What’s At Stake?

By Sarah Vita

He couldn’t get the horrific image out of his head. All Roy saw, every time he closed his eyes, was Johnny getting hit by that car, his young partner flipping over the car so quickly and then just lying there on the pavement. At first he thought Johnny was dead.

Ten miles an hour… if that guy had just been going ten miles an hour slower, Johnny may not be in surgery right now.

Dr. Early has informed Roy that John had ruptured his spleen when he fell, and had severe internal bleeding.

God… a ruptured spleen, how did that happen? Roy looked at the clock once again. 4 am?! He’s been in surgery for over an hour now. What’s taking so long? Man, how do these things always happen to Johnny?

All Roy kept thinking about was that look of pain on his partner’s face in the treatment room.
Roy knew his partner had been in terrible pain, but couldn’t do anything to help him. It hurt Roy so much to see Johnny like that. He had seen John in the emergency room more times than he cared to count, each time hoping and praying that his partner would be alright. This time was no different.

He ran his hands through his hair in frustration for the umpteenth time. Please be alright, Johnny. Please…

Roy kept backtracking the ambulance ride in his head, wondering if there was anything he could’ve done and didn’t that could’ve made Johnny feel better. He recalled what Johnny had said to him when the pain in his leg got worse.

“Try to think of something else, Johnny. Take your mind off it,” Roy said, trying to comfort John.

“I’ve got something to think of.”


“Morphine.” Johnny smiled, trying to laugh at his joke, but winced in pain as the ambulance hit a bump.

Roy smiled to himself remembering Johnny’s comment. Only he would say something like that. The doctors didn’t allow him to have any painkillers because of the concussion, and he couldn’t have any water because the ruptured spleen had caused internal bleeding. When they finally took John up to the OR, the pain had become almost unbearable.

Roy asked himself once again what could be taking so long.

Maybe something went wrong? It wasn’t his spleen after all? He shook his head in aggravation. Stop thinking like that, Roy. Johnny’s gonna be fine. He’s gonna be fine. He sat down to take another sip of his coffee. A few moments later, Dr. Early came in.

“How is he?” Roy asked.

“He looks good, Roy.”

The doctor sat down and Roy pushed the cup toward him. “Here, some coffee.” As Joe took a grateful sip, Roy added, “I was really worried.”

“The orthopedist will set his leg now; then he’ll be on his way to recovery.”

“How long is he gonna be laid up?” Roy questioned, knowing John would be anxious to get back to work.

“About a week or so. We’ll have him in a wheelchair, and then we’ll try and get him back on his feet.”

“I guess it could be close to two weeks then, huh?”

Dr. Early looked Roy straight in the eyes. “Look, we both know what kind of paramedic Johnny is… Now let’s see what kind of a patient he is.” He smiled at the younger man.

After sitting a while with Roy, Dr. Early left to fill some forms about Johnny’s surgery and make sure the recovery room was ready. After pouring another cup of coffee, Roy went to the phone on the wall and dialed a number he knew by heart.

“Cap, it’s Roy. Johnny’s okay!”


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