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A fine state of affairs by Marieke Vink


“..........another 3 liters on the rapid infuser, he is loosing too much blood.”

Abby took the IV bag and adjusted it so that the blood would run in faster. “How much more blood can you give someone before you call it a day” she wondered.

“Ok everybody, hands off for a second. Give me some suction, I can’t see a thing here.” Kerry took a step back to see if all holes had been sutured but it seemed of no use. They had been working on the poor boy for more than 30 minutes and he was still bleeding everywhere. No matter how much Kerry wanted to save every patient that was brought in to her ER, she knew she just couldn’t win all the battles that were thrown at her every day. As the monitors behind her flat lined, she took off her gloves..........

“Time of death: 17.32 hours. Abby, would you please clean the boy up while I go and tell the parents. Thanks people, good work.”

Kerry grabbed her crutch and walked out of the room. She looked at the people in the waiting area but went in to the doctor’s lounge first. Damn how she hated this part of her job. She had learned in med school that no doctor ever gets used to bringing bad news to anxious family members. And no matter how much she had trained herself, loosing a child always hit her hard. Just seemed so unfair that a child would not get a chance to make something out of life. She checked her face in the mirror to see if there wasn’t any blood left on her clothes. Telling the parents their son had died was bad enough as it is, but the sight of his blood on the doctor would only make things worse. Kerry hated when Peter Benton just walked out of the trauma room, straight up to the parents, all covered in blood. She took a clean lab coat out of her locker, took a deep breath and walked in to the waiting area.

“Mister and Misses Johnston?...................”

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“Doctor Malucci!!!!!!!!!” Kerry’s voice carried through the ER. “Doctor Malucci, once you have finished drooling over our female staff, would you please be so kind as to get your ass in to gear and help Mr. Lang in Exam 2. He seems to be suffering from a nasty bowel infection.”

“Sure Chief, on my way.” Malucci tried to sound lighthearted as he tore his eyes away from Dr. Legaspi. Weaver was really getting on his nerves. He just seemed unable to do things right in her eyes. If it were up to Weaver, there would be no fun left in working as a doctor. No laughing, no joking. Just work, work, work and no play. He did not mind a boss with a strong opinion but Weaver was simply a bitch. “Festus needs to get laid.” He mumbled as he picked up the chart.

“What was that Malucci?”

“Oh, hi Abby. I was just talking to myself.”

“You’re calling *yourself* Festus these days? I thought you had that name reserved for someone else but I am glad you have suddenly gained new insight in your own personality. And as for the ‘getting laid’ part, I don’t think Dr. Legaspi will ever consider doing you that favor.”

Abby spun on her heels and walked away, grinning at Kim as she passed her at the nurses station. Abby had grown very fond of the attending from Psych. Ever since she had to go back to being a nurse, she had a nagging feeling of insecurity about her abilities to ever make it as a doctor. On their numerous evenings out, Kim had listened to Abby’s worries and without ever being condescending, Kim had assured Abby that she had a great future as a doctor OR a nurse. Kim seemed to be the only one who understood that maybe Abby did not want to be a doctor anymore. Carter was constantly telling her to go back to med school and finish her education. He kept saying that it was silly to be so insecure and that she should just get her head together and get on with it. Kim had understood that it wasn’t laziness that kept Abby from going back. It was something much deeper than that and until those issues were resolved, there was no question of Abby picking up her course again.

“Abby.......”

The voice of Kerry Weaver brought her back to the present with a shudder.

“Abby, are you OK? Where were you with your thoughts? You seemed miles away.”

Kerry smiled at the nurse and looked at her with concern in her eyes. Abby had looked tired in the past few weeks. Kerry knew that having her mother suddenly appearing in Chicago had started to take its toll on the young nurse. She had wanted to talk to Abby about it but every time she addressed the subject, Abby had cut her off by saying everything was fine. Kerry knew that was lie, after all, it was her own defense as well, but she did not know how to get Abby to see that she could talk to her. Kerry knew her reputation in the ER was that of a tight-assed bitch but she felt there was another reason why Abby didn’t open up to her.

“I’m OK Dr. Weaver. Just a little tired. I’m just going to Doc Magoo’s for some coffee if that is OK. Should I bring you back some too?”

“That would be nice, thank you. Strong black, no sugar.”

Kerry watched at Abby as she left through the ambulance bay. If only she would talk to someone, Kerry thought.

“Bike vs. bus coming in 5 minutes. Lady got hit by reversing bus.” Frank’s voice shot everyone in to action.

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Abby lingered in Doc Magoo’s longer than she really needed. But she did not want to go back in to the ER either. In fact, for the past few weeks, all she had wanted to do was run away from that place as far as she could, stick her head under a blanket and go into a semi-permanent stage of hibernation. She had seen the ambulance drive up and she knew she really should be running back to the ER to help. But she felt like her legs couldn’t move. “Come on, Lockhart. Only 1 hour left on your shift and then a glorious weekend off.” She moved towards the door but made no attempt to run. As she reached for the door, she bumped in to Kim who just came in.

“Hi Abby. Are you off already? I thought you still had an hour to go? Oh my, you look dreadful. Why don’t I wait here until you are finished in there and we can talk about it?”

Abby knew when Kim sounded like that, there really was no arguing. She nodded silently and crossed the street towards the hospital.

As soon as she walked through the doors, her professional attitude kicked in again and she walked in to trauma 2 just in time to hear Kerry say: “Where the hell is Abby? She left for Coffee 15 minutes ago. Ah, finally, just in time. Start two large IV’s, 2 liters of saline, CBC, Chem7, cross type and match, EKG and a chest x-ray. “

As they worked feverishly to stabilize the patient, Abby looked at Kerry Weaver. She felt bad for brushing her off earlier. She really had wanted to talk to Kerry. But where would she begin? And would it be worth the risk of making a total fool of herself? Maybe she should talk it over with a friend first. Kim? Kim was hardly objective about Kerry. Everyone in the ER knew about their relationship. It had ended acrimoniously but the two of them had worked really hard to solve their issues and now they were close friends.

Friends with Weaver............most of the staff had thought that was a contradiction in terms. Since Abby had heard about Kim and Kerry being together, she had changed the way she looked at Kerry. She used to side with most of the staff in thinking that Kerry was just someone with a total lack of social skills. All she did was boss people around and yell at them. Her only compassion seemed to be for her patients and none seemed left for her colleagues. Did Kerry even have any friends before she met Kim? Abby highly doubted it. But she had noticed subtle changes in Kerry’s behavior in the past few months. For those who really wanted to see it, there was a small opening in the massive wall around Dr. Weaver, showing a tiny bit of Kerry. Just seemed that nobody seemed to notice it. Nobody but Abby. And Kim. She would talk to Kim. Tonight. Only 30 minutes before she was off.

A fine state of affairs, part 2