Its funny: the closer I get to going back to work, the more I dread it. When I was first told to take a few days off I couldn't wait to get back to work– now... Now the thought of going odd places in the middle of the night...
I mean... worrying about traffic and idiots is enough– but now..
Now reality has hit me. The caduceus doesn't protect me from people. Odd– the gangs abide by it more than people like my friends in leather. I guess its like everywhere else– you have people with honor and you have scum... I just keep forgetting that the honorable ones are few and far between.
Still– I can't change what I am. I got a nice reminder of that today at brunch.
One of the guests had a bad reaction to shellfish– anaphylactic shock. As soon as he started having problems– I handed Bri off to Case and got to work. Case in turn, turned the terror over to the owner.
Together we kept the man alive and breathing until the ambulance arrived.
Moral of the story– I can't not do the job. I guess... I'm not going to let them win.
I showed up for my office hours and there on my desk was a bouquet of flowers. It was a simple reminder that I'm not out there alone– and that there are people who will watch out for me here– and on the streets.
It was a good feeling to have. It didn't eliminate the feeling of exposure– I mean the entire idea of the motor medic program is to get a medic to the scene as quickly as possible... which means that the truck and support and or back up is going to take some time to get there.
I tried to get lost in the paperwork– but I still saw that woman sitting there, heard her voice telling me I owed her. This time at least I didn't wonder if she was right– this time when I thought about it, I was angry.
She was endangering lives for her own personal gain– while I was endangering my own to save others lives. The only one at risk back there was me, and I was risking it to help them. If anybody was ungrateful... dishonorable– was them.
Before I knew it, it was quitting time. I took a slight side trip on the way home– went to the church. It was a good place to put my thoughts in order– and put my anger behind me.
It would have worked too– if I hadn't been followed.
I couldn't see them– but I knew they were there just the same. I realized they'd been there for a while, I just didn't notice because I was so preoccupied with the woman's words.
I keyed my helmet radio and called dispatch. They in turn called Citywide Guardians– our ERT designed to protect the medics, and they took over.
They directed me to a meeting point. I was to just drive through and keep going– which I did. I kept driving until I was told that the situation had been ‘dealt with.' Only then did I head home.
I admit– I took some extra turns just to make sure– Including a trip to Council Island...
By the time I got home, Case had been notified. He was waiting up for me. I still couldn't shake the feeling that this wasn't the end of it– but the beginning.
Somebody else heard what had happened– When I got up to go to work, the CEO called. The CEO of Citywide. Himself!
He wanted me to take at least a week off, and I could see his point. Aside from them hunting me– I was at the beck and call of dispatch– no telling if a call was real or a setup. Even if they didn't set me up– it was easy enough to figure out where I was going, and that would put my patients in danger.
I tried to argue about being needed, and he just smiled.
"You are needed Miller– which is why we can't risk you on this. Take a week off, you deserve it." He paused and smiled. "And don't try to argue about stretching your people too thin... I've read your reports and I know you keep a few medics in reserve so that everyone stays fresh."
How could I argue with the man?
It was nice not going in last night.
I ended up doing a lot of things that needed doing around the house, and a lot of thinking. I mean-- its about time I cycled back to daylight-- maybe worked evening rush. That's what the motormedic program is all about after all, and rush hour's the hardest time to get anywhere.
I know I'm just as much a target, and a magnet for trouble-- but at least in daylight I have a better chance to see it coming and duck. I know life isn't safe, I've seen too much to ever think that. I just don't need constant reminders of it.
Still the best way to avoid being shot is to not be there.
I didn't go out yesterday and today-- today I just relished not having to go anywhere. I know the charm of that is going to run out really quickly, but for now I'm going to enjoy it.
I'm home and can spend time with the terror. Tomorrow we're going to go to the Aquarium. No rescues, no danger, thrills chills or excitement– just fish.
Remember what I said about how random and unsafe life is? Yeah that...
Remind me not to mention things like that. Its like waving a target around and demanding that the fates do something about your challenge.
Bri and I were heading home from our big day at the aquarium– things took longer than I'd figured...and it was rush hour. Bri was in the back safely buckled into her car seat, when some bozo decided to violate several laws-- both traffic and physics. They found out that you can't get away with that.
I was driving along next to the HOV lane when some Bozo who'd been cruising along in the HOV lane, illegally of course, noticed the Star officer pulling people over. Rather than get a ticket for his actions he decided that he'd much rather cause a 7 car pile up... Of which-- I was number one.
He drove straight into my left front wheel, sending me into the car next to him, and the cars behind us reacted to the mess just a fraction of a second too late.
So... there we are.. seven cars trying to impersonate modern art and everybody around us is laying on their horns in disapproval... as if we'd done it on purpose and now that we were finished we were supposed to just make it go away.
The Bozo got out of his truck and started striding towards me as if it was my fault. I could hear some of his choice words... Fortunately the Star officer had seen the whole thing and arrived on scene.
To hear Bozo describe it I'd attacked the front end of his truck with my car. I didn't care at that point since I hadn't heard a peep from Bri in the back seat. I tried to move around to see her, but I couldn't. I tilted the rearview until I saw her.
She was laying limp in her car carrier. I think I lost it then...
Next thing I know Smiley's there-- teasing me. He asked if I was trying to field test the troops. He stopped joking when I told him about Bri. His expression immediately changed as he opened up the rear door and check on her. He smiled at me in the mirror.
She had slept through the whole thing. He put a neck brace on her just to be sure then handed her off to another medic who'd just arrived. I wasn't too badly off-- my left leg was pinned... I was both scared and relieved that I couldn't feel it. Damage to everyone else was minimal and Ray and Smiley were working on getting me out of the car when the terror woke up and shrieked.
Smiley was trying to reassure me that she was all right, but I had to laugh. That startled him.
"That's her ‘I don't know you– I want my mommy!" shriek I explained, and then turned to Ray. "Ray– can you check on her– she knows you."
Ray smiled and was gone to calm Bri down– no mean feat when she's in a neck brace. My leg wasn't too badly mangled when they got it out– and with the relief of pressure the bleeding started in earnest– as did the pain.
I woke up in the hospital with Case and Bri sitting next to me.
Case chuckled when he saw my relieved smile. Yes– my first concern after all that was Bri, sitting happily in her Daddy's lap watching me sleep. They were safe– both of them, the picture of peace and protection.
When I sat up I could feel the cut along my leg. 12 stitches. Pretty amazing if you ask me that that's all I got. I think we're going to have to shoot the car.
Case was ready with a rundown on the other victims. 2 concussions, 4 cases or whiplash, a dislocated hip, friction burns.
All things considered, we got off lucky. It could have been a lot worse.
I am spending way too much time in Mrs. Walker's studio these days... maybe I do need a break– then again, trying to take it easy's what brought be here this time. Sometimes I swear I can't win.
If I believed in Karma, I'd be really worried right now. I mean, if this is what's coming for me– after all the supposed good I do– I'd hate to think what would happen if I weren't a medic. I have a feeling I was a real hellion in my previous lives. Either that or I need to go to confession more often.
I'm beginning to think that my patron saint isn't Michael, like most paramedics, or even Saint Florain of the fire department– but Saint Jude– patron saint of lost causes.
Sometimes...that's how it feels. Still, considering the size of the vehicle that hit me and the number of people on the road– I got off lucky, and Bri got off without a scratch. So maybe somebody is looking out for me... they just sometimes fall asleep until the exciting stuff starts to happen.
Case borrowed my bike this morning so he could go down town and rent a car. From the looks of things, we'll be driving it until the insurance settles or fixes our car. When Case came back from the rental service I stared in disbelief.
He rented us a tank. Okay, it wasn't technically a tank, but it may as well have been. It was a steriodal laden luxury SUV with side bags, roof bags, run flat tires and an anti collision system that would have kept PC enamored for days.
When I looked at the thing sitting in our driveway, I had to laugh. Overkill was the first word that came to mind, but Case didn't care. He wanted to protect his family. Thinking about Bri, laying there in her carrier– I had to agree. Maybe it wasn't that much overkill afterwards.
He took us back to the rental office so I could pick up my bike– and that's when I picked up the tail again. They followed us to the bridge to Council Island and then just waited. At least they couldn't follow us to the Walkers. Case called in some federal agents to watch my fan club and I called the star.
I'm still waiting to find out about that.
When Mr. Walker found out about it we were made guests of the family and told in no uncertain terms that we were staying right there until they were sure it was safe.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker