I press the gas pedal with my right leg and indescribable pain shoots through my hamstring. After wedging the baseball bat from the cab onto the gas pedal I start tearing at my pant leg to assess the damage. My hands come back slippery with blood. The hospital is only a few blocks. Reaching into my pack I grab the gun and check to make sure there are rounds in the chamber. A view of the hospital dons a ridge on the north side of town. I barely see movement of other dogs around it and I’ve left the others in the dust several minutes behind.
Turning into the emergency lane and halting the car with my left foot in one clumsy motion I click off the engine. Before stepping out I look around, I’ll never overlook those dogs again. I see an old Australian Shepherd far off to the end of the parking lot, and two skinnier dogs jumping about playfully near the entrance to the ER. I step out and my right knee almost buckles underneath me as I test it. Without a crutch this is going to be a difficult walk, especially considering I don’t know where to go first. I grab the bat out of the cab and try to use it as a makeshift cane.
“Thank God there’s no one to see me now.”
Cleaver whines morosely as he follows me, and chases the skinny dogs away. I can’t help but chuckle at the irony when I step on the black mat and the automatic doors open. The door is generously opened for me, yet I can't even get competent medical treatment behind these doors.
When I enter I beeline for the ICU, assuming that they would have the most diverse stock of supplies there. I step into the first exam room I see and start pulling the shelves open, hoping to see something helpful I can recognize. I see saline, which I know to be… well, sanitary water and I place it on the examination chair. If only I could find anesthesia. And antibiotics. But besides the word antibiotics I don’t know how they would be labeled. Maybe the charts behind the nurse's station would work as a cheat sheet.
I scuttle down the corridor again, leaving tiny smatterings of blood on the glistening, pale linoleum. When I reach a wall full of manila charts I start pulling them off one by one in a cascade.
Mary Anderson… heart palpit…
John Arkle… has mastisized to…
Becky Avonea… fractured tibia.
That one I set aside.
Yolanna Burns… check up… 8 weeks…
Jessica Charles… allergy: all anesthesias but lidocaine.
The minutes drag on mercilessly as I comb through stacks and stacks of paperwork, setting aside the simple cases that had simpler solutions. Those cases that might be similar to what I face in the future. Finally I come across the diamond in the rough.
Emily Ringfield… sore, swollen throat, accelerated sinus infection… administered 20cc’s penicillin.
“Wow, penicillin. Couldn’t have thought of that half an hour ago?”