That Healing Touch Series by K.Darblyne

Copyright @ 2000 by K.Darblyne. All Rights Reserved.

Book One

The Fellowship

The Healing Touch Series is dedicated to all of the personnel that staff and provide Emergency Medical Services to people everywhere. To their lust for life, I salute the many that I have personally served with and acknowledge the need for their continuing efforts. Without their dedicated effort, many a heart would be mournful.


All names and characters depicted in this story are fictitious and belong solely to me. Any resemblance to a living or dead person is strictly coincidental and completely unintentional. It is my right to place them into situations and emotional turmoil as I see fit knowing full well that I am in total control of the story and it’s outcome. Never fear, my love for these characters will insure their long lasting tale.

VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story depicts scenes of violence and /or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other that this story. The story revolves around a Trauma Hospital and therefore is laced with patients involved in a trauma of one kind or another.

MATURE THEME WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story depicts scenes of a mature nature. Although nothing is graphic in nature, and depending on the imagination of the reader, this story will be given a self-imposed rating of R. If you are under 18 years of age, please do not read it.

SUBEXT WARNING/DISCAIMER: But of course! What would a story about the bonding power of friendship and love be without subtext? After all, isn’t that what we like the most about it.

SPECIAL THANKS go out to the numerous people who both helped and encouraged me along the way in this my first endeavor. To: Pat for her fond remembrance of ambulance rides. To Deb for her help in how to spell TRAUMA and technical name support. To Annie that thought enough of it to put me in touch with one excellent beta reader, Inga who painstakingly read each chapter over and over again until perfected. To WolfDragon who had faith in it and offered to post it before it’s completion, but most of all to the long time friend that humored me at first then acted as editor trying to not let me look too badly to you, my public.

FEEDING THE BARD: With any work, I like to know how it is effecting you and your feelings on my attempt to entertain you. I ask that you feed the bard with you helpful critics and thoughts. Remember that no helpful criticism will go unheeded and will only aid me in providing a better story for you next time. I can be reached at and do look forward to hearing from my readers.

NOTE: All flaming E-mail will be handled with fire tongs and kevlar gloves so that they may be disposed of appropriately. I ask that you think before you write, as I have also done.


Chapter 1

The taxi came to a stop at the entranceway lined with stark wrought iron fencing. It was an errie sight, as though the early morning fog had swallowed everything just past the ominous looking gates. The driver paused casting his eyes into the rearview mirror. His gaze now fixed on the silent figure staring out the side window.

This was not one of his favorite areas to take passengers to, especially this early in his shift. It was too far from the downtown area with all of its quick lucrative fares. He cursed himself as he thought of how attractive and stalwart the woman had appeared as she approached his cab. If she had not been a real looker, he surely would have passed on this particular trip.

A smirk came to his face, and his words were almost inaudible as if he were thinking in a whisper. "It might not be dollars in my pocket, but is sure is payment for my eyes. After all she picked ME over the others parked at the taxi stand."

This would be payment enough since he knew that in this lifetime his chance of personally attracting someone of her caliber was slim to none.

It seemed like an eternity before he was able to find the words, "You getting out here?"

Still fixed in her position she slowly answered, "No, not here. Take the first road to the left and stop by the reflection pool." The woman was amazed that she remembered the way, after all it was a long time since her last visit here. The memories began to flood into her mind. Her eyes became moist, but no tears would come. She knew that they had all been spent on her first visit some nineteen years ago. She had vowed to herself at that time that crying was a waste of energy that could be put to better use. Energy that could eliminate pain and sorrow…yes, that feeling of loss so no one else would have to suffer as she had and for that matter, still did.

The cabbie resumed the forward motion following her directives. He could feel the melancholy exuding from the stoic passenger, his heart wanting to offer her support. He resigned himself to the fact that this was not possible.

"Would you like me to wait for you?" His eyes searching in the rearview mirror for hers.

"Yes, thank you. I’ll only be a few moments."

She opened the door and climbed out of the taxi. The ride had been long and her body felt relieved to stretch as she walked around to the right side of the reflection pool. The rows of stones materialized slowly, one by one as her steady gait advanced her down the length of the pool. Then out of nowhere it seemed to jump out at her. She stopped abruptly as she recognized her family name in large letters across the top of the marble stone, Trivoli. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath she could feel her hands tremble as she reached out to touch the stone, hoping somehow to connect with those of her past. She knelt, running her outstretched fingers over the name, Lucas.

"You’re not forgotten," she whispered. "You are the guiding force in my mind that enables me to continue on." She bowed her head and shook it slowly; "No one ever needs to feel this pain. No one!"

As if on cue, a gentle wind blew causing her shoulder length raven hair to caress her face. The woman turned looking into the breeze and allowed a small lopsided smile to emerge. "You always knew how to comfort me, didn’t you?"

If only things were different. If only we could be together again, her thoughts raced wildly trying to create images of what should have transpired over the last nineteen years. It tortured her to realize that all of her love and devotion could still leave such a cold empty feeling.

Bowing her head as though in homage she quietly whispered. "I promise, I will make a difference." Reaching out she gently placed a blown kiss on the cold marble and rose to her feet. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and turned with almost military perfection. Her walk was purposeful as she returned to the awaiting taxi.

She paused half way into the rear seat, turning for one last look. "I promise." The words were barely audible.

The dark hair floated in the air as her head now quickly turned, her intense blue eyes pinning the driver who was staring in utter amazement. His mouth was agape; he could not believe his sight. Those eyes, they were the bluest he had ever seen. Words…God…his mind and body were failing him as he tried to respond. His mouth left hanging open, his ears could hear her say, "Now, to the Emeryville Train Station." Her voice was commanding him.

Slowly he nodded and turned, his body reacting on autopilot as he placed the cab in drive and started the journey. The beautiful woman settled herself for the ride. She looked into the mirror and then to the picture of the cabby on the back of the seat. Her gaze now went back to the mirror.

"Thanks for waiting, Jake."

His eyes darted to the mirror and a warm smile came across his face. "You’re welcome."

She had called him by name and it had made him feel good. Yes, he was glad that he had accepted this fare. Now with every ounce of pride in his cab and himself he drove on to Emeryville.


The ride did not seem as long this time and soon the beaming cabby pulled into the drop off area of the train station. His time in the presence of this alluring creature had come to an end, but he did not mind. After all, she had chosen him to share in her touching farewell and he was glad that he could be of service.

He got out and held open the door for his passenger. She emerged and stood next to him. He gauged her at close to six foot as he looked up into her bronzed complexion and azure blue eyes.

She smiled at him while reaching with her right hand into her Dockers front pocket. She took his hand and pressed a bill into it. "This should take care of everything. Oh, and Jake, Thank You again," her eyes expressed her sincerity.

"Sure, anytime ma’am." was all he could say.

She hoisted the strap of the garment bag over her shoulder with ease and reached back to grab the small overnight duffel bag off of the seat. She nodded to him and strode over to the entrance of the train station.

He watched her pass through the doors and sighed. She was gone from his sight when he finally opened his hand and looked at its contents. "Wow! A hundred bucks!" His eyes bugged out. Yeah, he was glad she had picked him.


She presented her folder to the older man at the ticket window. "Is the train on time?"

"It starts here, it better be on time," he said with a wink, shuffling through her ticket vouchers. "Lets see now, train #6 to Chicago with a final destination of Pittsburgh. Do you have any bags to check in?"

She shook her head, "No."

"Then you’re good to go, Miss. We’ll be boarding in a few minutes. Have a nice trip." He stapled a boarding pass to the folder and handed it back to her.

She smiled at him and nodded, "Thanks."

The statuesque woman shifted her luggage from one hand to the other and ambled out onto the platform, thankful that she never accumulated many possessions in her life. She detested being tied down to anything or anyone in particular. It just wasn’t her style.


The train had slowed to a stop and the smartly dressed conductor leaned out of the stairway, looking up and down the length of the train. He descended the steps and yelled, "All aboard!" His eyes fell to her as he held out his hand for her boarding pass. She handed it to him and waited silently.

"You’re in sleeper #1304. That’s two cars down, just passed the dinner."

"Thank you," she answered and found her way down to the appropriate car.

With her hand on the railing, she stepped up into the doorway. She halted on the step and slowly turned half way around as to survey the scene. Taking a deep breath in she muttered to herself. "And so, the journey begins." Her steps were filled with confidence as she continued into the passageway to find her reserved sleeper area.

The young uniformed man turned to her asking, "Ticket, please."

She handed the folder to him and again waited.

"You’re in #6, that will be half way down on the right." His voice was clear and energetic. "First time on the train?"

"Yes, I thought that I might want to see the country."

He shook his head as he handed the ticket folder back to her, "That you will. Press the call button if you need anything. My name is Carl and I’ll be your train attendant for this leg of your trip."

"Thanks," her hand trying to steady the large garment bag in the narrow aisle.

"Ma’am, you can stow that big piece of luggage on one of those compartments." The train attendant motioned to the metal shelving. "The sleeper will be a little crowded otherwise."

She smiled at him and carefully placed her piece of luggage on the top shelf. She nodded in appreciation and ascended the narrow stairway. She continued down the aisle until she came to the lighted #6 suspended from the ceiling. The door was open and she peered inside.

It appeared no smaller than the area she was accustomed to be quartered in on board ship for the last year or so. ‘Yeah…I can do this for three days with no sweat.’ Her thoughts were of her first night aboard ship and trying to find enough space to relax and stretch out. A tiny smile toyed with her lips as she placed her duffel under one of the seats. ‘Well, at least I have a view with this cabin,’ she thought as she made herself comfortable using the seat facing her for a footrest. ‘There, that should discourage anyone from visiting.’ Her eyes gazed out of the large window at the landscaped area around the station. It was stark, much like her life with only her goals acting as the mile markers.

‘The next few days will surely help me to make the transition into civilian life a little easier. After all, no one will be saluting me from now on,’ she reflected. It was her decision not to let anyone know who or what she was on her journey into the next part of her life. Yes, this trip she chose to use all of her time to reflect on her life and her goals in her future. She had lived with the past and now she intended to let it catapult her into the future.

The train began to inch away from the station, the scenery now slowly moving by as she noticed the gentle sway of the car on the tracks. The muffled clickety-clack was a welcomed background noise as she thought of what might await her at her destination.

"Well, perhaps I’ll find my destiny in Pittsburgh. Who knows?" Her voice was anticipatory as she let her head lean against the window and enjoyed the view, not to mention the ride, alone.



Chapter 2


Small droplets of perspiration showed almost immediately on the woman’s brow as she exited her air-conditioned car into the stagnant heat and thick humidity of the inner city parking garage. It was only the last day of June and already it felt like the dog days of summer. She gathered her small cooler and backpack from the trunk of the car and began her habitual journey out of the garage.

The sun was edging down on the city skyline as the young woman wondered about the night to come. Her thoughts turned to her job and where it would lead her over the course of the next twelve hours or so. Years of experience told her that it would very likely be a hectic night. She could almost predict the jam-packed waiting room as she turned the corner of the building. The large plate glass windows allowed her to see inside the emergency room foyer just as a familiar voice called to her. She turned her attention to the doorway and found the smiling face of one of her co-workers.

"Tell me that you’re just coming in, too." Her eyes were beaming as a smile crossed her face.

The freckles on her red haired friend danced in laughter as she shook her head, "No, as a matter of fact, I’m on my way home to a long cold drink and a quit night. You would do better to go home, too. It’s been a real zoo in there today."

The young woman tossed her head to one side allowing her dampened blonde hair to rearrange itself on her forehead and with hands on both of her hips she demanded in jest, "Now, Dr. Potter, when have you known me to run from work?"

"Never and that’s the problem. I think you run towards it, Danni."

"Yeah, I know," the small blonde grinned. "Why don’t you have a cold one for me, Jamie? If that’ll make you feel any better."

"You bet it will," her glasses now sliding down her nose from sweat. "Enjoy your night."

"Thanks." Danni pushed the revolving door to gain admittance into the slightly cooler building. She waved at the security guard as she crossed the lobby and walked down the hall towards the Staff locker room. She was eager to get into her almost nightly routine and this tonight she might even appreciate the artificially cooled climate.


The evening was continuing exactly as her friend’s day had been…a real zoo.

The E.R. seemed to be a penalty box for the city residents as the heat and humidity brought out the short tempers and the numerous cases of cold beer induced bravado of the struggling working class. Danni felt for these people.

She had always associated herself to the poor and oppressed of society, trying as she may to alleviate them of their suffering. This was why she had chose nursing as her career path. It was a good choice for her as she demonstrated her expertise of nursing principles and kind heart to all her patients.

The customary din of the area was now pierced by a shrill squawking set of tones. Danni’s attention was diverted from the computer screen and her charting to the crackling sound her beeper was emitting. "Trauma Team Alert. Helicopter #4 dispatching for a scene run to Fayette County for a head-on two-vehicle MVA. Trauma Team Alert time 2347."

"You’ll be able to take that pt. when it arrives, won’t you, Danni?" the charge nurse asked.

"Sure, I’ll be done with this last chart in just a few minutes, Karen."

The graying nurse smiled at her and leaned over to speak so no one else could hear, "I tried a new recipe today, it’s in the break room. I think you’ll like it. It’s nut bread." The older nurse watched the expression on the young blonde as it turned into an all out smile. Her pudgy body trying not to jiggle as she laughed. She knew the addiction that Danni had for food but especially for nut bread.

"That’s great! Thanks, Mom." Danni sighed. It was a term that most of the younger nurses called Karen. She was like their "Mom". She watched out for them and lent an ear when the need arose. She loved them as she would her own and they knew that they could go to her with any problem. She was one of the reasons that Danni felt so at home in this environment. Karen made everyone feel like they were one big E.R. family.

Danni finished her charting and made a pass through the break room where she grabbed a small piece of the freshly baked nut bread. She popped it into her mouth and closed her eyes, savoring the flavor. What she wouldn’t give for a glass of milk and time to eat some more. Her thoughts were interrupted by the beeper she carried, "Trauma Team Page. Helicopter #4 inbound with one patient, male involved in MVA rollover. This is a Level I Trauma Team Page. ETA 10 minutes."

She exited the small room and started towards the trauma hall. Rounding the corner into the first trauma room, Danni could see the bustle of activity starting as her back-up nurse Rosie made last minute preparations to the room.

"What is this the sixth in just as many hours? Well, at least they’re not coming all at the same time tonight," the auburn hair nurse grimaced as she pulled the Velcro closure of the leaded apron to adjust to her tall willowy build.

Danni thought a moment then agreed, "I believe so, but at least we don’t have a brand new team to break in for several more hours. Don’t you just love the first day of a new teaching year?"

"Yeah, right!" was Rosie’s reply. She slowly pondered a thought and with a wry smile she stated, "Wonder if there’ll be any available ones this year."

"Is that the only thing you think about?" The blonde nurse wrinkled her nose at Rosie and proceeded to dress in the fluid proof gown. "I swear you’re just waiting to latch on to one."

"Hmm, you never know. I do have my standards to meet. I just don’t want any doctor, just one whom will make a name for themselves."

"Well, your prayers may be answered this year, Rosie," the voice was deep and authoritative as the Chief Surgical Resident enunciated his words to the team members as they assembled outside of the trauma room. "One of the new guys is already making a name for himself before he even starts."

"Come on, David, don’t stop there." Rosie was determined to find out what he was hinting at.

"It seems that the surgeon left a promising career to take the year of Fellowship here." David pondered. "I don’t know why anyone would leave a good job to come here and be subjected to this torture. Long hours and every third night on call wouldn’t be bringing me out of private practice."

"He sounds like a man on a mission." Rosie was making eyes as she spoke.

Danni smiled at the antics of her friend, "Almost too perfect for you."

"The name is Garrett Trivoli, one of the Trauma fellows for the next year. Yep, that’ll be my replacement in just about five hours."

"What else do you know about him? Come on, give it up, David."

"Rosie you are relentless," the Chief Resident sighed. "All I know is for the last three years Trivoli was in the Navy, commissioned as a Lieutenant, and served as a Flight Surgeon aboard several aircraft carriers."

"Oh boy, a Prima Dona that we have to salute," Karen rolled her eyes and laughed.

"I guess we better practice our ‘Yes, Sir’ for tomorrow night," the x-ray tech said as she snapped to attention.

Everyone broke into a chuckle at the antics of the mock saluting being readily passed around the room, but the giddiness was shattered as the overhead intercom announced, "Trauma in the Department. Trauma in the Department."

"Alright, People, we’ve got a job to do," David regained his composure and awaited the arrival of the Helicopter Crew with their patient.

"Too good to be true," Rosie mutter under her breath. "Probably married and with kids."

"Shhh! Rosie!" Danni scolded her as the stretcher was wheeled into the trauma room. The team immediately began their business a usual with David leading them.


The night seemed to fly by as three more trauma patients rolled through the doors, each one allowing a few minutes reprieve upon their dispatch to a floor before the next one came in. Finally with the last one being sent to a floor for a bed assignment, the chaos subsided and things began to come to a slower more relaxed pace.

Danni was pleased that all of her patients had lived; though it would be touch and go for a few of them. At least she did not have to think of the devastation to the families that a traumatic death brought with it. If only people would let their true feeling be known, especially to those that we love, it would ease the pain when someone is snatched unexpectedly out of our midst. All too often we wait until it is too late to say words of praise or affection to our loved ones. She had read somewhere that the dead can hear the thoughts of the living. For the sake of all those that died before they knew they were loved, she hoped this was true.

Danni could see the night sky fading into the light of morning as she passed by the large glass doors leading to the ambulance parking area. They had miraculously survived another night of darkness and forlorn to revel in the birth of a new day. Her face had a far off look on it as she turned back into the fluorescent lighting of the E.R., her mind preoccupied with the events of the past night.

"Earth to Danni, earth to Danni." David had come around the corner and stepped to the side so as not to run into the young woman.

"Huh, oh, sorry." Danni shook the thoughts from her head causing her short blonde hair to quiver. "I was just…"

"No need to apologize. I just stopped by to say thanks for all your help tonight. Hey, for the last few years, too. You really know your stuff, Danni. You’re a real asset to this trauma program. In fact all the nurses are." The Chief Resident reached out and hugged the smaller woman, "Thanks for everything."

She was stunned, and could feel the heat searing through her body as she blushed turning her face bright red in color. Out of the corner of her eye, Danni could see Rosie mouth the words; ‘He’s got a crush on you.’

David released her and turned to see the rest of the E.R. staff silently looking on. He was busted and he knew it. "Everyone, thanks, you’re the best."

"Hey, David, where’s my hug?"

"I should have known you would be the one to ask, Rosie." He walked over to the tall women and gave her shoulders a good squeeze.

"You are so bad!" Danni could not believe her coworkers antics.

She grabbed the Chief Residents arm in an attempt to pry him away from Rosie. "You better leave before she has you in her clutches."

"Hey, I resent that! So doc, what can you tell us about the new fellows?" Rosie had a one-tract mind and right now she wanted to know all she could about any potential available doctors.

"OK, ok, there are three new fellows starting today. I haven’t met them all but I do know their names." David looked at the crowd and then singled out Rosie. "Two men and a woman; Garrett Trivoli, Nathaniel Hostetler, and Rene Chabot."

"Two men, huh. I always did like men in uniform," Rosie said with a mischievous grin on her face as her thoughts turned to ships and the sea.

Karen now stepped in taking David by the arm and pushing him along on his way, "Now off with you and go be an attending or something, will you, Please! You’re disrupting my E.R." She leaned into his ear, whispering, "Keep in touch, David and good luck."

With that the Chief Resident nodded and waved as he walked down the hall savoring his last few minutes in the program and thinking of all the friends he would leave behind.


The daylight shift was slowly gathering at the nurse’s station in an attempt to obtain reports on the few patients that were left in the E.R. treatment rooms. It was time for the night shift to begin to wind their activity down and think about home, sleep, and food. The night had been so busy that thoughts of lunch had been put by the wayside. Perhaps this is why there was always an abundant supply of snacks and "finger food" brought in by the staff. They were accustomed to sharing what they had with each other and with the Medical Staff that frequented the area in response to the consults the E.R. Physicians requested on their patients.

Danni could feel her stomach rumbling as she handed the trauma beeper over to her daylight equivalent. John had been a nurse for several years and was capable in his duties. It was his attitude that turned most women against him. His constant discussion of sports or his sexual attributes and exploits made most women feel uncomfortable if around him for any length of time. Danni was no exception. She thanked the gods above that John rarely worked a night shift explaining that this was valuable copulating time for him and she had learned early in her E.R. career to schedule herself for a daylight shift when it was his day off. She secretly thanked "Mom" for teaching her this little trick.

"Everything is stocked and ready for the next trauma patient to arrive. We were alerted for a gunshot victim about ten minutes ago but have had no further updates." Danni smiled at the prospect of changing out of her sweaty scrubs, her shift was now over and on time for once.

John took the smile on her face as an invitation to flirt and asked her quite pointedly, "You off tonight? Maybe you want to meet me after work and we could have our own little sweatfest. I could fit you in early."

"No, thanks, I’ll be here working," was Danni’s reply. The verbal exchange came to an abrupt end when the piercing tones of the trauma beeper went off.

"Trauma Team Page. Trauma Team Page. Twenty-year-old male with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen. Patient is intubated. ETA 1 minute by ambulance to your facility. Level I Trauma Page."

‘Thank you.‘ Danni thought as she saw John’s facial expression change as he took off running down the hall to the trauma room.

Rosie came over to were Danni was standing, "Hey, you ready to get out of this zoo?"

"Yeah," she said turning to go out the E.R. door leading to the Lobby. "It’s been a long night and I sure am starving."

"Hey, you two, wait up for me," Karen called out to the pair at the door.

They looked over their shoulder to see "Mom" coming towards them. A split second was all that it took and suddenly they heard a loud bang, as the door in front of them slammed open and a tall athletic body hurtled through pushing between them, eagerly making it’s way down the trauma hallway.

"Mom, watch out!" They yelled in unison. Each preparing for the impact that they believed could not be averted.

Karen just closed her eyes in anticipation of the impending collision. "Mom" waited, but it never came. Long dark tresses were flying behind the figure as it moved with catlike grace easily side stepping the older, slow moving, pudgy form of the Charge nurse by millimeters. She opened her eyes and looked around herself with great trepidation. She was still standing and in one piece.

Danni and Rosie were at her side within seconds, bracing her up. Karen felt like she was going to faint. How could she have not been hit or hurt. Her voice was trembling and soft; "I’m all right, girls. I’m all right."

"I have a good mind to go after that idiot," Rosie blurted out.

"Don’t bother, it’s probably the first trauma page in her life." Danni was not one to rush in to confrontations. "She’ll learn. They should tell these medical students that they are not the one’s that save the patients."

"Do you want to sit down, Mom?"

"No, just get me out of this zoo before it’s too late. I just want to go home," the older woman pleaded.

Propped on either side by her co-workers, Karen shakily made her way to the locker room. The night shift was officially over.

Chapter 3

The trauma hallway and room were bursting with activity. The critical nature of the incoming patient was evident. Every level of medical professional on the team realized that it would be a race against the clock to save the young man’s life. There would be no time to discuss methods of treatment or to consult with the Attending Physician. It literally was down to do or let the young man die. And by the gods, if Trivoli had anything to say about it, this young man was going to get another chance at life. ‘The ball is in my court now! This is what I have been training for my entire career,’ raced through the surgeon’s mind.

A feral smile came to the Fellow’s face as the overhead loudspeaker squawked, "Trauma patient is in the department. Trauma patient is in the department."

Seeing the blood drenched, limp body of the young man on the ambulance stretcher, Garrett began firing off orders letting instinct take control. "I want a quick chest x-ray and abdomen x-ray. Check for pulses. Get me a pressure. Hang all four units of blood and notify the Operating Room that we’re coming up now. Tell them to have Thoracic Surgery meet us up there. Call the Blood Bank and have them send a ten pack of O positive blood to the O.R. to start, and a four pack every fifteen minutes for the next hour."

Trivoli watched as the team worked to meet all of the demands. The monitor showed tachycardia with multiple PVC’s, the pulse was weak and thready; the blood pressure was 70 over 40.

‘Not good, not good at all,’ Trivoli thought. "Time to move, NOW, to the O.R.," the low contralto voice decreed.

The directive caused the hallway to clear almost immediately creating an unobstructed path to the elevators. Every hand and foot was in motion to expedite the young lad’s way to the operating room, giving him a desperate chance for life. Once inside, the doors closed and the ascent was speedy.

The elevator came to a stop, the doors opening on the Operating Room level.

With the look of a well-rehearsed team, the forward momentum towards the area of bright lights and cold steel resumed instantly. The driven group easily negotiated the sixty feet of hallway and the two left-handed turns needed to bring them to the main entrance of the O.R. where they were met by the surgical personnel. The exchange of one team with the other was flawless with not an ounce of momentum lost.

The E.R. trauma team now watched their patient being maneuvered swiftly down the hall and into the surgical theater. The concern on their faces could have been construed as a silent prayer offered for the safekeeping of their patient’s life, teetering precariously on death’s doorstep.

A second or two passed before they were able to register what had taken place. They could feel the adrenaline surging through their bodies, their lungs in need of more oxygen. Slowly, each one began to look to the other, searching for reassurance. It felt as though they had been part of some surreal dream sequence of the perfect trauma delivery system. It felt good, damn good! Now, if only the patient would survive.

"Paper work," the stern looking woman at the desk demanded with an outstretched hand. "Do you have any paper work on the trauma patient?"

The dream atmosphere was now broken by the harshness of reality. John turned his gaze to her and slowly shook his head; "There was no time, no paper work generated. Hell, we didn’t even give him a name." He looked down at his watch noticing that only twelve minutes had elapsed since the trauma pager warned them of the almost immediate one-minute ETA.

She looked over the top of her glasses at him and mockingly said, "What am I supposed to call him?"

The other E.R. nurse cleared his throat and softly spoke, "Lucky…call him Lucky Doe." Steve truly believed that, deep in his heart. The ex-paramedic had seen many gunshot victims bleed to death, either enroute to the hospital or upon arrival in the trauma rooms. But this had been different; it had almost a magical feel to it. "I’ll let Admissions know." The nurse ran his hand through his thinning, light brown hair in a sort of calming gesture.

"What trauma surgeon is in charge of that patient?" The woman asked the E.R. nurses in front of her. She saw the puzzled look on their faces. "Why am I asking you," she muttered to herself, "first day of…hell, first hour of a new staff year." Her finger slammed down onto the intercom switch connecting her to the surgical arena for that particular patient. "Room One. Do you have the patient with multiple gunshot wounds?"

"Yes!" was the reply heard over the low hum of static noise.

"Your patient will be called Lucky Doe." The woman paused. "I need the name of the operating trauma surgeon please."

There was silence. A moment later the intercom crackled to life. "Trivoli,

Trauma Fellow Garrett Trivoli."


The patient had been quickly transferred to the operating table, prepped and draped while the anesthesiologist hurriedly applied his monitoring devices to the young man’s body. Trivoli’s eyes never leaving the monitor, donned the customary protective clothing of the operating arena.

"Place him in trendelenburg position and keep the temperature in this room at 50 degrees," the Fellow directed. "I’ll need size 8 gloves, please." She glared at the scrub nurse as she held out her hands. "I suspect that this will be the first and last time I have to tell you my glove size."

The nurse was shocked at the display of arrogance in the new Fellow. ‘Jeez, not even an hour into the new training year and already an attitude.’

She readied the sterile gloves for the surgeon to wear. "I’ll make sure the word gets around, Doctor," she nodded politely. ‘Yeah, that you’re one demanding bitch.’

Garrett now stepped up to the table, extending the gloved hand, "Bovie, please."

The surgeons were at the forefront of the battle to save the young life now. There was no time to waste, as Trivoli and Chief Surgical Resident, Rob Kreger would have to quickly find the major bleeders and stop them if at all possible. It was sure to be a team effort and one that would not be over anytime soon.


John and Steve returned to find the E.R. aide, Marianna, starting to clean up the trauma room. They were startled to see the amount of mess that had happened in such a short time.

"I can’t believe what a mess you guys make," she teased them.

"Well, be glad that trauma was only in this room ten minutes," John said, "or it would be a lot worse."

"Oh my, guess I’m a little late," Dr. McCormick poked his head into the room.

"Sorry, doc, the patient is already in the O.R.," Steve apologized to the E.R. Attending Physician.

"Alright then, ah…what was his name, do we even know?"

Steve looked straight at the stout, balding physician; "We’re calling him, Lucky Doe."

The doctor let a smile slowly crack across his face, "Let’s hope so."

"Say, you wouldn’t happen to know who the trauma surgeon was?" Dr. McCormick asked stepping back into the room.

"Trivoli, Trauma Fellow Garrett Trivoli." A large grin appeared on John’s face. ‘Yeah, this Trivoli rush came as close to having sex as one could get at work,’ the tall blonde nurse thought to himself. ‘This might even put a whole new outlook on the time that I spend in trauma.’

The Physician was surprised by the expression on John’s face. "Thanks, I’ll get the information I need when they’re done in surgery," McCormick said as he started to leave.

The nurse’s facial expression would not erase itself from Ian McCormick’s mind. He knew of John’s fanaticism with sports, his appetite for lewd comments and sexual escapades. ‘Trivoli, hmm…could have been a collegiate sports figure, or maybe someone who cracks comments like John.’ Then it hit him. That look! It was the one that most teenage boys have after their first sexual encounter or men when deep in lustful thoughts. The physician looked over his shoulder at John. ‘Oh, God, he’s getting off on men now! Jeez…I hope it’s only Garrett Trivoli,’ he thought and began to quicken his pace away from the Trauma hall, a feeling of homophobia coming over him.


In a combined group effort, the three co-workers and Housekeeping brought the trauma room back to a state of readiness. Now, the nurses would have to try to put together some sort of paper work on Lucky Doe. Everything had happened so fast and simultaneously that it was going to be hard to chronologically come up with the chain of events that took place.

Finally, Steve and John were satisfied with their Trauma Assessment paper work. It was sparse but told the entire eleven-minute story of Lucky Doe while he was in their care. They both knew that once Nan reviewed it, their manager would be asking why certain things had not transpired in the way of patient care.

Steve hung his head; "Nan’s going to be on the war path over this one."

"The patient’s still alive," John snapped. "At least I hope he is. If she has questions, let her take it up with the physicians."

"I say, why don’t we just let her watch the tape. That should answer any of her damn questions."

John’s face lit up; he had forgotten that all traumas were video taped for critical review. ‘Maybe I should review it, myself. I wonder…will it be as arousing the second time around?’ The thought was now evident on his face.

"Jeez, John, I wish you could keep your mind on work instead of last night’s conquests," Steve was now visibly agitated.

‘Oh, but I am!’ was the younger nurse’s mental reply.


The operating room was quiet except for the rhythmic bleeps of the heart monitor, a constant reminder of the life they were trying to preserve. Surgeons had their own peculiar style of conduct that surrounded them in the operating arena and Garrett Trivoli was one for intense concentration, solely focusing on the patient. Spoken words being kept to a minimum. Perhaps this is why everyone paid attention when the voice of the Surgeon was heard.

"Vitals, please." The words seemed to be spoken as a directive and not polite etiquette.

The anesthesiologist surveyed his electronic equipment. "Heart rate, 90. BP 108 over 66. Respiration’s 14. Color appears to be good," he reported, looking directly at the patient’s face.

Garrett breathed a sigh of relief. The biggest part of the battle was over. Now only the small skirmishes remained. A fight is still a fight no matter how big or small. The surgeon had learned the hard way many years ago. Some of the most deadly battles were those that could possibly be mistaken as insignificant annoyances. Over the years, Trivoli had learned to let instinct guide the swiftness of response, but to take care that her quest for perfection was not marred by some insignificant oversight that would conquer in any altercation.

"Now comes the tedious part, Dr. Kreger. We run the intestines looking for any sign of perforation or nick," the surgeon looked over at the Chief Resident.

"Doesn’t appear to be any injury to it." Dr. Kreger challenged. "I don’t think we’ll find a thing to worry about."

An eyebrow arched high on the forehead and icy blue eyes shot like daggers. Garrett’s voice dropped to a low tone. "This, Dr. Kreger, is my patient. I will do whatever I feel is necessary to assure the success of this operation now and for the future. If you don’t agree, then I suggest you assign yourself to a different trauma fellow after today."

Beads of perspiration gathered across the Chief’s forehead. ‘No!’ his heart screamed ‘You are the one, I want to learn from you.’ He let his eyes drop in submission and nodded his head. "I’m sorry," was all he could verbalize.

He knew that out of the three Fellows, Trivoli had the skills and surgical expertise that he wanted, but her overall manner with the staff left much to be desired. She seemed to pit herself against them at every turn. He’d have to remember not to pick up those habits.

"Good! Then you won’t make that mistake again." Her voice was calloused and cold, rivaling the room’s temperature for sending a chill straight to the bone.

His eyes shot up to meet hers and he wondered if he would be able to withstand her condescending attitude for the year to come. He had been told that he could learn many things from this Fellow but no one had mentioned her brash and arrogant ways.

Painstakingly slow but ever so diligently the two surgeons examined the loops of intestines for damage. They could find no defects but something kept the Fellow on guard, instinct was taking over again.

"Vitals, Please."

The O.R. staff was beginning to hate the sound of the word ‘please’ coming from the tall surgeon’s mouth. It was evident that she had no idea of the courtesy she was extending in the polite mannerism. It came off sounding more like a suffix to the word before it.

"Heart rate 98, BP 100 over 64, respiration’s 16," the anesthesiologist reported.

Garrett could not shake the feeling. "Raise the pressure to 120."

The anesthesiologist pulled a syringe off the tray at his workstation. He uncapped the needle and proceeded to inject one milligram of the drug into the port of I.V. line. "Should take just a few minutes," he reassured the surgeon, "before we can see some results."

"While we are waiting for that to take effect, let’s mop up this abdominal cavity of any free fluid."

The circulating nurse silently kept watch of each sponge that entered the young man’s abdomen and patiently retrieved them as they were discarded.

"Seventeen used inside," she announced, "seventeen out."

"Pressure is now 122 over 70."

"Ok, let us do this one last time." The surgeons inspected each loop of bowel thoroughly, slowly checking for any sign of injury.

"There!" The Chief Resident pointed out. "I see a drop."

Trivoli’s eye was caught by the glistening appearance. There, upon wiping the site, one could see another droplet forming within a few seconds. It had paid off. The skilled hands of the Fellow manipulated the area of bowel to reveal a small one-millimeter perforation in the wall.

"1-0 Silk on a curved needle."

Garrett took the needle and put a stitch or two in to hold the area closed. Kreger clipped the silk and proceeded to dab the area; both surgeons waited to see if the stitch would hold.

Rob Kreger silently studied the surgeon across from him and waited for the "I told you so." But it never came. He would have closed without ever checking and risked numerous complications that could have killed the young man that they worked so hard to save. ‘This one is the best,’ he silently thought. ‘I’m going to learn a lot this year.’

Several minutes passed and the evidence was conclusive, the stitch would hold. The surgeons continued their final inspection. Both were satisfied when no other warning signs of injury could be found.

"Is the sponge count correct?" The tall Surgeon waited for an answer.

All eyes were on the circulating nurse as she made her final count.

"I don’t have all day here, nurse, and neither does my patient." Garrett’s voice was antagonistic in nature.

"Yes, Doctor Trivoli, eighteen in and eighteen out." The nurse looked over with eyes turning from shock to that of shooting darts at the brash surgeon. She was an experienced O.R. nurse and didn’t appreciate being treated in this manner.

"Great! Now let’s close and see how he does in recovery." Trivoli motioned for the Chief Resident to do the honors.

Rob Kreger felt a sense of acceptance by the gesture. Here was a surgeon who strived at perfection and the task of closing was offered to him. It was something that was usually given to first year residents as a practice procedure; but right now it felt very much an honor coming from Garrett Trivoli. No matter how small or monotonous the task, the Chief Resident was sure the Fellow would be meticulous down to the last detail. It was that frame of mind Dr. Kreger kept as he sewed the layers of surgically severed muscle and flesh together.

The operation over now, Garrett addressed the other participants in the young man’s fight to stay alive. "I want to say thank you for the expertise that each of you brought to this arena today, and I will expect nothing less from you in the future. I’m looking forward to working with you again." She turned away from the group of people huddled around the dramatically illuminated form on the surgical table.

"I’ll be opting out of her cases for the next year." The circulating nurse spoke softly under her breath to the scrub nurse who nodded in agreement.

"Rob, page me if anything changes, I’m going to see if any family members are here for Lucky."

Kreger nodded his head in affirmation as he began to take off his gloves and gown. "I’ll stay with him in recovery for a while."

Stripping her mask off with one hand, Trivoli gave a small wave with the other hand and proceeded through the door. Above the O.R. desk the large wall mounted clock read 1458. ‘Seven and a half-hours of surgery, not bad for my first day. It will be even better once I have them all broken in the right way.’ Garrett thought about her empty stomach and remembered that food and drink would be necessary soon. A bathroom break and quick shower might be nice, too.

The family came first, that is if one was found. It was Trivoli’s customary ritual to meet and inform the family immediately after any surgery. It was one way that the surgeon could help to put them at ease during their traumatic experience.

Garrett approached the O.R. desk and waited for the Supervisor’s attention.

"Hello, I’m Dr. Trivoli. Can you tell me if Lucky Doe has been identified yet?"

"Sorry, doc." The older woman shook her head. "But there is a message for you from Dr. McCormick in the E.R. to call him when you are done."

"Thanks," Garrett motioned to use the phone at the desk.

"Go ahead, it’s extension 2744."

The surgeon punched in the numbers and waited for someone to answer.

"Dr. Trivoli returning a call to Dr. McCormick."

A pause, then, "Have him page me at 1048 when he has a moment to talk then." The surgeon replaced the phone, acknowledging the woman at the desk with a slight nod of the head. "I can trust that after today you won’t have to call in to my Operating Theater to ask my name, now will you?"

"But doc, it’s the first day of a new year. How am I supposed to know everyone’s name?" She looked annoyed at the tall surgeon opposite her.

"Then I can assume that nobody will have a problem knowing me or my name then the rest of the year, since I’ve already told it to you." She challenged the nurse.

The nurse drew in a long breath, her eyes turning into beady little black dots. "Trust me Dr. Trivoli, I’ll make sure everyone knows all about you." She let the residual air in her lungs come out of her nose in a snort as she watched the surgeon walk away, muttering to herself, "Damn arrogant Bitch!"



The warm water of the shower felt good cascading down the tensed muscles of the surgeon. It was a feeling that Garrett had come to expect at the end of a surgery case, when the focus had been on the needs of the patient, every muscle, every fiber of being standing at attention ready to meet any demand. It seemed such a small price to pay in her quest for perfection. When one knew first hand of the agonizing pain that the patient was experiencing or the torment of their loved ones, perfection was all that matter. It was never going to be Garrett Trivoli that dropped the ball. The water temperature slowly increased. The soothing rhythm and heat began to loosen her sore shoulders and back. This was indeed a luxury. How many cold or tepid showers had been taken on board ship during the last three years? That never changed the reason Trivoli was here in the shower after surgery. It was more than to clean the body. The streams of water diluted the tears that were still felt inside, tears of anguish and loss over past situations and loved ones.


The reflective ritual dissolving with the pager’s cry egged the surgeon to finish. Garrett quickly toweled off and stepped outside of the shower stall.

The pager beeped again. The swift skilled hand of the surgeon picked it up and brought it within range of the clear blue eyes. Trivoli, recognizing the number, hastily dressed in a fresh set of scrubs and found the nearest phone.

"Dr. Trivoli here, I was paged." The surgeon waited for the person to come to the phone.

"Dr. Trivoli, this is Dr. Ian McCormick, E.R. Attending," the deep voice said. "How is Lucky Doe coming along?"

"We just finished surgery about 30 minutes ago. Lucky is doing a lot better than initially expected. He sustained several bullet wounds in the abdomen and one in the right upper lobe of the lung. The thoracic team placed a right side chest tube and cleaned the wound. The two bullets found in the abdomen shattered the left kidney beyond repair and penetrated the colon near the hepatic flexure. A nephrectomy and resection of four centimeters of transverse colon with therapeutic colostomy was preformed. A one-millimeter perforation was found in the small intestinal tract on close inspection and was repaired as well. Lucky Doe is now in recovery and holding his own at this time." Garrett was proud of the work that was done and it showed. After all, it was near perfect for not having people trained to her level of expectation.

Ian was impressed with the concise but thorough report. "I had heard that it was an awesome sight in the trauma room, the team…altogether that is. I wouldn’t know first hand, I wasn’t fast enough to even see the patient come through my E.R."

Garrett was unsure as to the exact nature of the statement. "Well, sir, I…"

"I guess I’ll just have to be a little faster than normal when I know you are on trauma call," McCormick chuckled. "Never saw a first day trauma team move so fast. I understand that there are rumors that you have been secretly rehearsing for the last few years."

"Every day is a rehearsal for the day after it. So, yes, in that respect I have been working up to it."

"Well, Trivoli, it sounds like you did exactly the right things except let me see that patient. You know that it is my E.R. that you get to work out of on those traumas." The E.R. Physician stated in a serious tone of voice, "Next time you’re down in my E.R. make sure you introduce yourself to the staff. It seems that they don’t enjoy being ordered around by the voice of a higher being. You have a fan club with the two trauma nurses, but then again it was only a meager ten minutes of fame."

That last statement shocked the surgeon. "But sir, I wasn’t down there… What do you mean by a fan club?"

Ian had found a source of contention in her armor. She absolutely hated to be liked, perhaps seeing it as a weakness in one’s character. He thought about that for a moment before goading her. "Doc, don’t let it worry you. You did well in their eyes; today you’re the hero. Next time you could be the thorn in their side. It’s a day to day kind of thing," Ian forewarned the surgeon. "I’ll see you around."

"Humph!" Garrett said with disgust as the line went dead. She wasn’t here to cater to the whims of the nursing staff. If anything, it would be the nurses who catered to her.

‘Well, I can’t wait to see what a big hit I’m gonna be with the night crew,’ Garrett mused staring at the phone. The nursing staff had always been a puzzle to Trivoli, whether in the Navy or in the civilian sector. One nurse could accept you as a person and the next would merely look on you as an intruder in their domain. Funny how you never quite knew which way it would be until you were thick in the middle of some crisis. Hopefully, things will go just as well tonight as it had this morning. After all, they were all there for the same reason. The number one priority in the surgeon’s mind was always how successful her skills had been on her patient. Garrett could not see it any other way.


Always put the patient before one’s self was the surgeon’s motto. Today was no exception to the rule as Dr. Trivoli stopped in the recovery area to check on Lucky Doe before she found the cafeteria. The patient now had a much better color than the bloodstained pallor of earlier. Checking the chart, one could see that the Chief Resident had only signed out several minutes before.

Garrett was pleased to see that the warning about how a patient was cared for had been heeded. Perhaps this would be a very enlightening year after all. Satisfied, the surgeon continued in the quest for nourishment.

‘Perhaps a meal might make me a bit more mellow for the next shift of nurses,’ pondered Trivoli. ‘I at least owe them that or they’ll think of me as some kind of dark ages warlord.’ It was going to be a long time until this night would be over and a hungry surgeon was not always the most tolerant of new surroundings or people.

The time was well after 1800 hours when Garrett was making her way to the cafeteria. The sight of her department head took her by surprise as he came down the hall toward her, still dressed in his lab coat. She would have thought him gone by now. His eyes lifted to settle on her striking figure and a spark of recognition came to his face. He quickly maneuvered the hallway, darting between its human obstacles until he was face to face with the tall surgeon.

"Ah, there you are Dr. Trivoli. I need to talk to you." His voice was calm and unwavering as he motioned toward his office down the hall. "Let’s go into my office, shall we?"

Nodding, the woman followed him into the office. The surgeon’s mind was racing with thoughts. She was sure that it had something to do with the trauma patient she had operated on all day. Had she done anything wrong? She reviewed her earlier actions, flying through them as she settled herself into the brisk pace of her superior. ‘Shit rolls down hill, well I guess I get it straight from the top now.’ She thought about the Navy and its ways, the chain of command and how the orders and discipline came down through the ranks. ‘Well, let’s see, the ball will start rolling with the Chief of the Service/Attending who will question the Fellow then pass it down to the Chief Resident who will ream out the Resident who in turn will yell at the Intern who will blame the Medical Student. Yeah, that seems right.’ It was all coming back to her, the civilian hospital chain of command.

"Dr. McMurray, I…" she started only to be interrupted.

"Have a seat, Dr. Trivoli," the older man pointed to a chair on the other side of his large desk as they entered the room.

The office was large, a symbol of his importance in the hospital setting. It was modestly furnished with several photos of the good doctor in his travels fashionably displayed among the bookcases and on the desk. Garrett’s eyes studied them as she sat down in the appointed chair. There was a common person in each of the photos next to the distinguished surgeon; it was a woman who always appeared at his right side, a gentle smile gracing her face.

Noticing her interest in the photo on his desk, he picked it up and began to reminisce. "This one was taken when I was in New Guinea," a smile crossed his face. "We spent two weeks there, my wife and I."

"She’s a beautiful woman, Sir." The tall surgeon leaned forward to get a better look. "You must have had some wonderful times traveling with your wife."

"Yes, we did. Heck! We still do." His index finger gently glided over her image under the glass. "Best thing I ever did," he grunted, "I’d do it again." He regretfully put the frame back on his desk, allowing his eyes to linger on it for a brief moment longer. "Well, enough about me. I want to talk about you." His voice was now all business as his brown eyes stared directly at her.

The surgeon felt like she was being dissected right there in his office, his piercing gaze trying its best to cut deep into her soul. Her back stiffened and her shoulders squared in a mock attempt to ward off his insight into her being. She had a thick shell, one that had hardened over the years and she was sure that no one would be able to penetrate through it. It had been her survival tactic and allowed her to move from one station in life to another, never fearing the hurt that life brought with it. After all, it couldn’t hurt if it never got close enough to her to leave any impression.

Steel colored eyes locked onto brown as she asked, "What about me?" She leaned slightly forward as if to challenge the man.

They stayed there for what seemed to be an eternity, until McMurray blinked as he sucked on his teeth making a sharp noise. He sat down in his high-backed leather chair and swiveled it away from her, his mind gauging her boldness. ‘She may be a woman, but she’s got balls bigger than a lot of men I’ve known.’ His mind recounted his first day as a Fellow many years ago. He saw so much of himself in her that it was scary to think about. Right then and there he made his mind up. She was going to learn in the next year what had taken him so many years to realize. Her skills as a surgeon were by far more superior to the other two Fellows. He would teach her what she needed to know to enhance those skills and her life, not to mention the lives of all those around her.

He decided to take a hard line with her and his tone of voice showed it as he began speaking. "Every year I saddle one Fellow and make it their duty to establish a good working relationship with the E.R. staff." He swung the chair around to face her. "This year that person is you." His eyes squinted as he looked at her.

Her mouth opened abruptly. "What?" The puzzlement was written all over her face.

"You heard me. I want you to be the liaison between this department and the E.R., and that means starting immediately."

"Why me? Why not one of the other two?" She paused. "If it’s because I’m a woman…" shades of discrimination and sexual harassment ebbing at the edges of her mind.

He looked out of the corner of his eye and pointed directly at her with his right hand as he fished for something out of the drawer to his left. "I don’t ever want to hear that in my office again." He pulled three folders out of the drawer and threw them on the desk. "It’s all in here," he pointed to them. "Check for yourself if you’d like."

She looked down to see the name listed on each of the folders, Dr. Rene Chabot, Dr. Nathaniel Hostetler, and her own, Dr. Garrett Trivoli, was written on the outside. Her eyes looked up to his, pleading for some kind of answer.

"Dr. Chabot won’t have the time to invest with a family due to deliver in the next few months and Dr. Hostetler, although unmarried, will need to devote all of his time to honing his surgical skills. That leaves only you, Dr. Trivoli. You have no family, your surgical skills are refined and beyond reproach. I’ve got to teach you something in this program and this is what I have chosen for you. I suggest that you make it your business to be a part of the overall picture in that E.R. and that means spending time with the staff both inside these walls and outside in their private lives, too. I don’t care how you do it. Just do it."

The look on his face was one of no nonsense and she knew it. "But…" she grasped at thin air for words.

"No buts, Trivoli. I want to see you be a leader here, not just another blade in the system. I believe that you have a lot of untapped potential. You just haven’t figured it out yet." He shook his head as he thought of his recent discussion with several very irate O.R. staff members. "As a surgeon, your main goal is to heal through surgical intervention for the well-being of your patient." He glared at her, his face showing his anger. "Not through the use of confrontation and a demeaning attitude toward your staff. You keep this up, Trivoli, and no one will want to work with you. Then we’ll see just how perfect your little world will be when you’re all by yourself in that surgical theater."

His face softened and his voice mellowed as he reached out and touched the photo on his desk again. "Besides, you’re going to learn real fast that those nurses aren’t the enemy. One day that nurse that you threw your weight at today could very well save your butt and the patient’s, too." He glanced at the photo, then back to her. "Now go and think about what I’ve said."

She immediately jumped to her own defense. "But I’m a damn good surgeon. Why should I…"

"Because YOU," his forefinger shot out aimed right at her face. "You are a mere cog in this piece of machinery that we call a hospital. The last time I looked, Dr. Trivoli, I was the one writing your ticket in this program. Now, unless you are willing to give up this Trauma Fellowship, I must demand that you learn to become a part of the whole and not cause a hole in any part." He paused long enough for her to digest that last statement. "Did I make myself clear enough?"

Garrett rose from the seat and turned to leave. Reaching for the doorknob she paused and turned to face her new mentor. Before she could speak, she saw McMurray thumbing through her folder. "I’ll try not to let you down, Sir, but don’t expect me to change overnight. I’ve had a lot of practice at being as demanding of those that work with me as I have of myself."

"Good! Then you’ll learn to accept your own shortcomings at the same time as you do everybody else’s. Garrett, learn to get off of the high horse you’ve imagined yourself on and people may just start looking up to you for who you are, not what you are." His head never came up from out of its absorption in the folder.

"I’ll see what I can do." She exited the office and stopped dead just a few steps down the hall. This was going to be harder than she had anticipated. She shook her head and wondered what freight train had just run through and left a large gaping hole in her plan for the rest of her life. Seething to herself, she named it the "McMurray Special," vowing to never be caught in its path again. She would live with it this time, she had to, and nobody bailed out on the first day of a Fellowship Program. Besides, it was against her nature to give up.


Chapter 4


The bright afternoon sun was filtering in at the edges of the room-darkening blinds as the form began to stir from sleep. The bed was huge compared to the small body that nestled in the middle, with its face buried into the queen-size pillow. The last remnants of a dream still whispered through the fog as one slowly transpired the states of unconsciousness to reality. The dream seemed to have no beginning or end. It was more like fragments of lives through the ages. The same persons reappearing in different scenarios. It was always the same, never a story or a name. Just bits and pieces of someone’s life that had been captured on film yet clipped out for some reason.

The small blonde woman ran her hand through her hair, fighting to come fully into the world of consciousness. Her green eyes opened to a new day as the mind hung on desperately to the last image of her dream; a dark-haired warrior loomed near with a spear clenched in both hands. The image started to fade as the warrior turned to look at her, a twinkle shining in its brave blues eyes. It had not made the transgression into the real world and for this Danni was grateful. It was not that the dream had scared her, but that it was always so cryptic in nature. If only she could understand what it was about or what it meant.

Danni flopped over onto her back, her head settling into the soft fluffy pillow. ‘If only there was some sort of reason or meaning to all of these dreams,’ she thought, smiling to herself. ‘Or nightmares as the case may be.’ Her face changed rapidly to a smirk.

The images had been with her since she could remember. They had always manifested themselves in the moments just prior to awakening. For this reason, Danni had always believed that she needed to try to remember them.

Her hand reached out, capturing the journal that was kept on the nightstand for this reason. Rolling over onto her elbows she hastily opened the book and seized the pen that was clipped to the page of her last entry. Hurriedly dating the page she began to follow her routine of describing her dream so as not to miss a single element before it escaped her. She had often thought that one day they would all make sense. Well, perhaps in her mind some little detail would set off a chain of events that would help her make sense of it all. When and if that would ever happen was beyond Danni’s control. Now, she just did what she could to preserve them until that time came.

Her task done, she began to emerge form the large bed and slowly shuffled towards the bathroom. Her mind turned to the challenges at hand. Time to shower and start a new day in her life.

The briskness of the water always made Danni think she was off somewhere in the forest, bathing in a refreshing mountain stream. There was an odd familiarity to the chilling response that made her shiver with the initial contact. The thought of the warrior now fading from her mind as her body enjoyed the sensation of the water cascading down her naked form. The long shower ritual would allow her mind and body to join together into a single state of consciousness; ready for whatever the day would bring her way.


It was the first of July, the starting date of the new medical staff year. The young nurse began to mentally prepare herself for the grueling night ahead. Another year of training, teaching, and maybe even making a friend or two like she had with David. Her mind thought back to their first encounter several years ago when he had just come to the hospital. That shy, boyish intern over the years had matured into a competent surgeon and, along the way, won a place in many of the nurses’ hearts. Danni smiled at the memory, laughing quietly at the numerous times that Rosie had insisted Danni and David would make the perfect couple. She was thankful that the Doctor had never mustered the courage to ask her out. Deep in her heart, she knew that somewhere David would find a mirrored soul that would complement his reserved manner. It just wasn’t hers. Silently, a prayer rose off her lips for the safekeeping of her friend’s soul until that time came.

The locker room door opened, allowing the din from the hallway to break Danni’s train of thought. Her eyes moved toward the door, only to see her fellow trauma nurse bounce through the doorway, her face beaming.

"Ah, Danni, my friend, have you heard the buzz in the E.R. about my Dr. Trivoli?" Rosie asked.

"I haven’t even ventured out through…hey, what do you mean YOUR Dr. Trivoli?" A puzzled look was on her face, she had heard stories that the flirtatious nurse was a fast mover, but could she have already made this supposedly battle-hardened Trauma Fellow surrender to her charm. ‘No, it’s got to be wishful thinking,’ Danni shook her head in wonder.

"Unless Garrett Trivoli is bald, fat, over forty with a wife and kids in tow," Rosie stated looking her straight in the eye, "someone’s gonna be thanking their lucky stars tonight. The surgeon just doesn’t know it yet."

"Well, this I want to see. The poor guy won’t know what to think when he sees you across from him in the trauma suite," she teased. "So what’s this buzz that you were asking me about?"

"It seems that my Garrett ran the trauma team with all new faces this morning for that multiple gunshot patient like it was a well-oiled machine. They had four units of blood hung, X-rays done, and patient to the O.R. in less than twelve minutes." Her face was registering sheer bliss. "The staff is saying that Trivoli’s voice was like a god’s."

The blonde nurse was shocked. This was the day every year that never ran perfectly, especially for a Level One Trauma, not at the beginning of the daylight shift. Her interest was peaked; she could not wait to see this surgeon in action. "Did the patient survive?" she asked tentatively.

"Of course," Rosie said with an arrogant flair. "But only after many hours of difficult surgery and painstaking care to prevent any complications down the road to recovery."

"I guess the patient was lucky, huh."

A broad smile came to the starry eyed nurse, "Funny, that’s what Steve named him, Lucky Doe."

Both nurses were finishing their exchange of summer clothing for the traditional hospital scrub top and pants of the trauma team when Rosie grabbed Danni’s arm and pleaded, "You got to change assignments with me. You be the trauma nurse and let me back you up as butt nurse. O.K.?"

"Alright, but why the change?"

"This way I’ll be standing next to that dreamy god of a trauma surgeon. Who knows, a little bump here," she demonstrated a seductive hip rotation, "and a little whiff of perfume there," she bent over to show a gaping opening of her V-neck top and the cleavage contained within, "I could be a doctor’s wife in no time at all."

Danni gently laughed. "Sure, this should be something to watch and I’ll be the one with the front row seat. So…what does this god of yours look like?"

Rosie stopped short turning to her co-worker with a deadly serious expression on her face, "Tall, dark and gorgeous, of course."

Both burst into laughter as they made their way through the locker room door.


Karen was rounding the corner of the desk as the two giddy nurses entered the E.R. triage station. With a look of a mother about to scold her children, the charge nurse began to address the unprofessional behavior of the duo.

"You girls need to get to work," then with the wink of one eye, "people will think that this is a fun place to be."

"Yeah, Mom!" The young nurses said in unison as they quickly turned the smiles into frowns.

The three seriously studied each other for a moment and slowly let smiles shine across their faces.

"Are you alright, Mom? I mean after this morning’s near collision on the way out I thought you might call off," Rosie queried.

"No little intern or med school student gets me rattled." A look of determination was on her face. She was a seasoned veteran and not about to let them get to her.

"That one sure wasn’t little, looked more like an ‘amazon’ to me. A giant amazon at that," Rosie remarked. "I still think I’m going to give her a piece of my mind the next time I see her."

Always being the one to seek out peaceful alternatives to a situation, Danni offered, "Why not let me show her the ropes. You know, sort of take her under my wing. Hey, look how David turned out."

"Oh yeah! David was so shy that after all these years he still couldn’t get the courage to ask you out." Rosie shook her head, "I don’t think this is the cuddly teddy bear type, not that kind of personality at all."

Danni resented the implied comment. "You don’t think I can do it, do you?"

"Now girls," Mom jumped in, "let’s give Danni’s way a try first. If it doesn’t change the behavior pattern for the better we can always do something else."

"Yeah, I’ll crucify her good."

"My way first, right?" The blonde looked straight into Rosie’s eyes. It was a look that meant business.

Slowly the nurse conceded in her posturing. With her eyes closed and her head minutely shaking approval she voiced, "Right."

"Okay then, it’s over. Danni, you have one month to get some work in on that med student." Karen looked at Rosie. "Agreed?"

"Agreed. You better work fast, Danni. This special project of yours, she is gonna need a lot of work."

"Let me worry about that," her tone was reassuring.

"I bet you brought home strays of all kinds when you were growing up." Karen was chuckling to herself at the thought.

"Well, mostly birds…kittens…puppies," the small blonde winced at the thought of being busted, "and a turtle once."

"Well, now you’ll be able to add an ‘amazon’ to that menagerie," the charge nurse laughed. "Now, time to get to work," she said making an effort to shoo them on their way.

The two co-workers walked over to the nurses’ station and checked the assignment board for their names. As Rosie had predicted, she was assigned the Trauma R.N. position and Danni as her Butt nurse. She looked over at the blonde nurse with a pouting expression on her face.

"I said I would switch with you," Danni reassured her as she reached up and erased their names only to write them back in the reverse position.

"Ooh! I’ll name our first kid after you," she said rubbing her hands together.

"Thanks!" Rosie reached out and gave her co-worker a quick hug.

"Don’t mention it. You know that you owe me, don’t you?" The blonde shook her head disgustedly, "Now, I have to get report from John." Her face twisted up and a chill went over her body at the thought. "Well, better to get it over with quickly." The blonde looked around trying to find the disgusting man but he was nowhere in sight.


It was another busy day in the emergency room; the hallways were lined with patients on carriages waiting to be transported to various destinations within the medical center. The nurse could hear muffled sounds coming form each doorway she passed on her way to the trauma suites. Years of

experience gave her an idea of the ailments or injuries of each patient. Subconsciously, her brain began to register and categorize each one.

Soft rhythmic wheezes…’Room 8: Asthmatic.’

Dimmed lighting and snoring sounds…’Room 9: Post Ictal Seizure.’

Bubbly sounding short breathes…’Room 10: Congestive Heart Failure.’

Soft groans mixed with angered muttering…’Room 10: Orthopedic injury, probably broken.’

It was the usual gamut of complaints typical for July with its mixture of sunshine and oppressing heat and humidity at times. It was no different than any other year. The only thing that ever seemed to change was the cast of characters, both patients and staff.

‘Its like that movie "Ground Hog Day",’ Danni mused, ‘we just keep doing it over and over again until we get it right…until it becomes the perfect day.’

The young nurse turned at the end of the hall into the trauma area. The area was quiet and had an almost eerie feeling to it. She began to check each room for readiness and also the nurse she was to receive report from, John.

Danni was thankful that it was not busy in her domain, it meant that she would not have to jump right into the middle of a life or death situation without knowing the whole story. It was her belief that each patient treated was not just an injury but rather a story in itself. In order to heal the wound it was often necessary to reach out to the soul. Her patients always appreciated this effort. It made them feel like they were being treated as a person and not some anatomical practice dummy, who was there only for the benefit of the medical community.

Leaving the last of the four trauma rooms, the nurse spied John seated in the conference room sitting intently in front of the television that was used for video taped inservices and the reviewing of taped procedures. She could see his moon-pied facial expression, his eyes riveted to the screen and shook her head in disgust. ‘Good gods, he’s got to be watching a porno tape or worse yet, maybe one of his own escapades with some unsuspecting young girl. Ugh!’

Swallowing hard, she walked into the conference room trying not to look at the screen. "Are you ready to give me report, John?" Her tone was very professional. Seeing that he could not tear his eyes off of the action on the screen, she asked, "Can’t you watch this stuff in the privacy of your own home instead of here?"

"Yeah! Maybe I can make a copy of this. Thanks for the idea." He looked quickly up at Danni and then right back to the screen. "It will be over in a minute, you just got to see the raw beauty, the magnificent orchestration of the action with only minimal direction. It’s literally poetry in motion."

Danni rolled her eyes. ‘I don’t want to see this!’ Her mind cringed at the thought. ‘Why did I agree to switch? Rosie, you really owe me big time.’

Static now filled the room as John hit the rewind button on the controls. He slowly inhaled and allowed the trapped breath to emerge as a long drawn out sigh. He was trying desperately to savor the moment. He closed his eyes, a

smile appearing on his face. It was as if he was reviewing it all over again on the back of his eyelids.


"Shhh…!" He drew his finger up to his pursed lips. "Please, it’s not often that there is so perfect a moment."

"Just what is on that tape?"

The male nurse opened his eyes. "You want report, right?"

"Well, yes!"

"Then you need to see this video of the first Level One of the new staff year. It’s simply breathtaking." John winked at her, "I know you will enjoy it."

Danni’s mind raced, trying to figure out what could it possibly be that was so delightful that John would enjoy in this trauma scenario. ‘It was probably a big bosom…no, let’s not go there,’ she immediately halted that train of thought.

‘I’ll hate myself for this, but…’ "Okay, show it to me."

Eagerly he pointed the control to the TV and tapped the play button. The clip of video began to play. The patient was hurriedly wheeled into the room and quickly transferred to the trauma stretcher. A commanding voice was snapping out snippets of phrases, directing the flurry of activity for all those in the room. The action was simultaneous and as John had called it, well orchestrated. Danni’s mind was distracted when she caught the appearance of the tall dark haired figure at the bottom of the screen. It was her ‘amazon.’ She was going to have a lot of work to do with her, she wasn’t even were she should have been stationed around the trauma patient. She made a mental note to go over the correct stations for each rank of medical personnel in the trauma setting with her new project. Before she knew it, the patient was being wheeled briskly out of the room. The tape was finished, static noise again filling the air.

"Isn’t that voice like a god’s?" he said awestruck. "And that, is what trauma is all about. Yes, sir, I’ll work with that Trauma Fellow Garrett Trivoli any day. I might get to like it even better than sex…well, at least here at work."

Danni was shocked that she had been wrong about John. He was always so predictable. No one would believe this; she still didn’t herself.

John got up from his chair and handed the trauma pager over to his relief. "If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get to see a master in action."

"Yeah, maybe." Danni asked pensively, "Say, John, what does this Trivoli look like?"

"I don’t really know, everything happened so fast. But that voice, I would know it in my sleep." John turned to leave, "In fact, I think I’d follow it anywhere. Have a good night."

Danni ejected the tape from the VCR player thinking about her special project for the month. She did not want to belittle the student but she could definitely see the need for some guidance. A little attention now and she might just become a half-decent doctor or surgeon in the future. ‘And if done in the proper manner, maybe even someone that she could think of as a friend.’ The nurse turned off the TV and headed towards the door.


The regular emergency room patients kept the staff busy. It was a full house. As quickly as a room emptied out, it was made ready and the next patient was brought in. Since there were no traumas to worry about, Danni and Rosie helped out wherever they could, answering the nurse calls, starting difficult I.V.’s, discharging patients, and assisting with minor procedures. The evening passed quickly. The flood of patients waiting to be seen had dwindled down to only a handful. The hectic pace began to slow down.

"Hey, Danni, I’m going to freshen up a bit." Rosie was motioning towards the locker room. "I want to look nice when those traumas start rolling in. I’ve got a doctor to impress."

The blonde nurse shook her head and waved her to go on. "I’m going to double check the rooms."

It was almost 11P.M., the time when the hot humid air kept people awake and irritable. The cycle of trauma would start to be put in motion. It was inevitable. She could just feel the vibes in the air.

Danni did a fast run through of all the rooms in the trauma suite, satisfied that they were all ready for the barrage of traumas that would likely come their way. She turned out of the last room at the end of the hall only to see a tall dark haired form emerge from the stairway at the opposite end. The size, the color, the build were all right; it was her ‘amazon’. ‘Perfect!’ she thought. ‘I’ll start teaching her without anyone else around.’ The nurse waited patiently for her student to come within talking distance.

"Hi, my name is Danni, and I’m the trauma nurse for tonight." She held out her hand in friendship, which was returned with a gentle nod and a skeptically raised brow. The handshake was firm and to the point. The tall woman started to introduce herself, when Danni held up her hand in a halting motion for the woman to stop. The figure complied looking puzzled.

"Please, no names. I saw the video of the Level One Trauma from this morning, I thought that I might be able to help you feel a little more comfortable when the next trauma comes in." The nurse took the woman’s hand and slowly brought her over to the diagram on the wall. "Here, let me show you the proper placement of the medical personnel in the trauma rooms. Each of these positions has a specific duty to perform without hesitation. In this manner the least amount of time is used to get the most information and procedures done." Danni looked up at the tall woman’s face to make sure that everything she was saying was understood. ‘By the gods, she is beautiful!’ Her mouth was agape.

The woman watched in amazement at the expression on the nurse’s face. She was taken aback by the friendliness of the young woman, the kindness shown earnestly in her sea green eyes. She had no wish to make the blonde feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, even without McMurray’s directive but she just wasn’t sure how much more of this she could take. McMurray’s directive came running headlong through her mind. Garrett drew in a breath, trying not to sound annoyed. There was just something about those eyes, perhaps it would come to her later. "So what and where am I?"

"Well, that all depends on what level of training you possess. Every level is important, but some more than others." Danni was in her reassurance mode, "You don’t have to tell me, just go to that spot when the trauma comes in and I’m sure that you will do perfectly fine. Okay?" Her head was nodding in the affirmative manner, hoping for some sign of understanding.

"Yeah, I think that I can follow that pretty well." Her lopsided grin appeared again as she thought about McMurray’s talk. She just wanted to tell this impertinent little nurse who she was and be done with it. Resigning herself to her delegated state, she added dryly, "Thanks for the help."

"You’re welcome, anytime," was the eager response. Danni thought momentarily and decided to venture into the near collision episode of earlier that morning. "You know, you really have to be a little more careful when responding to the trauma page. You nearly ran a few of us over." She was trying to make a point without causing the obviously over zealous woman any embarrassment.

‘This nurse doesn’t know who I am.’ The woman cleared her throat. It was a stalling technique she had learned long ago to keep her anger in check. "Ah…sorry about that." She hedged a little and then asked, "Nobody was injured, I hope." ‘There, take that. See, McMurray, I can play nice.’

"No, but you did put the fear of God into Karen, the charge nurse. She was pretty shaken up."

"Is she here now? I’d like to give her a piece of my…" she stuttered as a visual image of McMurray crossed her mind, "My apology for any scare that I may have caused." The tall woman was trying to sound sincere but to her own ear it wasn’t very convincing.

"I could point her out to you, she is here now." Danni was surprised. This was going all too well. It seemed just too easy. "Or better yet, let me call her back here instead of out in view of everyone."

The nurse picked up the phone, punched in a few numbers and announced over the loud speaker system, "Karen, will you please come to Trauma Room One?" She hung up the phone, turning to smile politely at her new friend. "She’ll be back in a moment."

Karen came quickly down the hall. She was aware that the trauma pagers had not gone off, and she was clueless as to why she was being requested. The older nurse stopped abruptly when she caught sight of the tall, athletic woman that only this morning appeared as a train at full speed coming right for her. ‘How does she do it? She could have the worst patients eating right out of her hand.’ Karen was amazed at how quick Danni could tame any wild human, even this one. "So Danni, what can I do for you?"

The young nurse motioned her to come closer. "This nice young lady would like to talk to you about this morning." She looked over at the tall woman only to see her eyebrow raised and contempt seething from her stance. "Go ahead," she encouraged the woman, "I’ll just finish up back here a little later." She then proceeded down the hall to the front of the E.R. with a huge grin splashed across her face.

There was a moment of silence before the tall woman spoke. "I truly am sorry for doing that this morning. I’m just not familiar with all of the ways to get to the trauma area yet. I know I had to be there quickly. Again, I am sorry."

"Well, thank you. Apology accepted, I mean since it is your first day and all." The nurse was shocked; this was no ‘amazon’ at all. "So, ah…my name is Karen, but a lot of the staff call me "Mom" and you are?" She offered her hand to the tall woman.

"Garrett," she said grasping the nurse’s hand and giving it a firm shake. "Garrett Trivoli, I’m one of the new Trauma Fellows."

The nurse was dumbfounded, "You…you’re the Garrett Trivoli that has everyone shaking in their boots and waiting for the lightning bolt to strike them dead if they don’t obey your decree within a millisecond."

Wincing with embarrassment, the surgeon answered, "I’m afraid so." Then just as quickly, as if to justify her actions, the look on her face hardened. "Why? Do you have a problem with that?"

"No, no problem. She…I mean, Danni knows who you are?"

"No, she didn’t let me get a word in edgewise let alone introduce myself. Is she always that talkative?" Secretively the surgeon thought to herself. ‘I didn’t have the heart to tell her. She was being so nice and polite. I think she was actually trying to help me feel comfortable.’ The surgeon scolded herself for even considering the feelings of the nurse. ‘When did they ever play a part in my considerations?’ Then as if to admonish herself, the stoic looking surgeon spit out. "I don’t like a lot of unnecessary talking in my trauma rooms." Her eyebrow rose with the statement.

The two looked down the hallway watching the young blonde nurse. As if on cue, she turned, giving a smile and a little hand wave. Garrett returned the wave as did the charge nurse but at a much slower speed. There was something that made you just want to give in to this imp of a woman, even though it conflicted with your own order of the world. Sensing that she was waving back, the surgeon quickly stopped and shoved her hand deep into the pocket of her starched white jacket.

"Boy is she going to be surprised." Suddenly Karen’s eyes popped wide open, and she began to laugh uncontrollably, "Rosie’s really going to be pissed."

The surgeon looked at the nurse unsure of what she was laughing at. "Is there a problem?"

"No…no…trust me…she’ll get over it." The nurse was still chuckling to herself, "Doc, if it took you almost running me down to save that patient’s life, you go right ahead and do it anytime. We thought that you were some med student or first year intern." Tears were now rolling down the nurse’s cheeks; "I can’t wait to see the look on their faces when they find out who you are."


Danni was proud of herself; she had started to help the new woman without making her embarrassed. ‘Who knows, she may even turn out as good a surgeon as David. She seems awfully nice.’ The young nurse sat absent mindedly at the desk. She pondered the thought of having a new friend and considered asking her to join in one of the group activities, which was part of the E.R. family outings.

"Well, how do I look?" Rosie was still primping herself as she walked across the room to where Danni was seated.

"I guess, alright. You know scrubs just aren’t all that alluring."

"Okay, enough with the smart ass comments." The nurse took the seat next to Danni.

The young nurse sniffed, then sniffed again closer this time to Rosie. "What is that? It is disgusting."

"You don’t like my new perfume? That’s okay, it’s specially formulated for a man’s nose. It’s supposed to drive a man wild with passion."

"I can’t imagine this making anyone passionate." Danni was wrinkling her nose at the stench.

"Just wait and see." Rosie was confident in her ability to turn the head of the new trauma surgeon.

"See what?" Karen’s face became twisted with the awful smell. "God, can’t you people smell that? It’s worse than a cheap hooker at the end of a three day convention."

Danni started to giggle, while Rosie let the comment drift by, oblivious to those around her. The only thought in her mind was of Garrett Trivoli.

Then, without warning, the sound of the trauma pager brought everyone to the same mental alertness. Each beep shattering their individual thoughts and turning the attention of all to the needs of the next patient being placed within their care.

"Trauma Team Page…Trauma Team Page. Twenty-eight year old male fell from second floor window. Multiple orthopedic injuries and paradoxical breathing noted. ETA five minutes. Level One Trauma Page."

Each member of the team went into action. Danni and Rosie scurried to get back to the trauma room while the charge nurse grabbed the recording flow sheet before making her way to the trauma area. Quickly both nurses dressed in the customary leaded aprons and fluid restrictive gowns, gloves, and masks.

Danni retrieved a drug pack from the medication safe in the room, examining the contents carefully. ‘Paradoxical breathing…huh…chest tube for sure.’ She looked over to see her co-worker already setting up a chest tube tray. ‘Way to go Rosie!’ The rest of the team was now assembling in the outer hall. Each scurrying into the position appointed by their medical ranking while desperately trying to finish dressing. Out of the corner of her eye, Danni could see her new friend standing in the hallway finishing the tying of her mask. ‘I guess I slowed her down a little too much. I’ll have to work on that.’

"Trauma is in the Department; Trauma is in the Department," the loud speaker blared.

Last minute details now complete, everyone’s eyes were on the corridor leading to the trauma room. There stood the tall dark haired woman, mesmerized by the moment. The Paramedics wheeled in the patient on the stretcher. A condensed report of the patient’s condition was exchanged while the patient was transferred to the hospital stretcher. The Medic crew now retreated from the room with their equipment. Rosie filled in the empty space on the left side of the patient as she attempted to find a pulse in the deformed arm. The tall dark haired woman now stood at her side, examining the unclad chest of the patient. The labored breathing was evident in both sight and sound.

"Chest X-ray NOW!"

Danni looked up to see her ‘amazon’ in the position of Trauma Surgeon. A troubled look came over her as she quickly glanced at Karen and then back at the dark haired woman. It unsettled her to see the charge nurse start to chuckle.

The Trauma Surgeon examined the patient for any other injuries while the required X-rays of chest, abdomen, and cervical spine were completed.

"The chest is out," relayed the X-ray Tech.

The surgeon stepped out of the room and viewed the patient’s chest X-ray.

There, as plain as anything was a large pneumothorax on the left side, the pressure of the escaped air trapped inside the chest area was collapsing the lung.

"Alright, let’s prep for a chest tube on the left."

Rosie pulled the stand over into position with the necessary equipment already available.

"Give me a size 8 sterile glove," the surgeon commanded.

Turning with the gloves to see the tall dark haired woman waiting to receive them, Rosie blinked in disbelief, then shot a questioning glance across the patient at Danni. The look on Danni’s face was one of innocence. Rosie was dumbfounded. Where was her Trauma Surgeon, Garrett Trivoli? Karen caught the exchange and had to keep herself from laughing out loud.

The surgeon glared at the nurse and repeated, "Gloves, please. We don’t have all day here, nurse."

Fumbling to get a grip on her emotions Rosie offered, "Yeah, doc, size 8."

The surgeon smoothly took the gloves and proceeded to check the assembled equipment as the chief resident prepped the patient’s chest.

"Sir, you have a few badly broken ribs that are making it very hard for you to breathe right now. I’m going to insert a tube into your chest that will make it easier for you to breathe. It’s going to hurt a little while I put it in place, but I promise you, it will feel better, eventually." The surgeon’s voice was full of confidence.

The patient grasped Danni’s hand in anticipation of the pain to come. She looked into his terror-filled eyes and softly spoke words of reassurance to calm him. She knew the routine of the procedure well. She had assisted with chest tube insertions hundreds of times over her years as a trauma nurse. First they would find the level for insertion and then with a blade, make a small shallow laceration in the skin. The surgeon would probe the opening with a fingertip to make sure it was indeed into the chest cavity. The site would then be widened using small forceps so that the skin would form a tight seal around tube when inserted. This part was what nearly all patients complained of as the most painful.

Looking across her patient, Danni could see the dark haired surgeon standing with the Trocar clenched in both hands. Danni’s mind thought back to her dream, startling the young nurse. Her eyes opened wider as she looked at the surgeon poised, ready to send the long blunt tipped rod into the patient’s side. The physician looked at the young nurse for approval. Danni took a breath and gave a slight nod to her head. The surgeon began the insertion of the chest tube, her face taut with concentration; the confident blue eyes focused on the job at hand. All of a sudden there was a feeling of déjà vu, as a chill run down the young nurse’s spine. It was an all too familiar scene but something was missing. Everything seemed so mechanical and devoid of emotion that it reminded Danni of a cyberspace movie. Her attention turned again to her patient. The chest tube was doing its job. The patient was having an easier time breathing.

The Trauma surgeon expertly stitched the tube in place and assisted Rosie with the dressing of the site. "Karen, can you notify Orthopedics to come down to see this patient, please?"

The charge nurse’s voice was loud and clear, "Yes, ma’am!"

"Then secure a C.T. Scan for head and abdomen immediately to follow."

Karen watched her two nurses as she answered the demand, "Yes, Doctor Trivoli."

Both pairs of eyes flashed wildly at the tall dark haired surgeon then on to each other, then finally coming to rest on the charge nurse herself. Rosie’s mind registered sheer disbelief at the thought of HER Trauma Fellow being a woman. Her hopes of marrying a famous surgeon dashed on the rocks, again. Danni shook her head, letting her eyes close and wondered, ‘What kind of idiot does this doctor think I am? UGH!’

The older nurse just watched the expressions on their faces and knew what each one was thinking.

Chapter 5


The atmosphere in the CT Scanner was quieting compared to the din of the emergency room area. The low lighting gave the room a more casual appearance than the high intensity lighting of the Trauma Suite. The soft melodic hum of the computers after a few minutes was hardly noticeable and became more of a background noise that was very soothing on the nerves. The coolness of the air-conditioning was something that always stood out in Garrett’s mind as a reason to linger in Radiology. No, it was nothing like the surgical theater where life and death drama was played out on a minute by minute basis, but the surgeon enjoyed it just the same. It was a chance to not only look deep within your patient but also yourself. There you had the time to think about what you had done and properly evaluate the effect that it had on your patient. The surgeon was not as concerned about the patient this time as she was about the events that had taken place in the last hour or so.

Doctor Trivoli rested comfortably in the high-backed chair, letting her long tapered fingers drape over the arms. Her legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles kept the subtle swaying motion of the swiveled chair from stopping. The back was just high enough to allow the resting of Garrett’s head against the very top of it. It could have been a great time for a few moments of stolen shuteye but the woman was too emotionally charged to allow sleep to overtake her. In this position, she could study the young blonde without the effect of staring. Her head raced with thoughts of what Karen had said to her before the trauma beeper had gone off. Trying as she might she wanted to put some kind of answer to the question she was now plagued with. ‘Why the disappointment at who I am? My surgical skills are perfect, without a doubt. What more could they ask for?’ Finally she disregarded it all with the thought that there was nothing she could do about it, so why let it bother her.

The surgeon studied the young nurse as she monitored the patient’s vital signs during the imaging procedure. Her poise demonstrated confidence in both herself and her professional ability. Occasionally, Garrett noticed that a side ways glance was thrown in her direction, as if the nurse wanted to ask a question but then changed her mind. This intrigued and at the same time unnerved the tall woman who prided herself on being totally in control of her emotions at all times. In fact, she was used to being in control period. What was it about this small slip of a woman that made her want to lose all control and just scream out to ask the damn question? She was nothing out of the ordinary two legs, two arms, two eyes, two ears, and one head. She was not drop dead gorgeous but at the same time she possessed an inner beauty that would rival most. Perhaps it was the charisma that surrounded the small nurse that made her irresistible to those who came in contact with her. Perchance this was why Garrett needed to know more about this young woman.

Danni was biting on the end of her pen, her nose wrinkled up the harder she thought. Finally, she could wait no longer. The question was out before she could stop it. "Did Karen know who you were before I called her back for your apology?" Almost as a reflex when she heard the words coming from her own mouth, the blonde brought her small hand up in a feeble attempt to halt them.

The words got Garrett’s attention. Her head slowly rose off the back of the chair as she watched the stunned blonde try to regain her composure. ‘So, I’m not the only one trying to figure things out, eh…?’ "Ah…no," she glared at the petite woman. "Why do you ask?"

The nurse was caught in the middle now. "I was just wondering how Mom was able to call you by name." She swore at herself and how she must look to the Trauma Fellow.

"Oh, is that all." Garrett decided to add a little fuel to the fire and see if she could get the nurse to really ask what was on her mind. "You know, it is customary for people to introduce themselves if they are allowed to, that is."

"Well, I didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable, like I was making a big issue out of the run-in this morning." Danni was getting a little defensive. "Gods! We thought you were…"

"Some wet behind the ears med student. Right?" Garrett finished the sentence for her. Her voice was tense; "Did it ever occur to you to find out just who you were talking to before jumping to conclusions?"

"Yeah, I guess so." Her voice trailed off. She thought for a moment then raised her head and looked over at the seated surgeon. "Do you think we could start over?"

An eyebrow raised high on Trivoli’s forehead almost hidden entirely by the dark hair that swept across it. "I guess it could make the year a little easier," a tight-lipped smile on her face, "if that’s what you mean. But I would have thought that you would known who I was before I even arrived."

"You’re expecting too much. The photo identification sheets for all of the new house staff won’t be out for at least another week or two. So until then…" the young nurse traveled the short distance over to the surgeon and held out her hand in friendship. "Hi, I’m Danni and you are?"

"Garrett Trivoli, one of the new Trauma Fellows." The handshake was returned and the two women began to eye one another up.

"Isn’t Garrett a man’s name?" Danni asked. "We thought the female fellow would be Rene."

The light was now coming on. Garrett realized what all the looks and stares were for during the trauma room episode. "You and the other nurse thought I was a man. Or at least supposed to be by name, right?"

Danni looked down at the floor a little embarrassed. "I guess so. I know that Rosie’s more disappointed than me."

"Well, next time maybe you should get all of your facts straight, or do you two just assume everything?" The surgeon eyed the nurse, trying to find her answer from the visibly shaken manner she was witnessing.

"Excuse me, are you implying that Rosie and I…"

"Ah, Rosie, is she the one that smelled like a cheap…I mean, had that terrible perfume on. You know, she should really be more sensitive to the people that she subjects to her aroma."

"Yeah, well, she said that it was specially formulated for a man’s nose." Danni was chuckling at the thought. Then eyeing the tall surgeon she muttered under her breath, "and we sure know that’s not your gender."

"I sure hope she didn’t spend too much on that. I’d hate to be the cause of her bankruptcy." There, the ice was broken and Garrett was feeling that McMurray would be pleased by her attempt. Her soul contact with the E.R. staff was enjoying her. She could tell by the way that the young nurse was looking at her, green eyes twinkling in laughter. She never had a problem, winning people over always came easy to her, as long as they did things her way.

"Doc, don’t worry about Rosie, she’ll get over it. She always does."

"Gee, that’s what Karen said when I introduced myself to her."

The nurse shook her head in disbelief. Mom had set both of them up.

‘Rosie will be fit to be tied.’ "So, tell me Doctor Trivoli, how did you get the name Garrett?"

The surgeon eyed the young woman. She didn’t like talking about herself, at least not in context to her family life. She never enjoyed bringing up her past. "Why? Does it make a difference in how we treat the patient?"

The blonde looked puzzled. "I was just being curious, Doc." She wrinkled her nose and with a tilt to her head looked over at the tense looking surgeon. "You don’t have to tell me, if you’d rather not."

The raven-haired woman thought about it. It wasn’t a bad memory; in fact it was just a story that she herself had been told. ‘Ah, what the hell! McMurray better appreciate this.’ "My parents named me after a dead relative." She looked direly at the petite nurse.

"You sound like you have always had problems with it?"

"Let’s just say that it has surprised a few people along the way. People seem to think that I’m something other than who I am."

Danni rolled her eyes with that thought. ‘Yeah, and who wouldn’t want to climb off of their death bed to keep an appointment knowing that it’s with such a beautiful surgeon?’ Even in the dim lighting Garrett had a raw beauty in her angular well-defined features that were outlined by dark colored hair and eyes that were like giant pools of azure water inviting you in. The dark blue surgical scrubs acted more like a thin veil delicately covering the well-proportioned muscles of the surgeon. The bronze coloring of her skin added to her god-like appearance. The young nurse let her gaze take in all that was offered. "So, I take it that you are Irish and Italian by heritage."

"That’s right." Her tone was a reflective one. "But I don’t follow any of the customs."

"I’m curious, do you know what ‘Garrett’ means?" The nurse cocked her head to one side and looked over at the tall woman.

The surgeon thought for a moment and offered, "I have been told that it means brave spear man." She chuckled softly, "I guess that’s why I like those sharp cutting instruments, huh?"

The surgeon was now suddenly confused. In fact, the more she thought about it, the more agitated she became at the thought of letting so much of her personal life come to the surface. There was no need for this information to be known. After all, it had no bearing on the patient’s outcome or survival rate. How could she let this happen? Garrett closed her eyes trying to ward off any further investigation of her life from the impertinent nurse.

Suddenly a flash of memory bolted through Danni. The spear held in both hands, it reminded her of her dream earlier today. She shook her head trying hard to get her thoughts in order, to have them make some kind of sense. Could she have had a premonition of the events today? Or could it all just be coincidence? This was something that she was going to have to think long and hard about. ‘Coincidence, that’s it.’ There is no life to this woman’s eyes. No, sparkle of an underlying soul. Well at least not to the ordinary person. ‘I know that it’s there, it just has to be drawn out.’ Danni looked at Garrett and smiled politely. It was still something to think about.

"Danni…" the Technologist interrupted, "Danni, we’re done with the scan."

"Ah…yeah, thanks. Did you see anything?" She tried to regain her composure looking nervously at Garrett.

The radiologist rubbed his chin as he scrolled through the images quickly. "No, no bleed in the head, no fractures either. The abdominal images confirm the broken ribs and chest tube placed within the pneumothorax but there clearly is no evidence of any visceral injuries at this time." The radiologist made eye contact with the trauma surgeon who was now standing next to him. "Looks like he got lucky, just a lot of orthopedic injuries."

"Hmm…sounds like he gets a bed on a floor instead of a unit then. Thanks." Garrett shook her head in acknowledgement to the technologist. "Danni, get me the Doctor for Orthopedics? Let’s see what they have planned for our patient."

"Sure thing!" The familiarity and the inclusion of the nurse in the patient’s care by the surgeon excited Danni. Earlier she had thought there would be no hope of furthering a friendship and now everything was falling nicely into place.

Garrett stood pulling on her long white lab coat. She busied herself looking through the pockets for the key to her call room. The surgeon quickly considered the possibility of actually seeing it and getting some rest, but only after her patient was settled into his room or the operating suite if that was what the Ortho doctors wanted. ‘There it is.’ She thought as her fingers felt the familiar object.

"Doc, they want him to go to the floor now. They’ll operate first thing in the morning." The nurse hung up the phone and began to gather up all the paper work connected to her patient. "Will a room on the orthopedic floor be all right for tonight?"

Trivoli nodded her head in agreement; "I’ll want to make sure he gets settled in properly. I’m going up to the floor with you."

"You don’t have to, Doc, I’ve transported lots of trauma patients upstairs…" Her voice trailed off as the fire grew in the steely eyes of the Fellow. "But if you really want to, you’re more than welcome."

They seemed to complement each other’s action in the care of the patient as they readied him for transfer to the floor. It was obvious to all around them that they worked as a team, the blonde nurse and the Fellow. One anticipated the action of the other without words or looks. If one didn’t know better, one would think that the nurse and surgeon had been working together for many years. The two women found themselves completely at ease in the other’s company, when they didn’t think about it.


The charge nurse was amused as she noticed the red scrub marks on Rosie’s neck and arms. She couldn’t help thinking about the shocked look on the flirtatious nurse when she realized her hopes had once again run aground. Mom could only hope that Rosie wouldn’t take it too hard. "So, Rosie, you’re smelling a little better." The older nurse sniffed softly to emphasize the change in her scent.

"It won’t do me any good, so why waste it on you people." There was a little bitterness in her tone of voice. "Damn, David." She muttered under her breath.

Karen tried hard not to laugh but lost the battle. "Serves you right, always trying to latch on to some unsuspecting doctor."

Rosie shot an icy glare in her direction but within seconds started to laugh.

"That’s what I get for trusting people to have the appropriate gender names, I guess."

"You have to admit, Trivoli is a good surgeon. Don’t you think?"

"Well, I guess you are right." The nurse self-consciously rubbed the red marks on her neck; "I bet Danni’s feeling pretty insignificant right about now at thinking of her as a med student."

"I wouldn’t worry about that one. You know she has a way of making things turn out right." Karen settled into her chair and started to view the monitor screen noticing a transfer patient from another hospital. "Looks like we’re going to get to see YOUR Garrett Trivoli in action again, Rosie."

"No way," the nurse cringed. It was just too soon. ‘Why did I call her that?’ Rosie knew that Mom wouldn’t let her possessiveness of the new trauma fellow just drop. It would have to wear off. Somehow she just knew that it would take more than a day or two at that. "Well, I don’t have to worry about impressing anyone now. What’s coming in?"

"Looks like a head trauma." The charge nurse was to the point. "Probably coming in about 20 minutes."

"Great! I hope Danni gets back in time. I don’t feel like jumping through hoops every second with that new Fellow."


With her patient tucked nicely into his room, Garrett stopped by the nurses’ station on the orthopedic floor. She waited patiently for the verbal exchange of information to stop between Danni and the floor nurse before drawing the young blonde’s attention. The surgeon invited the nurse. "Care to share an elevator down?"

"Yeah, but I thought you were going to try for some sleep?"

"I can feel the vibes, there’s no sleep for me tonight." Her tone was authoritative as if she could sense something in the air. "Besides, I like talking to you. It’s been a long time since I was able to do that. I mean…just talk and not about patients or procedures. It…a…feels kind of nice." "Where did that come from? McMurray, what the hell are you doing to me?"

Danni was taken back by the surgeon’s candor. "Sure, what do you want to talk about?"

"Gee, tell me something about you, since you already know my life history." There, she thought, that should break the ice with this nurse. "McMurray, if you only knew what you are putting me through, listening to all of this dribble."

"Well, I’m a nurse. Surprised huh?"

The doctor smiled. "Come on, tell me something that I don’t know."

"Okay, I’m of French ancestry. My parents named me Danielle, I have two siblings, and that’s pretty much my story in a nutshell." The young blonde blushed slightly.

"You don’t like talking about yourself, do you?" "Thank the gods, that she is quiet at least about one subject."

She wrinkled her nose and looked up nervously at the elevator door as it opened. "No, I don’t."

The tall woman waited for Danni to enter the elevator first. She followed after standing silently until the doors closed. "Sorry." The surgeon feared that she was making the young woman uncomfortable. "I don’t mean to pry."

"I know. I just don’t think that I’m anything special to talk about. That’s all." Her eyes locked into the cool crisp blue of the surgeon’s eyes and Danni could feel herself being immersed into the gentle pools. "If you don’t have any plans for this Saturday, we’re having an E.R. outing at Schenley Park, Bar-B-Q and a softball game. If you’d like to come, I’m sure you could get to know some of the E.R. staff. What do you say, you could bring your family if you’d like."

"I…I don’t really have any family, Danni." The woman’s tone was cold and abrupt. "Nor do I want any now or in the future."

"Well, you could still come, or are you on call?"

"No, in fact, I’m off." ‘Damn, it was out before she could stop it.’ The surgeon thought momentarily. "I don’t know the city at all, and I don’t have a car…" She was trying to regain her sense of control, which was slipping right through her fingers. ‘McMurray!’ she screamed to herself, as if it would help.

"Then what else would you be doing? It’s settled. I’ll pick you up and take you with me. How’s that?" The young blonde nodding her head in approval.

"Well…if you insist. I guess that would be all right." Garrett was startled. How did this happen? Here she was in a new town, one day into a new job and already she had plans for the weekend with a new friend. She had never found it easy to make friends or to feel at ease so quickly in a new place. The gods knew that she had a lot of practice at new places. She usually accepted her solitude without trouble. But this, this was definitely not her norm. The fact that someone would want to be her friend was a little shocking. It wasn’t that she was bad or anything, it just wasn’t easy for her to get close to people. She had accepted that many years ago.

"Great!" The nurse was smiling, her teeth showing through the broad smile. There, she had made an offer of friendship and it was accepted.

The feeling of accomplishment suddenly faded with the shrill beeps of the trauma pager. Both women quickly turned sober faced reflecting the nature of their jobs. Socializing time was done and all matters turned immediately back to business.

"Trauma Team page…Trauma Team page. Level One Trauma Patient transfer form Uniontown Hospital via helicopter # 3. Twenty-year-old female assaulted with Baseball bats. Patient has sustained head trauma and is intubated. ETA is ten minutes. Level One Trauma Page."

Danni let a long noisy breath escape her. "Here we go again."

The Trauma Fellow rolled her eyes, "Yeah, I know." She silently thanked the gods for giving her something that would make her feel like she was in control again. She always felt that way every time she had a patient to worry about. The way she was feeling right now, she would be grateful for every trauma patient that came through the doors.

The elevator came to a stop and both women exited, making their way to the trauma suite. Danni silently offered a prayer for the patient’s safe keeping and quickly readied herself to assist in the patient’s care. Garrett gowned and prepared mentally for the next battle.

Rosie turned the corner of the hall and smiled silently to herself at the sight of both Danni and Garrett standing ready and waiting. ‘Way to go, Danni.’

"So, everything alright?" Rosie looked at the nurse as she donned her lead apron.

"Yeah, and you?" Danni returned the cryptic verbiage.

"I‘ll be okay. You know how fast I bounce back." Rosie winked at her co-worker.

Garrett cleared her throat, "Sorry about the gender confusion."

"Not your fault, doc." The nurse assumed her assigned position next to the Trauma Fellow. "I think the air will clear on this one."

Garrett smiled under her mask. She sniffed the air lightly and commented, "I think it smells pretty clear already." There was a glare to her eye and sarcasm in her voice.

"Well, you would have liked it if you were a guy. Trust me, doc." Rosie was being apologetic.

"Trauma in the Department…Trauma in the Department."

The atmosphere hurriedly became sober. Garrett surveyed the room and saw everyone at their stations as the stretcher was wheeled in. The peculiar shape of the young patient’s head grabbed the surgeon’s attention. It was apparent that the young woman had been the victim of an aggressive attack. The blood pooled in large clots underneath the short matted hair. It was impossible to ascertain it’s true color. The blood was oozing everywhere. The patient was transferred off of the helicopter stretcher on the long board that was underneath her and the Fellow gingerly started assessing the battered woman’s head. The skull felt soft and with no true form. The bone fragments were easily moved under her gentle touch. The surgeon swore under her breath at man’s savageness to his own kind. It was something that she would never understand.

"X-ray, get the chest and abdomen and a lateral C-spine. Karen call for Neurosurgery and alert CT Scan that we will need a very quick head." The surgeon snapped off her blood-covered gloves and reached for a new pair. The whole time, her eyes kept surveying the patient’s body for bruising or any evidence of further trauma. Seeing none, Garrett began to evaluate the woman’s body starting at the shoulders and working her way to the feet. The skilled hands swiftly felt for bony integrity while her eyes scanned the area for asymmetry. The surgeon slowed her assessment when she reached the abdominal area. This was her prime area of expertise. It was an area that could hide injury and she knew it all to well. The painstaking ritual of examining the abdomen for softness or rigidity or rebound tenderness was now addressed. Feeling no rigidity the surgeon sighed in relief. But the knowledge of protocol dictated that the patient would receive one of two courses of treatment, Diagnostic Peritoneal Lavage often referred to as DPL or exploratory laproscopy surgery while neurosurgery would operate on her brain and skull. Time was of the essence for this young patient. Trivoli chose appropriately to run to CT Scan for the head and do the exploratory surgery in the O.R.

Garrett looked over at the charge nurse, "Is CT Scan ready for us?"

The nurse nodded her head as she talked on the phone.

"Danni, let’s pack her up and move her over to CT." The surgeon was in control; "Neurosurg can see her there."

"Neurosurg will be down as soon as they can. Dr. Shevchik doesn’t want you to delay the CT Scan, he will meet you there." Karen bellowed out loud and clear for all to hear as she hung up the phone.

"Okay, people, you heard that. Now let’s move out." The voice commanded obedience.

Danni hastily transferred the EKG monitor wires to the portable unit. Rosie connected the Bag Valve Mask and oxygen tubing to the small portable tank and turned off the room supply. The young intern positioned at the patient’s left thigh hurried to finish the last of the blood draws from the femoral stick that he had accomplished only to drop one of the tubes causing it to shatter on impact with the floor. All action stopped and an uneasy hush fell over the room, standing out loader than any freight train hurtling noisily down its rickety old track.

The cold eyes of the surgeon shot daggers at the cause of the delay. All eyes fell on the lowly intern as he hung his head looking down at the floor where his inadequacy had been made known. The surgeon’s eyes fell also on to the floor where instead of a shatter test tube and wildly patterned blood splatters, she saw the marring of not only her shoes but also that of her perfection in treating the patient. How could she make them understand that it had to be perfect, she had to be perfect?

With disgust at her now failed attempt at perfection this time around, she sighed. Laying the blame at herself for allowing it to happen, for letting an imperfection to slip by her. ‘You let this happen. You are to blame.’ The voice inside of her head screamed at her. She tried to pick up the pieces of her failure as she brushed past him without saying a word. Slowly, the rest of the group followed suit and resumed the effort to mobilize the patient. The intern stood back against the side of the room watching the stretcher go by.

Within a minute the entourage of players in this drama made their way into the hall and down to the CT Scanner. The pace was even and slow to accommodate the Respiratory Therapist who was using the Bag Valve Mask to artificially breath for the intubated patient. It was a team effort and everybody knew his station as they entered the scanner. The stretcher was positioned next to the scanner table. The well-practiced maneuver of transferring the patient to the scanner was accomplished with little effort and the team logrolled the patient while the surgeon evaluated the back of the patient. Satisfied that no obvious injuries were there, the Fellow removed the blood stained clothing from under the patient throwing them to the floor. The spine board was then removed and the patient rolled on to her back and positioned for the head scan. The Respiratory Therapist connected the endotracheal tube to the ventilator. The doors were closed and the group made their way into the control room for the Scanner.

The technologist was busily typing onto the computer screen the patient’s information. With several motions, the screens quickly changed and the machine began to hum as it acquired the images of the young woman’s traumatized head. They all watched closely as each image was displayed across the screen. The sight was enough to turn your stomach. The bones of her skull were literally in pieces. The soft tissue was expanding with blood and the brain tissue showed extensive bilateral subdural hemorrhages. The young woman’s prognosis was not good at all. ‘What could she have possibly done to deserve this?’ Garret was appalled at the thought. No one deserved this treatment. Her heart ached for this patient and whatever family she had.

The surgeon looked up from the computer screen to see Danni trying hard to keep her emotions in check. She was a professional but that didn’t mean that she didn’t feel. A tear was gathering in the corner of her eye and slowly spilled over, running down her cheek. The young nurse brushed it away with the back of her hand, hoping that no one had noticed. Little slipped past Garrett without her noticing. It was just her nature, being always on top of things as they happened around her.

"Well, what do we have?" Dr. Shevchik questioned as he entered the room. He took stock of the faces as he made his way over to the computer screen. He didn’t like the hushed atmosphere and the shocked look on some of the faces. He reached the screen and stood frozen as the technologist quickly scrolled through the images. "Jeez, I don’t think we can do much for this one, but let me call my Attending at home." The neurosurgeon let out a long whistle. "What the hell did she get hit with?"

Garrett stood next to him. She stared at the patient through the leaded glass in the control booth and said stoically, "Baseball bats."

The neurosurgeon made a phone call to his Attending and relayed the details of the patient and her injuries. The discussion lasted only two or three minutes before the phone was placed back into its cradle. The man took in a deep breath and announced, "The boss wants to give it a try because of her age. We’re going to the O.R."

The team looked at each other and you could sense the small spark of hope that was beginning to take hold. Without any direction each knew what had to be done and went into action. Bodies were moving, doors opening, telephone calls to alert the O.R. of their need for a room, all happening simultaneously. She had a chance, slim as it was, but that was not going to stop them. They were here and they were willing to give it their all. Before anyone realized it, the patient was removed from the scanner and transported to the operating room.

The hand off at the O.R. was smooth and orderly. They were waiting at the desk when the trauma team came through the door. It was beginning to be an expected site, Trivoli and her crack team whisking in another traumatized patient. The rumors were already starting. This doctor was making a name for herself, no one had ever been so calm and in control as Garrett Trivoli, not on their first day. Although it was the team that accompanied her that was beginning to look battered and beaten up by her all consuming drive for perfection.

Danni and Rosie waited for their portable equipment to be assembled, while they handed over the accumulated paperwork to the nurse at the desk.

"I wish they could all be like that one." The nurse at the desk motioned her head.

Rosie looked puzzled. "Who?"

"You know, that new Trauma Fellow, what’s her name, Garnet? She riles the hell of the staff here. But if I needed an operation in a hurry," she winked at them. "She’s got the skill."

"Oh, you mean my doctor Garrett Trivoli," Rosie said with a sense of pride dripping in sarcasm while winking at Danni.

The small blonde just closed her eyes, shaking her head slightly and smiled. She could tell that Rosie was over the shock of the mistaken gender and was simply enjoying a good laugh at herself. Danni looked at her watch; it was nearly 3 a.m., the night was going fast. She knew that the surgeon would be tied up in the O.R. for at least an hour or two doing the exploratory surgery and then it would be time for her to round. The nurse made a mental note to page Garrett before she left for home and confirm their arrangements for Saturday’s outing. This was one picnic she was looking forward too.




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