"OK, Jason, let's review the procedures again."
"Angie, you're a regular taskmaster," Jason replied.
"Jason, you know the routine. Until you dream these procedures in your sleep, you need to keep reviewing them. People's lives are at stake. It's no longer videogame time."
"All right, all right, let's hit the books, again," Jason surrendered.
Saved by the bell, Jason thought, as the klaxon sounded.
ENGINE 51, SQUAD 51, RESPOND TO TRAFFIC COLLISION. 2 VEHICLES INVOLVED. 1 PERSON TRAPPED.
"Let's get rolling," Angie said. Angie sat in the driver's seat, with Jason jumping in on the passenger side, as the fire station door opened, allowing for their exit.
Lights and siren on, Angie sped to the accident site. Even though she gave Jason a hard time, she felt confident in his abilities, which surprised her, since he was just 6 months out of school. At 28, she was the station's senior paramedic, and she felt good knowing that quality talent continued to enter the department.
Upon arriving at the scene, sheriff deputies had already set up a perimeter and cleared a path for the paramedics to set up and treat the victim. Angie grabbed their treatment equipment, while Jason grabbed the Jaws of Life, before heading to the crashed car. The car was demolished, and they could barely see the driver trapped in the crumpled mass of steel. Angie reached in to feel the driver's carotid artery for a pulse. "It's weak. Let's get him out," said Angie.
In short time, they opened up the car with the Jaws of Life. Concerned about fire danger, they quickly secured the driver's back and neck, before removing him from the wreck. When they got him to the ground, Angie finally got a good look. "John!" she exclaimed.
John was fading in and out of consciousness, due to shock and loss of a great deal of blood. "John, it's Angie. We've got you now. Hold on." Angie and Jason quickly treated multiple massive wounds and started John on an IV.
The ambulance arrived, and its gurney was brought to the patient. "Jason, his pulse is weak and thready. Let's get him to the hospital, stat!" John was loaded into the ambulance, and Angie joined him for the ride to the hospital. Lights and sirens opened a path as they rushed to the hospital.
"John, hold on. We're almost at the hospital."
"Angie, tell Lynn I'm sorry," John weakly said. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." John continued to fade in and out of consciousness, constantly mumbling, "I'm sorry."
Angie speed-dialed Tom on her cell phone. "Tom, get Lynn to Harbor General. John's been in an accident, and he's hurt badly. I'm bringing him in right now. Got to go, but I love you."
"Stay with me, John. I'm right here. Tom is bringing Lynn to the hospital. She'll meet you there."
"I'm so sorry. Lynn, I'm so sorry," rambled John.
When we arrived at the hospital, the emergency team was waiting for us. "Angie," said head nurse Sandra, "we've got him now."
"Sandra, he's my brother-in-law, John Thompson."
"You did your job, and now we'll take care of John," said Sandra.
Just then, Lynn and Tom ran hand-in-hand through the emergency room entrance. "How is he?" they both asked at once.
"I don't know," said Angie. "He lost a lot of blood, and they've just taken him to surgery. Lynn, he kept calling for you and saying 'I'm sorry.' What does he have to be sorry about?"
"Nothing," cried Lynn. "He has been the perfect husband. Please let him be OK."
Lynn clung to Tom and Angie, tears flowing down her face.
Jason came in and asked how John was doing. Angie explained he was just taken into surgery and then introduced him to her husband and his sister. "Jason, do me a favor and see if my replacement can come in early. Our shift is up in a couple of hours, but I really need to stay."
"I'll call Fred, right now," said Jason.
Tom and Angie did their best to comfort Lynn. The surgeon returned to the lobby, and Angie knew he hadn't been in surgery long enough for the news to be good. Angie held Lynn tightly, as the surgeon approached. "Mrs. Thompson," he said, as he reached Lynn. "I'm sorry. There was nothing we could do. The damage was too severe."
Lynn buried her face in Tom's chest and cried. Angie sandwiched Lynn between Tom and herself, tears flowing from all three.
Jason touched Angie on the shoulder and said, "Fred's on his way. You've been cleared for personal time off. I'm sorry for your loss."
Lynn turned to the surgeon and said, "I need to see him."
"Just give us a minute. I'll send Sandra out to get you."
A few minutes later, Sandra opened the door for Lynn. Tom and Angie started to go forward with her, but she stopped them. "I need to be alone with him right now. Please," she implored.
Tom and Angie held each other close, as Lynn disappeared through the door. With Angie's job, they knew how fleeting life was, but never thought it would hit them so close to home. "She needs to be with us tonight," Angie said, as she looked up into Tom's teary eyes. All he could do was nod his head in the affirmative.
Lynn didn't argue about where she would stay. She knew she couldn't be alone. After leaving the hospital, the three of them stopped by Lynn's apartment, so she could gather some things she would need. That night, Lynn needed to talk about John, and her brother and best friend gave her the ears she needed. She talked about special memories she shared with John and how unique and special he was. She talked about how eager they were to start a family. John had a low sperm count, but she knew she would eventually get pregnant. John felt he was disappointing her by not being able to get her pregnant. That was the only thing she could imagine him feeling sorry about. Even if she wasn't getting pregnant, they still thoroughly enjoyed the baby-making process and looked forward to it, often. Lynn shared that though she had no one else to compare him against, she was more than satisfied by the way he loved her.
As the evening got late, Angie prepared their guest room for Lynn. When she finished, Lynn prepared herself for sleep. Angie and Tom went to their bedroom and got ready for bed. Just as Angie and Tom settled themselves into their bed, there was a light knock on the door, though it wasn't closed. Looking toward the door, they saw Lynn, standing in her nightgown.
"Tommy ... Please" was all she could say.
"Hop in LT" he calmly responded.
Climbing over Tom, Lynn lay down and spooned her back into Tom. He warmly embraced her. Angie held Lynn's hands and gave them a tender kiss. Exhausted, all three fell asleep, with Lynn cocooned within a protective shield of love.
Over the next few days, the three took care of all the needed arrangements. John had no family and had always said he wanted to be cremated, with his ashes scattered in the Sierras.
Lynn attempted to move home, but the loneliness was too much for her. Angie and Tom suggested she let her apartment go and then move into their guest room. Lynn didn't want to impose, but their insistence broke down her barriers. She knew it made sense, and no one loved her like these two people did.
Life seemed to settle into a routine. After 6 months had passed, the three went backpacking in the Sierras and carried out John's wishes. Though they didn't believe they could ever be closer, this experience did bring them closer.
Three months later, Lynn announced it was time for her to return their privacy and move on. She spent time looking for a new apartment.
Angie and Tom had mixed feelings about Lynn's new direction. They spent long hours, in their bedroom, every evening, talking about everything that was running through their minds. Eventually, they came to a clear answer.
The next evening, Lynn came to Tom and Angie and told them she wanted them to see the new apartment she found that day. Angie took Lynn's hand and sat her down on their bed. "No," was all Angie said.
"No?" said Lynn, in shock. "But I want your opinion before I sign a lease."
"No," said Angie, calmly and firmly.
"OK, what's up?" queried Lynn.
"Lynn, you know Tom and I have been spending more time behind closed doors, lately."
"Well, that's why I want to get my own place, so I can give you the privacy you deserve. You've already been more than generous with your time and space."
"Lynn, we have to talk. Tom and I have been having long conversations, doing our best to put everything in order. We finally see all the pieces of the puzzle coming together, and it makes perfect sense to us, but we can't make this decision by ourselves."
"LT, you know none of us have any family other than each other, yet family is something we all treasure," Tom interjected.
"I'm not abandoning you by moving out," Lynn laughed.
"Lynn, though this is simple to Tom and I, it is complicated to explain. You know how much you wanted to have kids with John. Tom and I have also longed for a family, but I can't allow myself to get pregnant and pass my genetic affliction on to another generation."
"Angie, you know I would be more than supportive if the two of you decide to adopt children. Do you fear I would be upset if you have kids and I don't? No, I love both of you and want you to be completely happy and fulfilled. I want you to have a family."
"Lynn, that's what I was getting to. We do want children, but not someone else's children."
"So you're thinking of finding a surrogate to carry your child, Angie? It sounds like you are adding a lot of confusion to something that's very simple."
.... There is more of this story ...