Love and Trauma

by EM Fan

by EM Fan

Kim dropped Kerry off outside the ER after having dinner together at Doc Magoo's. Kim's shift was over but Kerry still had several hours to go. The dinner conversation shifted from romantic to tense in just a matter of minutes, but Kerry realized that she had overreacted to Kim's disclosure of Mark's discussion with her from earlier in the day.

Kerry: Thank you again for dinner, Kim...and I'm sorry that I acted so abruptly. It's been a tense day.

Kim: I understand. So, you're still coming over after work, right?

Kerry: Unless you don't want me to.

Kim: (caresses Kerry's face with her hand) Of course I want you to.

Kerry: (smiling) Good. Then I'll be there.

Although there was still some lingering tension, the flirtatious rapport between the two had resurfaced after the brief interruption at the restaurant. Kerry returned to the ER while Kim headed home.

When Kerry walked through the automatic doors, the ER appeared to be in total disarray. There were people everywhere; gurneys, shouting, paramedics, police, and disputes at the admit desk. Kerry took her coat off at the desk and immediately took charge.

Kerry: What in the world has happened, Randi, and why wasn't I paged?!

Randi: Fist fight at a frat house party over at DePaul. Dr. Kovac said it wasn't necessary to page you and that everything was temporarily covered until you'd return. Several inebriated students with minor bruises in the waiting area, one young man was brought in unconscious with a blocked wind pipe, crushed ribs, and a punctured lung, another with major head trauma who may be in a coma, an under aged girl with alcohol poisoning in Exam 2, and...

Kerry: Got it. I'll assist in Trauma 1. Who's on it?

Randi: Dr. Benton and Dr. Chen.

Kerry: (while speed-crutching down the hall to scrub into surgery) Everything else covered?

Randi: Besides being a little backed up, it's all covered. Anspaugh was called down to assist Malucci in Exam 2.

Kerry: Thank you, Randi.

Meanwhile, back at Kim's house...

Kim changed out of her clothes, lit a few scented candles in the living room, and left a trail of rose petals leading to the bedroom. "If this doesn't put her in the mood when she arrives, then nothing will," she thought. Completely oblivious to the current activities in the ER, Kim proceeded to get some sleep before Kerry's arrival.

Back at the ER...

All chaos was breaking loose! Several hours had gone by and Kerry's patient was in critical condition. Several others were as well, but perhaps the most troubling case of all was Luka's patient; the young man in Trauma 3 whose activities started the entire brawl. He was heavily involved in extreme sports and was dared by his friends to jump off the second floor balcony of the house. Perhaps if he was sober, he would not have gone through with it.

While he was lying on the lawn unconscious, his drunken friends blamed one another for his assumed death. The fight broke out and caused a chain reaction. The young man is alive with a broken spine, but may never walk again.

Kerry, Peter, and Jing-Mei did not give up on their patient; the one with the crushed ribs, punctured lung, and blocked wind pipe.

Peter: Haleh, we need two more units of O Neg stat! He's losing blood faster than we can keep it in.

Kerry: We have a pulse!

They cleared the blockage, so now the patient was gasping for air.

Kerry: Peter, here's the part of the bone that punctured the lung.

Peter: Good, let's prepare the sutras.

Jing-Mei: Blood is building up around the heart. We're losing blood fast.

Kerry: Pressure's dropping. We'll need to intubate.

Meanwhile, in Exam 2, Malucci and Anspaugh induced vomiting but still needed to pump the stomach of the girl with alcohol poisoning. At least one patient was stabilized.

In Exam 1, Abby and Carter worked on the head trauma.

Carter: Even if he does wake up, he may suffer from permanent brain damage. We need to tell the family. So, if you will excuse me, I think I'll go talk to them. It was lovely working with you, Abby. Let's not continue to make a habit of it. (leaves the room)

In Trauma 3, Luka's patient wasn't doing much better. The young man was unconscious and totally oblivious to the fact that he had been paralyzed from the waist down.

And, back to Kerry's patient:

Peter: Time of death, 10:28 pm. (he removed his surgical hat and walked out)

Jing-Mei: This was reminiscent of how he lost his nephew.

Kerry: I know. I'll go talk to him.

Much later, at approximately 1:30 am...

Kerry arrived at Kim's. When she walked in, the scented candles had been lit for several hours and were still going strong. She blew out the candles and turned on the small lamp in the living room. She was too tired to hang up her coat, so she just threw it onto the couch. Stumbling quietly toward the bedroom, Kerry saw the trail of rose petals. She smiled as she made her way to the bed. Lying there fast asleep, Kim looked absolutely radiant in her silk robe. "This is almost too good to be true," Kerry thought. She quietly changed clothes and snuggled up next to Kim.

Kim: (barely awake) Hi, beautiful.

Kerry: Hi. I tried to be quiet. You looked so peaceful.

Kim: Well, I told you to wake me, remember?

Kerry held on tight to Kim and began to cry.

Kim: What's wrong?

Kerry: Oh, Kim. It was a terrible evening. I lost two young patients tonight. We try, but we just can't save them all. We just can't do it. And to top it off, you went through so much trouble to make everything look wonderful when I walked in. The candles smelled so nice. Usually I'd take full advantage of the situation, looks like I'm about to fail you.

Kim: (wiping the tears from Kerry's eyes) Ssshhh, it's alright. These patients had the best doctor they could have asked for. You didn't fail anyone tonight, Kerry.

Kerry: They were so young and their lives were cut short by drinking at a frat party. Unbelievable!

Kim: I'm so sorry, honey. What can I do to make you feel better?

Kerry: Hold me, Kim. Just hold me...and never let go.

Kim wrapped her arms tightly around Kerry, holding one hand with their fingers entwined. She caressed Kerry's hair with the other hand and softly kissed her on the forehead. In just a matter of minutes, Kerry was asleep in Kim's arms.

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