** Their love, to have and to hold in earth, and in heaven. **
She was a long way from home, had been for years. She had been in the United States, most of her life. The Australian accent came from her mother, Ann, who was born and raised in Melbourne until she married her Buffalo born beau, Allen.
Dr. Judith Baker, Jude to her friends, knew moving to Chicago on an Exchange Program from Buffalo, was the new beginning she needed in her life. What she didn't need was time to think about it. Arriving in Chicago a month after being accepted on to the program, she settled into her room at the hotel near her friend, Kerry Weaver's place, as though she had been living there a lifetime. She missed nothing of her life left behind, patients who had come and gone, friends she had never made, and a father's grave she had not visited in 11 years.
She got ready for her first day at Cook County General, excited about where the day was about to take her. Kerry was going to meet her at the hospital, show her around, and settle her in for what she hoped would be a long stay. Jude chose the blue jeans and the AC/DC T-shirt, a gift from a friend from Down Under. She was not fussy. She was the kind of woman, who spoke her mind when she felt she needed to. Lost her temper when bureaucratic red tape stopped her from doing a job she often did well. She was a young woman made up with different masks, private and personal one moment, devilish and charming the next. Passionate and spirited, frightened and afraid. Independent and stubborn when she needed to be, fearless and protective, alone and lonely. Her personality rejoiced in throwing itself in the middle of anarchy, her own and everyone else's. She couldn't help it. She loved the natural high it gave her, but often hid away her feelings and emotions, and never let anyone see how the insanity often sorrowed her heart with the memories of her past.
She looked forward to her new beginning. New city, new hospital, new faces, the same patients, sick and injured, hurt and dying, but she didn't care. Jude loved what she did, and the anticipation grew in her as she made her way to work.
The Bees Gees blasted from her earphones, and the roller blades on her feet was the kind of transportation she enjoyed since buying them a few years ago. They kept her slim body healthy with the exercise, and saved on vehicle expenses. Singing out of tune with the music, she skated her way through the streets of Chicago, taking in the sights, places and people, weaving her way through the maze of traffic, corners and lights that would lead her to Cook County, and her first day of rotation as a fourth year Resident.
Her shift started at eight o'clock, and she was not going to make it...
Suddenly struck from behind, the tiny red car spun into oncoming traffic, and the intersection came to a complete standstill. Glass and wreckage lay all over the road. Police on the scene breath tested the other driver. He showed no visible injuries, except for confusion about where he was and what he had done. What was to come of him now? Did his life bring him to this dark place, he couldn't be sure, right now nothing made sense as he tried to walk a straight line. The drunk tried to steady himself but it was hopeless, obvious to the naked eye he was well over the legal limit. The police would take him to the hospital to have him checked out for injuries, and then escort him to the police station. They would book him on DUI, and whatever else they needed to, maybe manslaughter, if the other driver didn't pull through.
Possible internal bleeding, plummeting BP, near amputation below the left knee, and multiple lacerations, was Jude's assessment of the driver of the wrecked car. Trapped behind the wheel for more than an hour, rescue workers brought in the Jaws of Life to free the teenager from the squashed metal. Jude administered medical aid as best as her ability allowed, and knew, Michael Barnett, 17, had no chance of survival if paramedic's didn't arrive at the scene, soon.
Dr. Kerry Weaver, sat on the couch in the doctors' lounge, quietly writing up her charts for the patients she had already seen this morning, concerned on Jude's whereabouts. She had no time to think about all the possibilities of what could have happened to Jude, before Dr. Robert Romano burst into the room. He was on a double shift, and had taken care of at least two-dozen patients, ran three surgeries, in which he had an expensive life support system breakdown during one of them. Missing breakfast, Robert spent hours trying to explain to board members why the ER needed more money and on top of that, his exchange program recipient was still not at work. He was not in the mood.
There you are! So where is she? Kerry knew he was talking about Jude but wanted to delay in telling him the bad news. The look on his face was not an understanding one.
Our Aussie mate, Dr. Weaver. Robert annoyed at Kerry's ignorance. She's here, right Kerry?
Of course she's here Robert, she arrived a couple of days ago.
That's not what I meant, and you know it. He didn't appreciate Kerry's attitude. What you're telling me is the doctor they picked from our hospital to take part in this program began his rotation in Buffalo three hours ago, and the doctor you wanted to take part in it, is somewhere in Chicago, but not here in the ER, where her shift started... He looked at his watch, almost an hour and a half ago.
She's on her way. A lie. Kerry had no idea where Jude was, and she was beginning to worry. The desk clerk at the hotel where Jude was staying, told her when she called an hour ago, she had already left for work.
I hope you made the right choice with this little Aussie biscuit, Weaver. I'm sure you don't want to look like an idiot in front of the board members when they want to know how their new initiative is going. Typical for Dr. Romano, pass off the blame whenever he could.
She'll be here, Robert. Another lie. Kerry had no idea when Jude would arrive. Kerry hoped nothing had happened to her on her first day in a new city. Robert didn't care. This new Resident was not making a good impression on him. Turning up late on your first day just was not the way to keep on his good side. Did he have one?
His pager blasted at its usual annoying shriek and he answered it. A surgical nurse needed to see him about a patient he earlier worked on in surgery.
She has until ten, or she's back on a plane to Buffalo. Robert's voice trailed off as he walked out of the room, he didn't need to hear Kerry's response. His word was final. The hands on her watch clicked over to 9.35, Jude had 25 minutes to arrive and start her rotation, and Kerry had 25 minutes to find her.
The paramedics pulled into the ambulance bay and Michael's scream was heard throughout the emergency room. His BP appeared to be getting better but still not stable. His clothes were blood-soaked. The paramedics covered his lacerations as best as they could at the scene, they worried more about internal bleeding, and his almost amputated leg. His pain was wrenching, and the medication administered at the scene just wasnt enough.
Paramedic's Tony and Rich struggled to get Michael out of the back of their rig and they had no way of persuading Jude to get off while they tried to get Michael inside. She knew if she moved, he would probably be dead. She kneeled on the gurney, over Michael, trying to place as much pressure as she could on his wound, hoping to keep the bleeding stopped. He had already lost liters at the scene, and she feared surgeons wouldn't be able to save it. They needed to find out how serious his other injuries were, and get him into surgery as soon as possible, if his leg had any chance of staying attached to his body.
It's okay Mike, hold on man, we're almost there. yelled Tony over Michael's scream. They couldn't calm him, he was hysterical, and they couldn't blame him. One minute you are on your way to school, the next paramedics are rushing you into the emergency room, trying to save a leg that had been half cut off by some drunk driver.
The pain was excruciating, and Jude was worried he would lose consciousness again, they already revived him once at the scene, and they need to stabilize his blood pressure and get him into surgery as soon as it was possible.
Hold on Michael, we're going to do this now, and we'll have you walking out of here on both legs in no time at all. insisted Jude. It was a promise she should not have made, because right now she didn't know what was going to happen. She showed not what she felt in her heart and spirit, afraid if she did, the faith Michael believed in, would be lost. His blood loss and low blood pressure was a concern, and she needed to get him inside and give him the proper care, before the outcome of what would be his future, could be determined.
Tony and Rich hurried the gurney inside, Michael still wrenching in pain, Jude still leaning over him, she was not going anywhere until they were in the trauma room. She didn't even bother taking off her blades, she didn't have time, saving Michael's life, and his leg was her top priority.
Do not put me on hold. Dr. Luka Kovac's words were ignored as the nurse put him back on hold for the second time. He stood behind the front desk, on the phone, on hold, waiting to talk to a doctor up in Orthopedics about a patient with a broken arm. Luka was tired and unshaven, he too was on a double shift and only halfway through. Today had not been a good day. Puked on, peed on, a screw up with labs made him tell the wrong patient she had breast cancer, and now he had to baby-sit a new Resident, Dr. Romano insisted he keep an eye on, but still had not shown up for work.
He waited on the phone, yawning, and wondering where the hell all the noise and screaming were coming from. He had no time to think or wait for his call, when he saw Tony and Rich slam the gurney through the doors of the ER; he threw down the phone and met them as they got to the front desk. He was a little surprised to see a young woman kneeling over the patient.
What the hell are you doing? His accent strong and a little slurred in his tiredness. Jude didn't hear a word he said, she couldn't hear a damn thing over Michael's scream, and it was getting to the point where it was starting to annoy the hell out of her, What are you doing? yelled Luka loudly.
What the hell does it look like I'm doing, She recognized the accent, I'm saving this guys life. snapped Jude, she had no time for conversation; she had a life, and a leg to save.
Where we at? yelled Rich.
Trauma one. answered Luka; still unsure about what was going on, and who this young woman was, covered in blood. He had no idea if it was hers or the young boy screaming in pain. He would find out.
Kerry knew, and felt relief when she saw her fly pass on the gurney as Tony and Rich pushed their way through to trauma one. She stood in the corridor signing a chart for Lydia, and caught just a glimpse of a young woman on a gurney, but she recognized that face anywhere. A friend from way back. A friend who was a sister.
Kerry was only beginning her career as a doctor when she met Jude for the first time. Jude was a 16-year-old girl whose courage had wavered, whose strength had faded, and whose sanity had obviously been touched. Determined and caring, Kerry didn't give up on this girl who had come to her broken and torn. She consoled her during the nightmares, eased the suffering when the scars began to heal. Loving and gentle, Kerry held her as she cried herself to sleep and when she pleaded in her dreams to be spared from the hurt and hatred set down on her by a man she no longer thought of as her father. Dr. Weaver encouraged Jude when the daylight shine upon her face and the anguish showed, when she lay in her hospital bed, alone, living a life she often felt was not worth living. Kerry grew to love this young girl whose hope and spirit began to grow in the months following, whose scars faded, and whose determination finally brought her to a place, where she would survive.
Near amputation below the left knee, lacerations to the chest and face. shouted Jude over Michael's cries of pain. BP's 108 over 66, pulse 102, respiration's 24. Estimated blood loss at scene, 2 liters. Start two large bore IV's of normal saline wide open, and let's check his vitals every 5 minutes.
Let's give him morphine for the pain, insisted Luka. Haleh sprang into action. Kerry stood in the doorway watching Jude and Dr. Kovac run the trauma. She couldn't wait to catch up with her, they had not seen each other in over two years, and she missed her friend dearly.
Rich and Tony left them to it. Their job was done. They would come back later to check in on how his condition was and how he pulled through what would possibly be the worst thing that could ever happen to him in his life.
We're out of here, let us know how he goes, huh Doc? He was talking to Jude.
You got it, and thanks fella's. She made a mental note to let them know how it all went here on out. They had been a great help and she hoped she worked with them again during her stay in Chicago.
Michael's pain instantly subsided, as the nurse kept an eye on his BP and vitals. Jude still concerned about his leg changed the pressure dressing, checking the wound for contamination, and hoping shock didn't set in. Michael was lethargic but oriented in time and place. Luka checked Michael's pupils; he was more concerned with his other injuries. He wanted to rule out any internal bleeding and head injury.
Page whoever you need to, we need to get this kid into surgery ASAP.
Benton's on call. said Haleh. Malik went to the phone to page Dr. Benton.
Let's get a CT, chest film and pelvis, ordered Luka.
CBC? asked Haleh.
Yes, Lights, PT, PTT, and Urinalysis, type and cross match, and get four more liters of O neg. in here, answered Dr. Baker. And let's update his tetanus.
Haleh waited for Dr. Kovac's reassurance that Jude's orders were okay and he agreed. She left to get the blood. Jude was not impressed in having her patient taken over by another doctor, especially one she didn't know. Minutes later, chest film and pelvis was clear, no sign of any internal bleeding, they were still waiting on the CT but there was a hold up.
We need to get him into surgery, save his leg, before he gets an infection and it makes it too late for them to reattach it.
I want to rule out any head trauma and get his vitals stable before he goes to surgery!
You want to what? Wait a minute, you are? A jerk. Who did Luka think he was telling her what he was going to do to her patient?
Dr. Kovac. I work here. You?
I'm the doctor who's taking him up to surgery. Now if you don't mind, get out of the way. She didn't care who this guy was. Michael was her patient and she was going to save his leg. The nurses didn't know who was in charge, granted Luka Kovac had the seniority, but this girl brought him in and she seemed to know what she was talking about. They still didn't know if she was actually a doctor, but they saw Kerry at the door and she was not protesting about Jude and what she was doing. They figured they would stay out of it.
Already Jude could tell she didn't like this guy. She would never like him, she was sure of it. She knew no matter what happened, how life for him or her changed, or what lay ahead for them both, she wouldn't let herself like him under any circumstances, even if he was kind of sexy.
Let's rule out head trauma. interjected Luka. Jude couldn't believe this guy.
Tell me Michael, how many fingers do I have up? She held up two.
CT scans clear. He was starting to piss her off.
My leg... Michael's speech was a little slurred. Michael was petrified; he didn't want to lose his leg. He was 17 years old and he had his whole life ahead of him. Plans made. Dreams and ideals worked for. He had places to go, things to see and do. He had girlfriends to make love with. Children to nurture. He had weddings to dance at, and vacations to ski. He had the normal life of a 17-year-old boy to live, and all of that was suddenly slipping away.
Don't worry Michael I told you, out of here on two legs. She winked at him. Luka didn't like this. Michael's speech worried him, and losing consciousness at the scene was not a good sign.
Look, Kovac, is it? She knew it was. He nodded. Yes, it was.
It's been like close to 3 hours, we don't get his leg reattach, we're looking at infection, shock, and this kid is not going to leave here without both his legs, you understand me. Jude was starting to lose her temper. She wanted things to be happening so she could save her patient, his life, and his leg, and no one seemed to be doing anything about it.
He lost consciousness at the scene, his lethargic and his speech is little slurred. He was losing his temper too.
He's so ripped on meds of course his speech is slurred, so would yours be.
We rule out head trauma first and then we take him up. Neither of them was going to back down.
Didn't we just go through this? Am I not speaking clearly? She looks at Haleh, You understand me right?
We've controlled the bleeding. We stabilize his vitals, get his BP up, and wait on test results. interrupted Luka. Haleh didn't want to get into this. Dr. Kovac was the doctor she knew and trusted, that is all she needed to know, or cared to.
Okay fine, Jude knew Haleh's silence meant they were going to listen to this man, and under the same circumstances, she would have probably done the same. She didn't want to admit it, but she respected the nurse's decision. In simple terms and the easiest explanations, and in your own mothers tongue just so you'll understand it, kopile.
This woman was a bitch. A bitch that spoke Croatian. Who did this woman think she was? Luka Kovac didn't like her, and he didn't want to have some stranger who seemed to know what she was talking about tell him, how to run his patient in a trauma, even if she was kind of pretty.
Dr. Baker. Kerry's voice came from outside the trauma room doors. Jude didn't see her standing there. She was too busy trying to save Michael's leg, and piss off this doctor she took an instant disliking to. She saw Kerry standing there. Her face lit up, how she longed to see her friend. Take her into her arms, and remember what it was like to be loved by her closest and dearest friend.
Can I speak to you please? Jude knew this was Kerry's subtle way of asking her to leave Michael in Dr. Kovac's care. She didn't want to let go and she didn't want to give in, especially to this guy and her disappointment showed. Sure. Luka couldn't help feel a little pleased with himself, and she noticed.
Kovac! He looked at her. The CT scan comes back negative, and this kid loses his leg because you waited too long, granted you may be taller than I am and much bigger than I am, but I swear to God I will have no problems dropping you on your ass. She was serious, and he knew it. No more words spoken, no thoughts touched, or disturbed. Their stare entwined for what seemed an eternity.
Kerry broke it up.
The nurses were quiet, they liked her, they liked her attitude, they knew she was not the kind of person people stood on, and she was not. Jude Baker had past that stage in her life a long time ago. No longer did people take advantage of her, no longer did they use and abuse her. Now she stood up in dignity and pride to right a wrong, to help a helpless cause and to protect and save precious life.
She didn't want to be the first one to give in, and neither did he. Stubborn and confident in his manner, Luka was sure to set off a determination and fighting will in this young doctor as she had already fired up in him.
Now, Dr. Baker. demanded Kerry. She always hated it when Jude insisted on always pushing things, and never stepped back. She was afraid Jude's anger would push her over the edge she insisted walking on every day. Jude hesitantly walked out of the trauma room, leaving her patient in some other Doctor's hands. She did not like the idea.
Dr. Kovac, the second the boy's films get in take him upstairs, ordered Kerry, and he agreed. Luka checked Michael's vitals and almost amputated limb again while they waited on the scan, as Jude met Kerry in the corridor. For the time being Michael was in a stable condition, as soon as his CT scan was clear, they would take him up to surgery, where Dr. Walker from Anesthesiology was waiting and Dr. Benton and Dr. Lewis from Orthopedics prepared for surgery.
Jude and Kerry stepped out of the way, as not to disturb anyone and not to be disturbed. Two friends instantly reunited. Hugging tight, not wanting to let go for dear life. No one knew of the past they had shared, the past they had survived. Kerry Weaver had been the guiding hand, the force of will and power to Jude's recovery. Protecting and protective of her well being. Healer to her broken faith and torn flesh. Guard and guide to a soul who through anguish and despair found sanctuary in the spiritual hand of the heavenly father. Kerry Weaver had been the inspirational compass in the life of Jude Baker and in the path's she chose to take in her young life.
Sam Barnett ran to her car in fear and panic. She regretted ever buying her only son his first car. The nurse on the phone didn't explain too much, just that her son had been involved in an accident, and was at Cook County hospital receiving medical assistance from an event unforeseen by anyone 3 hours earlier.
In a single moment, and with a single phone call, Ms. Barnett's life had changed. Was he dead? Was he suffering? She threw her own car into first gear and sped to the hospital, praying to God her son's life had been spared.
To part 2
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