You’re okay.”

 

Erin’s voice cracked just a bit, “I can’t believe you came. I didn’t think I was that important. I mean I am just some cripple with some road rash.”

 

I couldn’t help but pick Erin up and hug her tight to me as her words struck a deep chord with me. I took a quick breath and said, “Oh honey, you are important. You are a sweet, bright young lady.”

 

Erin stumbled a bit on her reply, “Th-thank you.”

 

I slowly started walking back toward Erin’s room with her in my arms, “You’re welcome sweetheart.”

 

“Doctor Early, do you know where Johnny, Roy and Dixie are?”

“They’re all on duty.”

 

Erin hung her head at this news, “Oh.”

 

I smiled, “Don’t worry though kiddo we’re going to call them.”

 

She was surprised, “We are? You’d do that for me?”

 

“You bet we are darling.”

 

Erin smiled, “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome sweetheart. Lets make sure Doctor Smith is done first.”

 

“Okay.”

 

James smiled and answered me, “She’s all yours Joe. I’ll be back to check on her one more time before surgery. Page me if you need me before hand.”

 

“Okay James I will. Does she have any restrictions?”

 

“Her bed, except to go to the bathroom.”

 

“Got it. See you later.”

 

“Bye Joe. Bye Erin.”

 

“Bye Doctor Smith.”

*********************************************************************

James left. I sat Erin on her bed. She asked, “Who can we call first?”

 

“How about we call Dixie? We might luck out, Johnny and Roy might be at the hospital too.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I picked up the phone in Erin’s room. Out of memory I dialed the emergency department nurses’ station. After two rings Dixie answered, “Good morning Rampart General Hospital. This is nurse McCall may I help you?”

 

“Morning Dix.”

 

Dixie was surprised to hear my voice, “Hi Joe. What can I do for you?”

 

“Actually there is somebody here who wants to talk to you.”

 

I could tell Dixie was confused, “Oh?”

 

“Do you remember Erin Gayz?”

 

“Yeah she was a sweet girl. Why?”

 

“She’s having some surgery this afternoon because of her cerebral palsy and wanted to talk to you before hand.”

 

“Of course, put her on.”

 

“Okay one sec. The next voice you hear will be her.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I took the phone away from my ear, “Here you go Erin, it’s Dixie.”

 

Erin smiled, “Thanks Doctor Early.”

 

“You’re welcome sweetheart.”

 

I handed Erin the phone. While the girls talked, I headed for the bathroom. I emerged just as Erin finished up with Dixie. I walked back over to the bed.

 

Erin smiled, “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

“Miss Dixie wants to talk to you.”

 

“Thank you, honey.”

 

Erin handed me the phone and settled into her bed. “Yes Dix?”

 

“Thanks for doing that, Joe.”

 

I smiled, “No problem. Hey by any chance are Roy and Johnny there?”

 

“No. They were in for a bit right after you left, but didn’t stay long. They should be back at the station.”

 

“Okay thanks Dix. I’ll try them there.”

 

“You’re welcome Joe. Do me a favor?”

 

I cut Dixie off because I knew what she was thinking, “I’ll call you as soon as I know more.”

 

“Thanks Joe. See you later.”

 

“No problem Dix. Good luck.”

 

We chuckled as we hung up.

*********************************************************************

I noticed Erin was getting a bit tired and asked, “Erin, are you up for one more phone call?”

 

“Yeah. I’m just trying to relax, but it’s not working.”

 

“Okay honey just rest I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to try and call Johnny and Roy now.”

 

Erin smiled, “Okay.”

 

I picked up the phone again. I looked at the clock, it was 8:15, and thought, “Good LA has them awake already.”

 

I dialed the number to 51’s. After three rings a still sleepy sounding Johnny answered the phone, “Station 51, firefighter/paramedic John Gage.”

 

“Hi Johnny, its Joe Early.

 

I could tell Johnny was now fully awake and worried, “Hi Joe. Everything okay?”

 

“Relax Johnny, everything is fine. I’m actually not at Rampart but at Shriners. I have somebody here who wants to talk to you and Roy.”

 

“Hang on just a second. Let me transfer you to Cap’s office so we can use the speaker phone.”

 

“Okay Johnny.”

 

Johnny put me on hold. I turned to Erin, “Johnny, put me on hold so he can switch phones.”

 

Erin’s voice was low because of pain, “Okay. Can you put me on speaker phone? My legs are sore and I don’t want to drop the phone if my legs lock up.”

 

“Sure I can.”

 

Quickly I put the phone on speaker. Just as I did Johnny clicked back in, “Doc, ya there?”

 

“Yeah Johnny. Can you hear me okay?”

 

“Crystal clear doc. Us?”

 

“Clear as can be.”

 

“Good.”

 

Slightly confused Roy asked, “Where are you?”

 

“Shriners Hospital. Do you remember Erin Gayz?”

 

We could hear both Roy and Johnny suck in a deep breath. I knew they had not forgotten Erin. Roy spoke for the two of them, “Yeah we do doc.”

 

Johnny’s voice was filled with concern, “Is she okay?”

 

I smiled at Erin as if to say go ahead you can talk to them.

 

Erin answered Johnny, “Yeah guys I’m okay.”

 

I smiled at the shock I knew the guys were in. Roy’s voice reflected their surprise, “Hi Erin.”

 

Johnny was equally as cheery, “Good morning.”

 

“Good morning guys.”

 

Roy asked, “What can we do for you?”

 

“I just called to talk to you guys. I’m really nervous.”

 

Johnny’s voice softened, “About what honey?”

 

Erin’s voice was full of nerves, “I have to have surgery on my legs this afternoon and I’m scared. That’s why I asked my surgeon to track down Doctor Early, Dixie and you guys. I don’t have a lot of friends, but I could tell you guys cared about me when I fell off my bike.”

 

Johnny’s voice was full of emotion, “You bet we care sweetheart.”

 

I knew this one stung for the guys.

 

Roy spoke next fighting his emotions, “We’ve been thinking a lot about you kiddo. Do you know what time your surgery is?”

 

“They’re supposed to give me my medicine about 11:30. By the time it kicks in it’ll probably be noon.”

 

Roy regained his professional control, “Okay. Can you put Doctor Early back on the regular phone?”

 

“Sure. I have to go to the bathroom anyway.”

 

“Okay Erin, we’ll see you soon.”

 

“Take it easy and relax sweetheart everything will be fine.”

 

Erin seemed to relax at the guys’ words, “Thanks guys.”

 

Johnny and Roy spoke at the same time, “You’re welcome.”

*********************************************************************

Erin handed me the phone and headed for the bathroom.

 

Quick I put the phone to my ear and take the guys of speaker. “What’s up guys?”

 

Roy asked, “Do you think it’s okay if we visit Erin, as long as Cap says yes?”

 

I smiled; Roy and Johnny were both so caring. “Sure guys. Do you know the way?”

 

Johnny answered, “Yep.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“What room is she in?”

 

“416.”

 

“Okay. We’re going to go talk to Cap. We’ll be there soon.”

 

“Okay guys. See ya then.”

 

They spoke again at the same time, “Bye doc.”

*********************************************************************

Let me bring you back to the present for a second. I found out the following conversation from Roy and Johnny later in the day. This took place at 51’s just after I hung up with the guys.

*********************************************************************

Johnny shut the speaker phone off and turned to Roy, “We have to get out there.”

 

“You got that right. Let’s go talk to Cap.”

 

The guys left Cap’s office and headed back to the dayroom where everybody else was. Immediately, Hank could tell something was wrong, “What’s wrong?”

 

Roy answered, “Cap, would you mind if we respond out of Shriners?”

 

Hank was slightly confused at the destination, “Why?”

 

Johnny replied, “One of our former patients is asking for us. You remember that girl Erin we told you about?”

 

Marco answered with concern in his voice, “Yeah.”

 

Chet’s voice filled with worry as he asked, “Is she okay?”

 

Johnny answered, “She is undergoing surgery this afternoon.”

 

That was all Hank needed to hear, “Go.”

 

Mike added, “Give her our best.”

 

Roy quickly spoke, “Will do.”

 

Chet decided to do something for Erin, “Wait.”

 

Chet got up and left the dayroom. He came back with a teddy bear and a blank piece of paper. Chet looked at Roy and Johnny, “Two minutes.”

 

Hank said, “I’ll call dispatch.”

 

Roy spoke, “Thanks Cap.”

 

Hank left the dayroom. Chet quickly folded the paper into a card and asked, “Mike, would you write the main message then we can all sign it?”

 

Mike smiled, “Sure Chet.”

 

Mike wrote the card out quickly. The guys all signed it. As they finished Hank walked back in, “You’re good to go boys.”

 

Johnny smiled and said, “Thanks Cap.”

“You’re welcome.”


Roy asked, “Cap, can you sign this before we leave?”

 

“Sure.”

 

Roy handed Hank the card. Hank signed it, gave it back and the guys left.

*********************************************************************

Back to the present for a second. From now on you’ll have the view from Shriners.

*********************************************************************

I hung up with Roy and Johnny as Erin walked out of the bathroom. Concerned I asked, “You okay Erin?”

 

“Sore but yeah.”

 

Erin climbed back into bed and I tucked her in. She looked so small and fragile. “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome honey. Do you need anything?”

 

“I’m okay. My parents will be here soon.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Erin grew quiet as she asked, “Will you stay with me?”

 

I smiled softly, “I’ll stay as long as you want.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome honey.”

 

Erin settled into her bed. I grabbed a seat and settled in.

***********************************************************************

Ten minutes after I hung up with Roy and Johnny I looked up and saw the guys in the hall.

 

I smiled, “Erin, I’ll be right back.”

 

“Okay. Can you see if I can get something to drink?”

 

“I’ll do my best, but if he’s prepping you for surgery, I don’t know if you’ll be able to get much.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I stepped out of the room as Roy and Johnny walked toward me. I waved at them to stay still, they did. I walked up to James, who had just come out of another patient’s room.

 

James was concerned to see me, “Something wrong, Joe?”

 

I answered quickly, “No James. Erin is okay, she is thirsty though.”

 

“I have her on pre-op restrictions.”

 

My emergency department work instinct kicked in, “What about an IV normal saline to keep her hydrated?”

 

“Good idea, but we haven’t started her line yet.”

 

“No worries James. I’ll take care of that. I only have one question.”

 

“Yes Joe?”

 

“Do you want it anywhere specific?”

 

“Her right hand.”

 

“Consider it done.”

 

James and I walked up to the nurse’s station. He got the IV and handed it to me, “Thanks Joe.”

 

“No problem, James.”

 

“See you in a bit.”

 

“You know where I’ll be.”

 

James left. I headed for a very nervous looking Roy and Johnny, “Morning boys.”

 

“Morning doc.”

 

“Morning doc.”

 

Roy looks at the IV and concerned asked, “Everything okay?”

 

“Erin’s fine just thirsty, her surgeon has her on pre-op restrictions.”

 

Johnny made a face, “Nough said. Does she know we’re here?”

 

I grinned, “Not unless she can see us right now.”

 

Roy smiled, “Good.”

 

We headed for Erin’s room.

*********************************************************************

Johnny was carrying the bear while Roy had the card and their HT and I had the IV.

 

I smiled at Erin as I walked in, “Erin, I brought the best I could do for a drink.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I smiled broader. “Look who the wind blew in.”

 

Roy and Johnny grinned as they walked in. We all chuckled as Erin’s jaw dropped in surprise, “Roy, Johnny!”

 

The guys smiled as Johnny spoke, “Yeppers sweetheart.”

 

Roy spoke, “We heard you wanted to see us, so we set it up with our dispatcher. We’re going to work out of here today.”

 

I made a mental note to call fire dispatch and thank them.

 

Erin was stunned, “You did that for me?”

 

The guys both wore cake-eating grins as Johnny answered, “Yes we did sweetheart.”

 

Erin was suddenly a bit shaken up, “Can I have a hug guys?”

 

Roy’s voice softened, “Of course sweetheart.”

 

Johnny’s voice matched Roy’s. “You bet. In fact while you’re hugging me, do you want Roy to start your IV?”

 

“Please.”

 

Roy turned to me and asked, “Anywhere specific Joe?”

 

“Her surgeon said in her right hand.”

 

Roy grimaced but said, “Okay.”

 

I handed Roy the IV and stepped back to give him room to work. I couldn’t help but smile, as I watched Johnny and Roy. While I watched them work I thought, “Those two are definitely the best hands down!”

 

Roy prepped the IV as Johnny picked Erin up. Erin was understandably nervous, “Is this going to hurt?”

 

Johnny smiled softly, “You won’t even feel it honey. Roy’s the best when it comes to starting IVs on angels like you.”

 

Erin smiled and relaxed in Johnny’s arms. Johnny gently rubbed her back to relax her more. Once she was good and relaxed with her eyes in Johnny’s chest, Johnny nodded at Roy. In a matter of seconds, Roy had the IV started.

 

Johnny smiled, “He’s done Erin.”

 

Erin sat up in Johnny’s arms surprised, “Wow and I didn’t even feel anything.”

 

Johnny smiled, “See I told you.”

 

I chuckled, “Think you’ve done this a time or two, Roy?”

 

Roy and Johnny chuckled as Roy spoke, “Yeah you can say that doc.”

 

Johnny added, “A time or two or a dozen.”

 

We laughed. Roy smiled at Erin and asked, “Can I have a hug?”

 

Erin smiled, “Sure.”

 

Johnny carefully handed Erin to Roy. Roy gave Erin a hug.

 

Johnny spoke, “We actually have something for you.”

 

Erin was surprised, “You do?”

 

Johnny’s lopsided grin appeared. “Yeah we do. It’s from us and the rest of the guys we work with.”

 

I smiled A shift is so kind. Johnny pulled out the bear and the card. He hands both to Erin, who was shocked, “Th-thank you.”

 

Roy and Johnny both smile softly. Roy spoke first, “You’re welcome honey.”

 

“You’re welcome sweetheart.”

 

Erin was growing tired, “Can you read the card to me? I’m a little to sleepy to read.”

 

Johnny answered, “Sure.”

 

Roy smiled softly, “I’ll lay you down that way you can rest.”

 

Erin grew concerned and asked, “You guys and doctor Early stay?”

 

Johnny replied, “Until we get a call you bet.”

 

Roy added, “We’re not going anywhere.”

 

I smiled at Erin, “I’m here for the day honey. Just relax and go back to sleep.”

 

Erin’s voice reflected how tired she was, “Okay.”

 

Carefully Roy laid Erin down and covered her.

***********************************************************************

Before Johnny could start with the card Erin’s parents burst into the room.

 

Her mother, Kath’s voice was laced with worry, “My baby. What’s wrong with my baby?”

 

Johnny turned and spoke calmly and professionally, “Relax ma’am, nothing is wrong with Erin. We’re here as friends.”

 

Erin spoke sleepily, “Mommy, daddy, meet my friends Johnny, Roy, and Doctor Early. Roy, can I have my bear?”

 

Roy smiled and answered, “Sure darling.”

 

Roy gave Erin her bear, “Let Johnny and I introduce ourselves then Johnny will read the card to you.”

 

Erin replied tiredly, “Okay.”

 

Johnny, Roy and I stood.

 

Erin’s dad Fred questioned us, “Who are you?”

 

I answered first, “My name is Doctor Joe Early. I worked on Erin at Rampart General when she got hurt.”

 

I shook hands with Fred and Kath. Kath smiled, “Good to see you again, Doctor Early.”

 

I smiled, “You too folks.”

 

Roy answered next, “My name is Roy Desoto. I am a firefighter/paramedic with county station 51 in Carson.”

 

Johnny spoke last, “My name is Johnny Gage. I am also a firefighter/paramedic with county station 51. Roy and I were the paramedics that responded when Erin got hurt.”

 

Kath and Fred shook Johnny and Roy’s hands. Kath also bear-hugged the boys, “Thank you.”

 

Roy smiled, “Our pleasure ma’am.”

 

Johnny asked, “Would you mind if I read a card then you can spend time with Erin?”

 

Fred smiled, “By all means.”

 

Erin spoke asked tiredly, “Where you going?”

 

Roy answered, “Just for a walk to let your mom and dad have some time with you. We’ll still be in the building unless we get a call.”

 

Johnny smiled, “The guys sent this over. It says, ‘to Our Good Friend Erin. Here’s a Little Something to Help You Get Well Soon. From Your Friends Station 51 A Shift: Captain Hank Stanley, Engineer Mike Stoker, Firefighter Marco Lopez, Firefighter Chet Kelly, Firefighter/Paramedic Roy Desoto and Firefighter/Paramedic Johnny Gage’.”

 

Erin smiled. Johnny continued, “Then we all added our own messages.”

 

“Can you read them?”

 

“Sure. Chet wrote, ‘feel better soon Erin’. Marco wrote, ‘Buenta Suerete mi amiga. Good luck my friend’. Mike wrote, ‘good luck Erin, feel better soon’. ‘Cap wrote, ‘you’re in our thoughts today Erin. Any friend of Johnny and Roy is a friend of ours. Best wishes sweetheart’. Roy wrote, ‘hang in there honey. You’ll be fine’. I wrote, ‘hang in there little one. You are extremely strong. Feel better soon’.”

 

Erin smiled as her face reflected how tired and touched she was, “Thanks guys that means a lot.”

 

Roy smiled and said, “You’re welcome sweetheart.”

 

Johnny spoke up, “We’re going to go for a bit of a walk honey. We’ll be back soon.”

 

Erin was three-quarters asleep and said, “Okay.”

 

I spoke up, “I am going to go with them. If you need anything just have us paged.”

 

Fred replied, “Will do.”

***********************************************************************

Johnny, Roy and I left Erin’s room.

 

Johnny waited til we were out of ear shot to speak, “Doc, is there somewhere we can talk?”

 

“Yeah Johnny, that’s where we’re going. You guys look like you need a few minutes to regroup.”

 

Roy spoke for both of them, “Yeah we do, Joe.”

 

As we get to the elevator Bill walked off. I smiled, “Hi Bill.”

 

“Hi Joe.”

 

“I was actually just about to come looking for you.”

 

“Okay. Who are your friends?”

 

I smiled proudly, “Bill, meet my friends, paramedics John Gage and Roy Desoto from county station 51. Roy, Johnny, meet my friend Bill Masters the Chief of Staff here at Shriners.”

 

The guys shook hands.  Bill spoke first, “Good to meet you guys.”

 

Roy spoke, “Good to meet you too sir.”

 

I asked, “Bill, where is that staff room? The boys want to talk.”

 

“Come on guys.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

We all got in the elevator. As the doors closed Bill said, “I should have had Joe warn you.”

 

Roy spoke first, “It’s okay Bill.”

 

Johnny added, “It’s just some cases can’t be shaken easily. Erin’s been on our minds for a few days.”

 

“I understand guys. Anything you need me to do while you’re here?”

 

Johnny replied, “Nope, as long as there is access to the stairs we’re good.”

 

“Okay.”

***********************************************************************

The elevator stopped on the first floor. As we got off my eyes quickly settled on a piano just across the hall. Bill followed my line of sight and said, “We have another one upstairs on the therapy floor.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Bill led us to a room at the end of the hall opposite the room where the piano is.

 

“Thanks Bill.”

 

Bill’s voice was full of concern, “No problem Joe. You guys need anything?”

 

“No thanks.”

 

“No thank you.”

 

“No thanks. Just keep a stairwell clear for us.”

 

“Consider it done. Take as long as you guys need. If Erin needs you, I know where you are. If you need me just find a phone and have me paged.”

 

“Will do Bill.”

 

Bill unlocked the door and Roy, Johnny and I walk in.

***********************************************************************

I closed the door behind us.

 

It was a small room, but not extremely small. It had a couple of couches, a fridge and a trash can in it. According to Bill the walls were soundproof.

 

A shaken Roy spoke first, “Damn.”

 

Johnny’s voice cracked with emotion, “That kid is so strong. She doesn’t deserve the stuff she’s going through.”

 

I spoke sadly, “None of these kids do, Johnny.”

 

Roy asked, “Do we have a magic wand?”

 

“I wish Roy. I really wish we did.”

 

Johnny spoke, “Joe, you know Kel’s rule of don’t become attached to the patient…”

 

I cut Johnny off, “In this case it’s been long gone Johnny.”

 

Roy added, “She’s strong yet nobody knows it.”

 

“Friends mean a lot to her.”

 

Johnny said, “She just picked up a station full.”

 

I added, “And an emergency department full.”

 

Roy took a quick breath and said, “I’m as nervous about Erin’s surgery as if she was my own daughter.”

 

“We all are Roy.”

 

Johnny spoke as he calmed down, “The guys at the station about kicked us out when they found it was Erin.”

 

I smiled as I calmed down, “That doesn’t surprise me.”

 

A light bulb went off in my head and I asked, “Roy, Johnny, you want to help me with something for these kids?”

 

Johnny sounded intrigued, “Sure doc.”

 

Roy asked, “What can we do?”

 

“When are you guys off this week?”


Roy answered, “Day after tomorrow for two.”

 

I smiled, “Perfect. I’m starting to think of something fun for Erin and the rest of the kids here.”

 

The guys grinned broadly as Johnny spoke, “Sounds perfect.”

 

Roy added, “Just let us know how to help and we’ll do it.”

 

I smiled at the guys’ enthusiasm to help.

 

“I will guys.”

***********************************************************************

Okay back to the present. I’m going to stop there with my day so I have enough time to write my dream out before work. Erin’s surgery went amazingly well! Score one for the good guys.

 

Erin was still on my mind when I got home. As I closed my eyes my mind started to kick into gear. This time I wasn’t thinking of a case, for once. I was actually thinking of the idea I mentioned to Roy and Johnny. Below is what I came up with as far as planning. I might have to cut some corners because of time, but you’ll get the idea. Enjoy!

***********************************************************************

I opened my eyes, but I was not in my house anymore. I was actually back at Shriners. Details for the party started flooding me. Without even thinking about it I grabbed a pen and notebook. I was too tired to be completely detail oriented tonight, but here it goes. In my sleep I wrote

 

People to invite:

Kids

James

Bill

Erin’s parents

Dixie

Kel

51’s A shift

 

Things to do:

Clear party with hospital

Test hospital piano

Pick music

Send invites to 51’s, Kel, Dixie, Bill and James

See if Marco and Mike will cook

Come up with snacks

Decorate room

Buy paper products

Buy decorations

Make sure somebody has a camera and film

Find out any restrictions we have

Work with music

 

It was then I woke up thinking about music.

***********************************************************************

Ugh, I just looked at the time and realized I have to get ready for work. Thanks for listening tonight. Hopefully in a few days I will be writing the party up for you.

Til we meet again

Joe the piano playing doc

 

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