Merry Christmas, Johnny!
By Sarah Vita
“Rampart, this is Rescue 51.”
“This is Rampart, go ahead, 51,” head nurse Dixie McCall answered back.
“Rampart, we have a male victim, 26 years old. Fall from stairs, caused a broken right leg, and left ankle; severe pain in the right arm, shoulder, chest and hips. The left knee looks pretty banged up too.”
“10-4 Rescue. Begin IV and transport.”
“Dix… the victim… is Johnny.”
“Then you better hurry.”
Roy DeSoto hung up the bio-phone and started an IV in Johnny’s left arm.
“Take it easy, Johnny. We’re gonna get you to Rampart. Just take it easy.”
The ambulance arrived soon enough. Since they were pretty far away from Rampart, Roy suggested the highway. He soon regretted the choice. There was traffic backing up a few miles. Now, it wasn’t bumper-to-bumper, but traffic is traffic.
“Looks like we’re gonna be here a while, Junior!”
After what seemed like an eternity, the ambulance finally arrived at Rampart. Dr. Early and Dixie were waiting outside to meet them. Within seconds, Johnny was transported to the treatment room. Roy stood by his bed as Dr. Early examined him. Although he tried to be gentle, there was a tender spot here and there. As Early did the exam, Dixie was taking Johnny's vitals. When the x-ray machine came in, Dr. Early and Dixie took Roy with them for a cup of coffee. A few moments later, Dr. Brackett joined them. He heard that Johnny has been admitted.
“Joe? Dix? I just heard about Johnny. Hi, Roy.”
“Kel,” Dr. Early began. “As far as I can tell, his right leg and left ankle are obviously broken, badly. He’s in pain virtually all over his body, but mostly his arms, shoulder and hips, not to mention, he’s got a concussion.”
“How’d it happen?”
Roy explained to them that when Johnny looked into a room, an explosion inside threw him back and down a twenty-foot staircase. At that moment, a nurse came in to tell the doctors that the x-rays were finished and to give Dr. Early the fresh images. Early went to the x-ray monitor, to see just what was wrong with Johnny, followed by Kel. Roy was about to follow, but Dixie stopped him.
“Why don’t you finish your coffee first, Roy?” She handed him the cup. At first, Roy was reluctant, but agreed. As he sat down, he couldn’t help but mumble a little something to himself.
Please, let Johnny be alright.
Not long after, Roy was told that he could see Johnny. His young partner was lying in the bed with an IV in his arm and the heart monitor running. His eyes were closed and he was pale, but he did actually look better than when he was admitted. Roy sat by Johnny, and took ahold of his hand. He wanted to say something, but the words never came to mind.
“Roy?” Dr. Brackett’s voice echoed from behind.
Roy turned, and Dr. Early gestured to him to come to them. They showed him Johnny’s x-rays against the lighted monitor.
“See, Roy, as I said, Johnny’s leg and ankle are broken, but so is his hip. The pain in his arm must’ve caused by a muscular reaction to the impact,” Dr. Early explained.
“What about his shoulder?”
“Now, we’re getting to that.” Brackett took down the leg x-rays, and put up the one of Johnny’s shoulder. “See, the shoulder is not broken.”
“That’s a relief.”
“But… the muscle has been greatly strained; some ligaments have been torn. We’ll need to fix that when we fix the broken bones.”
“Fix?” Roy asked. “You mean… with surgery?”
“I’m afraid so, Roy.”
Before the doctors could explain further, there was a faint, nearly inaudible, moan from across the room.
Roy dashed to the side of the bed. “Johnny? Johnny, it’s Roy… can you hear me?” he whispered.
Johnny forced his eyes open, and met those of his partner. “Roy?”
“Take it easy, Junior. Do you recognize where you are?”
Johnny looked around curiously. “Rampart?”
Roy nodded in response. “Brackett says you need a surgery. They have to fix your
legs and hip.”
Almost two hours later, Roy was still sitting in the waiting room. Finally, Drs. Brackett and Early came out of the elevator. Roy stood up immediately.
“Johnny’s gonna be fine, Roy,” Joe informed.
Roy breathed a sigh of relief. “Can I…?”
“Room 16, 3rd floor,” Kel blurted, before Roy could finish.
“Thanks!” Roy dashed into the elevator as fast as he could. When he arrived in Johnny’s room, the young paramedic was resting peacefully. He was awake, yet his eyes were closed. Dixie was hooking up the IV unit.
Roy sat down next to Johnny. “John?”
Johnny opened his eyes and looked at Roy surprisingly. He hadn’t heard his partner come in. “Hi,” he croaked.
“Hi yourself. Why do you always worry me so much?” Roy teased.
Johnny managed a crooked grin. “I guess I like to make your adrenaline rush.”
Roy couldn’t help but laugh. After all, Johnny did always seem to get his adrenaline running. A few more moments of conversation, and Johnny fell asleep. Roy sat with him a few more moments, but left once he was confident that Johnny was alright.
Nearly two weeks later, Johnny was still in the hospital, and miserable. It was Christmas Eve, and he had already missed the Fireman’s Christmas Ball, The LA Paramedic Christmas Party, and now he was going to miss his favorite part --Christmas Eve with the DeSotos! The past three years, it was practically tradition for Johnny to spend the night with them on Christmas Eve and be there on Christmas morning to see Chris and Jenny open their presents. Not to mention, none of his friends has been to see him in two days. He was feeling quite left out of the holiday festivities.
But that evening, everything changed. He was asleep, but woken up by Dixie. Once he was awake, she told him that someone was there to see him. She helped him into his wheelchair, and took him to the Doctor’s Lounge. She opened the door to the room, and Johnny sat there, looking sleepily at all of his friends who were yelling “Merry Christmas!”
“W… what are you guys doing?”
“What does it look like we’re doing?” Roy joked. “Throwing you a Christmas party of course!”
Little Jenny and Christopher walked up to their Uncle Johnny’s chair, and handed him a sloppily wrapped box wrapped with a green bow.
“Merry Christmas, Uncle Johnny,” Jennifer gleamed.
“Aw, thank you, sweetheart.” Johnny took the present and lifted the two children up to kiss them.
“Well, open it!” Chris ordered with a grin.
“Alright, alright… just hold your horses.”
No matter how fast Johnny moved, he still wasn’t quick enough for those two. Finally, he opened the package, and couldn’t believe what was inside. A few years ago, the station, Rampart, and the DeSoto family had all taken a picture together with Johnny in the middle. Until now, the photo had hung in Dr. Brackett’s office, but they made a blown-up copy for Johnny to hang in his house. He loved the picture; it had him surrounded by all the people who he considered his family. “Wow… this is fantastic!”
Little Jenny then perked up, and asked, “Do you really like it, Uncle Johnny?”
“Like it?!! Jenny, I love it!” He hugged her tightly. “I really do love it. Thanks, guys!”
“Okay, okay, don’t get all mushy now,” Chet complained.
“Oh, shut up, Chet!” Roy and Johnny snapped back in unison. Everyone laughed.
After a few more hours of just hanging out and having fun, most of the squad had to go home. They had their own family gatherings to go to the next day, and wanted to get a good night’s sleep. Chris and Jenny had nearly fallen asleep a few times, so Joanne decided to take them home. Roy wanted to stay with Johnny a little longer, so he was to drive home later. Half an hour later, Drs. Brackett and Early decided to go home too. Nearly midnight, it was just Roy, Dix, and Johnny.
“So, Junior, you remember any special Christmases from when you were a kid?”
“One. I remember that my friend Harry and I used to watch a lot of cowboy shows, and there was a cowboy memorabilia store down the street from our school. We used to go there a lot to look at the stuff. Well, once, just before Christmas, they had a cowboy hat that I really wanted. It was like a sandy brown color, with a black band, and the edges were embroidered in black too. Well, I saved up all the money I could get until I finally had enough. I ran over there so fast with my Dad, but when I got there, it was gone. Somebody else bought it.”
“Aw, Johnny, that’s so sad,” Dixie commented.
Johnny laughed. “Then, it was sad.”
Roy glanced at his watch. “Wow, it’s almost 1 am! I gotta get going, guys.”
“Yeah, I better get going too,” Dix added. “Come on, Johnny; let’s get you back to your room.”
When they got to room 16, there was a package sitting on Johnny’s bed. He picked it up, and looked for a tag. He found one, but it had no name as to who it was from.
“What’s it say, Junior?” asked Roy.
“It just says, ‘Merry Christmas, Johnny’.”
Johnny opened it, and to his surprise, it was the sandy cowboy hat!
“Oh my gosh!!” Johnny held the hat, staring at it with an opened mouth.
Roy and Dixie looked at each other in shock.
“Pally, you and Dix are the only two people, aside from my late parents, who know that hat story,” Johnny declared.
The trio looked so stunned at that hat, and then they heard something that would shock them even farther. Jingle bells! Jingle bells on top of the roof! They raced to the window, and saw some figure in the sky, but it was too hazy to make out for sure.
“Roy, Dix…do you…”
“Nah!” the three said in unison. But, that night, Johnny couldn’t help but wonder… how?
THANK YOU TO MY BEST FRIEND, SAMANTHA, FOR HELPING ME FINISH THIS STORY!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!!
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