Okay, my friends, you’ve been incredibly kind and patient so I’d like to give you the first chapter of Luke and Mia’s story.
The book should be out next week and I’m so excited to bring it to you.
Carried Away–Tuscany, Texas Book 2
“No! Give me another round of epi and keep bagging.” Dr. Luke Davis wiped the sweat from his brow as he continued chest compressions. “Come on, come on. You can’t do this.”
A light touch on his arm made him pause for a moment. “Please, Dr. Davis, we’ve been at this for an hour.” Nurse Cricket Campbell’s soft voice pierced the air better than a shout. “It’s time to call it.”
He emphatically shook his head. “No, we can do this. I’ve got to keep trying.”
“Luke, he crushed in his skull when he hit the windshield. We can’t get blood in fast enough.”
Glancing up, an empty bag of blood swayed slightly on the IV pole. A slow line of red ran from the man’s nose down his cheek, staining the white bed sheet under him.
Please. Don’t die. “How many units did that one make?”
“Two and four bags of lactated ringers.” Cricket glanced down and held up the empty urine catheter bag. “He’s not producing any output and was still flat lined the last time we checked vitals fifteen minutes ago.”
Paramedic Joseph Davis, Luke’s twin, stepped in the room and raised an eyebrow. “Damn, you’re still in here?”
“Yes.” Cricket sighed as she reattached the catheter bag to the bed and pulled the bloodied sheet up the naked man’s body, covering him from knees to belly.
“Did he come back?”
A monotone “no” echoed through the room from the code team as each member shook their heads.
Luke’s heart sunk to his gut. He couldn’t let it end this way.
Joseph threw his hands up in frustration. “Luke, you’ve got to stop. This is pointless.”
Anger flooded Luke’s veins. “It’s not pointless. Get another two bags of blood in here and call my uncle.”
“Put in a call to Dr. Josiah Davis for me, Penny,” Cricket called out as she pulled out her teal colored penlight and checked the patient’s eyes. “Fixed and dilated, Dr. Davis.”
“Putting in a call to Dr. Josiah Davis,” The medical clerk, Penny Marcos’s voice echoed from behind the curtain.
Moving swiftly around the other Code Blue team members, Joseph stood next to his brother. “You have to stop. He’s gone.”
“He can’t die like this, Joe.”
Joseph grabbed Luke’s arm. “He died a long time ago, long before he hit that tree. You couldn’t save him then either.”
“This is different.” Luke tried to shrug his brother’s grip off without breaking tempo. “I should have turned around. Checked on him.”
“You don’t have a black eye for running into a door.”
“He tried to run you over with his truck.”
Reality started taking over the adrenaline, but Luke couldn’t let go. “Joseph, let go of my arm.”
He held firm. “No. Let it go, Luke.”
“Dr. Josiah is upstairs. He’s on his way. He’d be here in two minutes.” Penny poked her head in between the curtains for a second before leaving. “What else do you need?”
“That’s it. Thanks, Penny.” Cricket placed her hand on Luke’s. “Please, stop.”
In between compressions, he flipped her hand away.
Cricket’s lips thinned. “At least let us check his vitals without you performing CPR or Emily bagging.”
Joseph tightened his grip on Luke’s arm. “Stop.”
With reluctance, Luke slowed his pace and after a few more compressions, stepped back and leaned against the trauma room wall. The heart rate flat lined as soon as he stopped.
He ran his fingers through his sweat soaked hair as he watched the cardiac monitor. “Check a pulse.”
Respiratory therapist, Emily Parker, stopped squeezing oxygen into the man’s body as Cricket and others checked for a pulse on the different pressure points of the body.
“Anyone?” The nurse asked.
All shook their heads.
The hum of the automatic blood pressure cuff filled the room as they each watched the monitor flash numbers and finally end on zero/zero.
Immediately, a foul taste coated his tongue and he swallowed the bile to keep from vomiting. Resting his hands on his knees, Luke choked back a sob. Multiple wads of blood-soaked gauze littered the floor as the air reeked of stale alcohol.
“No spontaneous respirations,” Emily added. “His last blood gas showed a pH of six point eight, but that was thirty minutes ago before the bi-carb.”
Luke knew this dismal scenario all too well. He’d seen it more times than he could count, but this time he had to keep trying. “How much more O negative do we have in the blood bank?”
Cricket narrowed her deep, hazel eyes at him. “You can’t ask us to put more blood into this guy. It pours out as soon as we put it—”
Anger flooded his veins. “Cricket! Don’t question me.”
“You’re wasting blood. Someone else who has a chance needs it more than he does.” Crossing her arms over her chest, she shook her head, her long black ponytail swinging. “I’m not getting more blood until you get someone else in here who agrees with you.”
Luke’s world went red. “You’re a nurse. I’m the doctor.”
“I’m also the patient advocate and it’s within my right to question what you’re doing.”
Joseph stepped in his brother’s way before Luke could move. “She’s right.”
“I have to do something.”
“You’ve already done everything you can. Everything. Let. Him. Go.”
Before the men ended up in a brawl, Dr. Josiah Davis pushed the curtain back with his custom carved cane. He grimaced when he hobbled in. “Give me an update.”
Luke tilted his chin towards Cricket as he pushed Joseph out of the way and restarted chest compressions.
Emily shook her head and squeezed the oxygen bag with half-hearted attempts. Others in the room either cleaned up the mess, checked IV’s or avoided eye contact with Luke.
Crossing her arms, Cricket began report. “He hit a tree going about forty miles an hour, wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and his face hit the windshield.”
Dr. Davis grabbed some gloves as he inched up the bed. “Head trauma, huh?”
Cricket swallowed hard. “He basically scalped himself and crushed in his skull.”
“Yes, but the blood test showed he was under the legal limit.”
Luke watched his uncle inspect the patient.
I should have gone back. I should have known he wouldn’t have given up so fast.
Josiah raised an eyebrow. “Who brought him in?”
“Paramedics Davis and Perkins were first on the scene.” Cricket pointed to Joseph and looked around. “Where is Davy?”
Joseph shrugged. “He was here a second ago.”
“He was breathing on his own?” The older man pursed his lips.
Shaking his head, Joseph stepped forward. “I thought he was gone, but he attempted to breathe on his own a few times and he still had a pulse, so we intubated him to get him stabilized, keep his airway open. He coded on the way here.”
With his stone-faced expression in place, Josiah lifted the dressing over the patient’s forehead. “What all have you done so far?”
Cricket listed the cardiac medications, rounds of defibrillator charges, bags of IV fluids, and units of blood they’d pumped into the brown-haired man.
“It’s not enough. We can do more.” Luke panted. You can’t die. Come on you stubborn bastard.
Beads of sweat temporarily blinded Luke and he wiped them away with his shoulder sleeve. The salty tears burned, making Luke’s eyes water and his nose run.
“Dr. Josiah, what can I get for you?” Nurse Campbell smiled.
For a moment, Josiah remained quiet, but continued to look up and down the patient through his half-moon glasses. He lifted the sheet and pushed around on the man’s abdomen. “He’s got massive head trauma, blunt force chest trauma from hitting the steering wheel. Belly’s hard. Probably a lacerated liver. Not producing any output. Pupils?”
“Fixed and dilated.” Cricket stuffed her hands in her pockets.
As his uncle spoke his observations out loud, Luke’s shoulders became heavier and heavier, as if the weight of the world had been dropped on him, waiting for him to hold it up.
Please, give me some sign of hope. “What do you think? Another round of epi and a couple more units?”
The pop of Josiah’s gloves filled the room before he tossed them in the trash. “Call it, Son.”
“What?” Luke’s chest compressions slowed, but he shook it off and started back again. “You can’t be serious.”
“Son, what you’re doing is admirable, but it’s wasting everyone’s time… and you know it.”
The words slapped him in the face. “But, but…”
“You and I know he probably didn’t even have time to feel scared. You’re a good man, Luke, but you can’t save him. Not this time.”
“No, that’s not true.” It can’t be true.
Placing his wrinkled hands on Luke’s, he shook his head. “Call it.”
“Call it now or I will.”
The room went still and with each compression, Luke pulled away more and more until he stepped back and stared at the body.
No one looks the same when they’ve died. The man lying there used to be so full of life. So full of promise.
Now, he lay, unrecognizable in a pile of bandages, wires, and tubes.
Letting out a long sigh, Luke yanked off his gloves and threw them in the trash.
“I don’t feel a pulse, all leads are on and we’re flat line, no blood pressure, no spontaneous breathing.” Grabbing a clean sheet from the cabinet, Cricket gently lay it over the man’s body in a respectful gesture as Emily slid the bloody cover away and dumped it into the soiled laundry container.
The young nurse at the foot of the bed had tears in her eyes. “Dr. Luke Davis, is calling it. Correct?”
With a regretful nod, Luke hung his head. “I’m calling it at one-thirty-two in the afternoon.”
Cricket opened the curtains and walked to the desk in the middle of the unit. “Penny, go ahead and call the ME. See if they want Dr. Davis to sign the death certificate or she wants to do it.”
Penny grabbed the phone. “Got it. You never know with Mavis.”
Sheriff Ethan Parker, Luke and Joseph’s cousin, stood at the desk and gave Luke a respectful nod. Paramedic Davy Perkins, who stood next to Ethan, excused himself.
Death. One of the things Luke knew he’d have to do one day, state time of death for someone he knew. He just never thought it would be so soon and certainly not someone who’d been such a huge part of his life.
Luke collapsed against the wall and slid down to the floor as he buried his face in his hands. Sobs shook his body as the adrenaline wore off. “What am I going to tell her?”
“What do you mean what do you tell her?” Joseph scoffed. “He was going too fast. He hit a tree. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Just tell her the truth.”
The truth? What is that? “I should have gone back. I should have known something was wrong when I went around that corner and he didn’t follow me.”
Joseph’s eyes narrowed. “He ran into that tree because he was drunk and driving too fast. Even if you had turned around, it would have been too late. He’d already done his damage.”
“Joseph’s right, Luke. Don’t blame yourself for this.” Josiah tapped his cane a few times. “Come on, Son.”
He looked up to see the kind eyes of his Uncle. “She’s going to hate me.”
“I don’t see why. Let’s go talk to the family.”
“Where are they?” Wiping away his tears with the back of his hand, Luke stood and straightened his jeans.
Uncle Josiah sighed. “His parents are in the family waiting room.”
Luke’s gut rolled as perspiration beaded on his lip. He fought with his own selfish ideas as they made their way to the family waiting room, knowing the chaos that would certainly explode.
Before they entered , Cricket ran up and put her hand on his arm. “Hey, you did an amazing job. Don’t forget that when you go in there.”
“Thank you Cricket.” But it doesn’t make me feel any better.
And it doesn’t change a damned thing.