part 2 by Vicki



“How the hell are you, Kerry?” asked Jude as she lent on a nearby gurney and took off her skates. She was a lot shorter and stood around the same height as Kerry.

“I'm better now you're here.”

“Sorry about that, I would have been here sooner, but this kid...” Jude sighed, still remembering the accident. She had seen the whole thing from the sidewalk, while she waited to cross the street, when the lights changed. “At least now I know why I wear these things instead, “She held up her skates. “Less chance of getting my head caved in by some drunk.”

“Thank God.” Kerry agreed she couldn't imagine how she would handle losing such a good friend.

Kerry instantly noticed a change in her. A soft kindred spirit reflected from her eyes, the darkness that shadowed over her from year's past had almost lifted, and the sorrow fading. The distractions of work helped, perhaps moving to Chicago had been the right decision for Jude to make, in this time of her life.

Jude's diary was her sanctuary, an asylum for her madness, a church for her confession and prays, a refuge for her torn and broken, a shrine for her love and obsessions. The only thing in the world apart from Kerry that truly knew the life of 'Judith Baker.'

**I couldn't hold my breath any longer. I rose to the surface, to catch the breath that would save my life. My courage wavered. I could have easily let myself slip and drown, taking away my heartache and despair in a single moment and wouldn't have cared, but something brought me back to the surface. I do not know what it was and do not have the strength to find out or even question why. – Judith Baker, 10 years old.**

Jude didn't know what it was always bringing her back to the surface from death, Kerry was just glad what it was, was.

“So tell me something Kerry, who the hell is that guy?”

“Dr. Kovac, he is an Attending and he's very good.”

“Maybe...maybe not.” She was kidding and Kerry knew she was. She didn't know anything about this guy and quite frankly didn't want to. Jude thought him arrogant, pigheaded, and stubborn, much like she was.

“He will take good care of the boy!” Kerry was as reassuring as she could be. Luka Kovac was a good doctor, and he had done nothing since starting at County to contradict that fact.

“I want to follow this through. I promised I would take care of him. I promised I'd do everything I could to save his leg, and before you say anything, yes I know I shouldn't have made such a promise but I wasn't thinking, and....”

“It's all right,” Kerry cut in. She took Jude's waving hands in her own, it was one of her nervous habits, biting her nails was another, “Under the circumstances you did everything you could to protect him, and your right, you shouldn't have made that kind of promise, but now we need to leave it up to the surgeons to do what they can for him.”

“And Kovac keeps watch over him, right?”

“I think it would be best, yeah.”

“Yeah,” She was disappointed, but she trusted Kerry with her life, and felt if Kerry thought Michael was in good hands, then that's all there needed to be said on the subject. “Okay. So how about I clean myself up, you show me around, introduce me to some folks and I see some patients. We catch up, and I'll go up and check in on Michael a little later?” hinted Jude; she was not going to give up on this boy. After all a promise was a promise.

Haleh and Malik helped Luka transfer Michael to the elevators, to take him up to surgery. Kerry noticed. “Luka?” She yelled after them. They both caught up with Dr. Kovac and the nurses as they got to the elevator.

“His CT scan was clear, his BP is 128 over 78, respiration's 20. Dr. Benton and Dr. Lewis from Orthopedics are prepped and post. Op. is ready to go.”

“Excellent, take him up.”

“Are you coming?” Michael could no longer feel the pain from his injuries. The drugs were helping.

“I can't be in surgery, but I will be there as soon as you wake up, and I'm told your Mama's on her way!” She looked at Haleh, hoping she was not wrong; Haleh's smile reassured her she was not.

“Do not worry, you're in good hands...” She didn't want to say Luka's. That was the last thing she was going to do. Saying something ego boosting about a guy she didn't like, not on her first day.

“Thank you.” He was quite calm considering the journey he was about to embark on in his life. Having your leg reattached was not something that happened every day and he was handling it very well. The elevator doors opened. Jude leant down closer to Michael to whisper in his ear.

“Faith and hope are found deep within a spirited soul. Don't ever lose yours!” She winked at him, and he suddenly felt safe and protected. He was about to put his life into the hands of people he didn't know, but he trusted Jude and she trusted them.

Her eyes were clearly the windows to her soul. They showed the truth. They reflected her questions, her fears, and her horrors of failure. Jude tried her hardest to keep them hidden deep, and one could only see them in her green eyes when one found them deeply lost there, and she didn't give Michael the chance to. She looked away. She didn't want Michael to see that in a small untouched cavern of her heart she prayed for him, prayed God would be good to him and give back what easily could be taken in one single life-changing moment.

“Take care of him for me?” asked Jude to Luka, as Kerry held the doors open for them and they squeezed into the elevator.

“I will.” This was his promise. He had no idea if Dr. Benton and Dr. Lewis would be able to save Michael's leg but he would do his best in keeping the boy alive.


The elevator doors closed and Michael began his journey.

The elevator doors closed and Dr. Luka Kovac watched over his patient.

The elevator doors closed and Dr. Jude Baker rested her eyes for a moment. The noise of the ER hushed, the voices a whisper, the people ghosts. She knew what it was like to be scared and afraid. She knew what it was like to ache, suffer, and have her world shattered beyond repair. Jude knew what it was like not knowing what the future held or what tomorrow would bring, and she stood here on this day and made one more promise. She would be there for Michael in his time of need and recovery, and she would be there for him whatever the outcome of the next few hours held.

“Come on, let's grab a coffee, and get you cleaned up.” Kerry took her arm, entangled it within her own, and led Jude away to the lounge. They would drink coffee and catch up on the old days. The good times and those that had been bad, remembering moments of love and lovers, triumphs and tests. They would talk, and remember, laugh and cry a little, and before they knew it, time would pass.


The night fell over Chicago, like a blanket. The moon shined brightly through the dark clouds that wrapped the sky, and they brought no rain with them. None was forewarned for the next few days and no one seemed to care. They enjoyed the beautiful days while they lasted, winter was just around the corner.

Dr. Jude Baker, adjusted to her surroundings of the ER, like it was to be her second home, and knew as always, it probably would become just that. It was inevitable. Patients and people she didn't know, strangers who found themselves in circumstances beyond their control would become her life. Watching over them, caring for them and taking every conceivable measure to save their lives would be her priority in the following weeks she would spend at Cook County. Learning and experiencing all her mind and intellect could desire. It would become her every waking moment and she would let it. She did it because she loved it, the rush of turning a single human life completely around in one simple saving moment. She did it for the smile from the little girl she saved from drowning. For a father's heartbreak that is healed when his son's frozen lifeless body is brought back to life. She did it for the elderly couple that would soon be separated by death and disease.

She stood in trauma room 2 with Mary and Albert Edwards. They had come to her only an hour earlier. Albert Edwards showed all the signs of final stage of lung cancer. He lay on the hospital bed, injected with intravenous drugs and fluids, oxygen and monitors that allowed him to sleep painlessly. His wife of 55 years, Mary, sat at his vigil, grasping his hand in her own, afraid if she let go, he would finally slip away.

Mary Payne knew her life had been graciously touched when she found herself too taken with the eyes of the young man staring back, to remember something as simple as her name. Albert Edwards was sure his life would no longer be the same when in his proposal two months later to the young beautiful Mary she accepted. They entered into matrimony happily and looked forward to what their future held together. Surrounded by the laughter, the voices, and the love of their 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren, and of all the babies still to come.

Haleh checked his IV meds and changed his fluids, as Jude tried to comfort Mary with words of caring and solace. She always had problems dealing with the sadness and the fear of her patients. She always had trouble finding the right words when it came to consoling them, and found it easier to let them talk, and she stood listening to Mary talk about her life with the man who had been her only husband.

Jude noticed Kerry at the door, and excused herself from Mary and Albert and left them in Haleh's capable hands. Kerry wanted to check on her, make sure she was settling in okay, and she was. Faces and names still had to be learnt. Places and departments were things she tried to remember, patients and people had already come and gone, and Mr. Albert Edwards would be her fourth patient for the day. Kerry didn't want to rush her, she wanted Jude to know the doctors, and nurses, where things went and where they came from. She wanted her to know her way around, and be comfortable with the surroundings, before she took on the full responsibilities of what being a Resident meant.

“How's it going?” asked Kerry, being concerned was just a natural habit she had for the well being of Jude. Kerry knew even when they walked different paths; they were never truly apart. They were family and nothing could divide them. They had survived through Jude's worst moment in her life and they were each stronger for it, ready to take on what the rest of the world threw at them. Mangled bodies, lost minds, wandering souls. Late nights, long shifts, no pay. Babies, nutcases, gang members. They were up for anything. Never backed down on a good fight. Stepped up when a voice needed to be heard. They were the conscience of one another's mistakes. The praise of each other’s triumphs. They were the souls of each other's friendship.

“Good. My patient is Albert Edwards, 77 years old. Oncology had a chart on him; they're sending it down. He's in final stages of lung cancer. He was having difficulty breathing, his wife Mary insisted he come in to be checked over.”

“Okay. Your run down?”

“He's dehydrated, I gave IV fluids, morphine for the pain, still waiting on CBC, PT, PTT and I've ordered a chest film. I was thinking about a lung needle biopsy.” Kerry was impressed. She never once doubted the skills and experience of Jude. Kerry had not been surprised to hear only good things about Jude from the Chief-of-Staff at the hospital in Buffalo. There had been times and there had been moments when Jude struggled with what it was like to be a doctor in an ER but she often found the strength and passion that kept her going from a long distance phone call to a friend. A friend who inspired and encouraged her. A friend with her own skills and talent that brought her to be Chief of Emergency at County General.

“What do you think?”

“My guess, Pneumonia.” Jude was sure; she would wait on test results to confirm her diagnosis.

“That's probably likely, how are you going to treat it.”

“Albert has a DNR order, and doesn't want any evasive action taken, I thought I'd wait off on the biopsy, keep up the fluids, and the morphine, let natural takes it course.”

“Palliative care?”

“Making the patient as comfortable as possible.” Just like the old days, teacher, and student. Kerry had not only been a friend and sister but a mentor to a young girl who studied hard. During the day and during the night she planned her schemes, failure sometimes surfacing to her efforts but she forged forth with willingness and passion. Beckoned with only her knowledge and spirit, she discarded what didn't work, remembered what did. Details lay out before her; words were written down and read upon later. Mentally and physically exhausted she looked upon Kerry for guidance. She looked up to Kerry, granted she didn't always agree with her, but Jude learnt from Kerry's experience and appreciated her patience when tests were failed and hope scarce. Words of wisdom prevailed through the lapses of faith. The reassurances of it being worthwhile aided in the long days and the even longer nights. Trust, loyalty and friendship bonded with logic and reason, hard work and perseverance allowed Jude to rejoice in graduating top of her class at medical school and Kerry bask in the glory and triumph of watching a dear friend graduate top of her class.


Chuny interrupted them. She had an urgent message. “Excuse me Dr. Weaver.”

“What is it Chuny?” She looked at Jude. The message was for her. Chuny didn't really know what it all meant but the nurse from upstairs insisted she get it to the right person, “Are you, Dr. Baker?”

“Yes, I am.” Chuny was glad she found the right person. She didn't want to run all over the hospital looking for someone she didn't really know.

“What can I do for you, Chuny?”

“A nurse from upstairs called about the boy you came in with this morning.”

“Michael?” she listened closely. Perhaps there was news, and she couldn't afford to miss it.

“That's right, they asked to see you upstairs as soon as possible.”

“They did?” All the possibilities of what could have happened to Michael began to spin around in her head. “Okay, thank you.”

“Your welcome.” Chuny went back to her patient in exam room three. She had other things to do and only two hours left in her shift to do them in.

Jude was anxious, she didn't want to leave Mary and Albert, but she wanted desperately to see Michael.

“You go I'll take care of Mr. Edwards.”

“Thank you, Kerry,” Jude took off towards the elevator but suddenly remembered she didn't know which floor the surgery took place on, “Kerry?”

Kerry stopped at the door, and looked at her friend with compassion and concern. Jude let things get to her sometimes, took things personally, and embraced the burden of others way too often, and Kerry had always been there to help her through. They would talk and listen to each other, help each other out of trouble and sometimes, not very often, but sometimes put each other into it.

“The 5th floor.”

Kerry and Jude had been friends for so long now they often experienced a strange intuition that couldn't fully be explained. It was though they could read one another's mind. They knew what each other was thinking before it was thought, felt each other's feelings as their own. Jude smiled in appreciation. At times, she didn't know what she would do without Kerry, and didn't ever want to think about the possibility of that ever being a choice she had to make.

Kerry joined Mary and Albert, and explained to them that Dr. Baker would be back as soon as she could. Jude stood waiting impatiently at the elevator waiting to get to the 5th floor and check in on Michael's progress. Being asked to be there surely couldn't have been a good sign. She buried all the bad thoughts down deep and surfaced only the good ones in her mind. The elevator took too long, she decided the stairs would be quicker and rushed her way up to the 5th floor.

It took too long to get there. She quickly located the nurse's station and found the nurse was on the phone. Jude didn't want to interrupt in case it was an emergency; suddenly she realized it was not. A date with some stud just didn't seem that important to hold her up. Her annoyance was abundantly obvious.

“Excuse me I was looking for...” she interrupted but the nurse didn't pay her any attention. The redheaded nurse was busy, busy with things that didn't seem appropriate at this time and in this place. In her frustration and anger in being kept waiting, Jude leant over the counter, and found what she was looking for. The phone line went dead. Jude had hung up on whomever she was talking to. The nurse was not impressed and Jude was not there to impress her.

“They’re looking for me.”

“They are?” Her attitude sucked. Was it Jude's fault she was not doing her job?

Jude tried to remember their names, but couldn't. She had done so much today, seen so many faces, learnt so many names, and been weighed down with worry for a young boy who had instantly become a friend.

“I can't remember their names, they were performing surgery on a young boy, part amputation of the left leg.”

The nurse knew whom she was talking about; she had just begun her shift when they started the surgery. She grabbed a nearby chart and looked it over, flipping through the pages to find the Doctor's names that were performing the surgery. Vindictive in her manner, she would take her time, and still not come up with any names.

“I can't seem to find it hold on a sec I need to call someone. You have no objections to me using the phone, do you?” barked the nurse. Jude couldn't believe this.  The nurse picked up the phone and dialed through to another station. Jude's eye caught the figure of a man she recognized. A face remembered from this morning. Dr. Kovac stood down the corridor waiting to hear word from Dr. Benton.

“Never mind.” Jude left the nurse, and didn't give her a second thought. She walked towards Luka and he noticed her coming. He waited patiently for her to meet up with him, and to hear word on Michael's procedure.

“What going on?” asked Jude as she met up with Luka.

“Dr. Benton asked to see us?”

“Here we are, so where is he?”

“The nurse said he'd be out in a minute.”

“You got that out of her?”

“Excuse me?” He was confused. It was not important.

“Forget it.” Jude's impatience showed. How is it she got nothing out of the nurse and Dr. Kovac did. She figured it had something to do with sex and right now, she didn't have time to get in to it. She viciously threw the thoughts out of her mind, how could she be thinking about sex? About tall, handsome doctor's who smiled and brought women to their knees? She couldn't and wouldn't allow herself to. She always hated to be held waiting. Things needed to be done, and she had things to do, keeping her word to Michael was one of them.


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