This is a Journal entry by Blue-Eyed BiPedal BookWorm from Betelgeuse (aka B4[insertpunhere])
B4 - Moulage Ruin - 7 Dec 2011
Blue-Eyed BiPedal BookWorm from Betelgeuse (aka B4[insertpunhere]) Started conversation Dec 8, 2011
“Where the hell ~are~ they?” My voice is guttural and muffled through clenched teeth. “They should be here by now.”
From my sprawled position on the floor I can barely raise my head to see where my right leg is wedged under the large Conex box. A small smudge of red is just visible under the lower edge of the metal container, in stark contrast to the pale blue of my scrub pants. The white lab coat I'm wearing is rumpled around me, but there are no traces of blood on it. I can tell my hardhat is canted at an odd angle as I lie on the cold cement floor of the Fuel Building. The evacuation alarm had wailed and echoed in the confines of the open truck bay, and it seems an eternity since it has died away.
I have to reassure myself by reminding myself, 'If the Security guys in CAS have done an electronic head count, they should be sending a search and rescue team out, because I'm still logged in through this room's door.' I try to rise up on an elbow, unsuccessfully, lay back down and shout, “C'mon! Somebody should ~be~ here by now!” Seconds later, the door klaxon goes off in the neighboring pump room.
“Hey! Hey, in HERE! Somebody HELP! In HERE!”
I crane my neck to look past the right side of the big yellow box. Two people come barreling through the doorway and head my way. They both round the box and do a quick scan. I recognize them.
“Jeez! What happened?” Tim steps in closer and notices I'm trapped under the box, then steps back when he notices something else.
“I was moving a couple of Conex boxes...stacked on top of one another...and one toppled off and knocked me down. I can't get up or pull my leg out. What's wrong?” I ask because I see a strange look in his eyes and making signs to Karl to fetch something.
“There's a bunch of potentially contaminated liquid that's seeping from the container and it looks like it's gotten all over you. Karl, get some rags and bags; I'll take some readings.”
“What the heck? Tim, c'mon, get me outta here!”
“Okay, wait a moment. Settle down. I'm not a paramedic. The MERT team will be here in a couple of minutes; they'll know what to do better than me.” He passes his Geiger counter over my torso, careful not to touch me. He then pulls out a couple of disk-sized swabs and samples the fluid on the floor. “I'll be right back, TJ. Just hold on few minutes, okay?” He walks to the isolation booth set up in the corner of the room, shielded from background radiation, and uses the other tester inside to determine the extent of the problem.
I yell out, “What! You're just going to leave me here! What the hell, Tim!” I raise my left leg and kick the Conex box with the flat of my foot. “Ow! Damn-damn-damn! Remind me not to do that again. Tim! Karl?”
Tim returns and kneels beside me. “Look, TJ, if I move you now, I could do more harm than good. If your leg is crushed, you could wind up bleeding to death. Don't want that, right?” I shake my head. “Then be patient. I've gotta call the TSC and confirm that we found you.” He stands and takes a few steps, pulling out a radio comm unit. In hushed tones, he relays the info and then pulls Kurt aside to talk with him.
I let him know I'm in pain by groaning and writhing on the floor. “The MERT team...better...hurry...up! I don't know...how long...I can stand this...!” My hands scrabble on the concrete floor, gaining no purchase, and I notice one of the yellow rubber gloves I'm wearing—the one on my right hand—has an odd greasy grey blotch on its palm. I examine it and realize it must be from something that stained it during a previous work activity. Surely it's been laundered since then and I've only gotten a hand-me-down. The door klaxon breaks my reverie.
Two Operations Techs stride in; they're carrying a stretcher. I haven't met these guys before; they're still new faces at the plant and obviously still in training. They lean the carrier against the wall and one of them squats next to me, checking out my leg pinned beneath the box. I check out their hardhats. Kurt and Tim. Great! This could lend itself to some confusion.
“So, you guys are my ride?”
“Yeah, we're here to get you out. Good lord!” Kurt looks over his shoulder to Tim. “How are we gonna pry him out of this?”
“I don't know if I'm pinned...maybe just wedged...can't move my leg to get out 'cause it hurts too much. Is the MERT team comin' or not?” I squirm and let him know this is an untenable position for me. “Did you guys talk to each other to let 'em know where I'm at?”
“I'm sure they're on their way. We heard the call go out probably the same time they did.”
“Then where...the hell...are they! Don't they know how to read a grid map of the floor plans? If they can't find their way here, why don't y'all go out and escort them back! I need some MEDICAL ATTENTION!” The outburst drains me and I lie back, spent. There's a flush building within me, but it's being overridden by a case of hyperventilation. The dizziness passes and I realize Tim, the tall Operations Tech is talking to me; he has been for a few seconds.
“...sure it won't be long now. TJ, is it? Look, you need to calm down. This isn't doing you any good. We've got to wait just a couple more minutes and they'll be here...with the medical kits to help out. Just lie back and relax, okay?”
“Hard concrete. Stuck under a large metal container. Not very comfortable.” I let my head drop and the sound of the hardhat smacking the floor slaps off the walls. Several moments later, Tim, the RadChem Tech is standing over me, offering to slip a pile of Masselin cloths under my head. I oblige by lifting and grunting; he slides them under the nape of my neck. I lean back against the thin cushion of yellow folded cloths and it's nominally less uncomfortable. “Thanks,” I mutter.
Moments tick away. I continue to voice my pain. Time elongates and drags on. I can feel my right leg going numb beneath the fallen box. I start to vent my frustration. “Where the f---?” And two Security Guards step into my field of vision. I hadn't even heard the klaxon go off, I was thrashing so much. “Finally! About time y'all showed up. I could have called Callaway Community and ~they~ could have been here before now.” I see the offended look in their eyes and finish with a feeble attempt to salvage my bad manners. “Except, of course,” I roll slightly to one side and point across the room to the far wall, “that the Gaitronics and the phone are way over there.”
Rick is carrying the EMT kit bag and comes to a halt; Sherry stands with her hands on her hips and says, “Your airway is definitely NOT blocked.” Rick starts unpacking the essentials behind me, past my head. Sherry leans down to inspect the damage, then reaches out for a set of latex gloves Rick proffers. “Tell me where you hurt. Anything other than the obvious—your leg?”
“What? Oh, anything else? Um...” I take a moment to assess what I can tell her. “No. Nothing else. Just my leg. I think I got knocked down pretty hard by the box, but my hardhat spared me from crackin' my head. So...yeah, just my leg.”
“I'm going to need to examine it...”
“We're going to have to pull him out from under the box,” chimes in Kurt, the Ops Tech. “He seems to think he's not pinned, but just wedged. Do you think we can move him?”
“You'll have to. Just be careful.” Sherry moves aside to let them get to my shoulders and legs.
Tim catches under my arms and holds me up a bit. Kurt pushes my good leg back, then starts to gently slide my right leg from the gap below the box. I scream, then whimper. “Aaaah! Ow! Shit, that hurts!”
“Try to relax.”
“Swap places with me,” I gasp, “then let me know how easy this is!”
“I've almost got you...there! You're out.” He sits back on his haunches then gets out of the way. Sherry moves back into place and cuts the leg of my scrub pants with a pair of scissors, all the way up to my knee. I raise my chin and see my shin, bloody, bruised, a large welt longer than my thumb rising askew from the flesh of my leg. There are bone spurs and fragments protruding and the blood is still oozing from the gash.
“I shouldn't be looking at that, should I?”
“No. We don't want you to get sick. Lie back and stay down, please. Let us work. Are you ready, Rick?”
“Ready.” He's got his gloves on, too, and I can barely make out a fancy contraption in his hands. “You want me to get his boot off while you immobilize his leg?”
Sherry nods and takes the thing of molded plastic and straps. She sets it down at her knees and pulls a length of very thick brown tape to full arms' length. She bends down, partially obscuring what she's doing, and I feel her beginning to wrap the stuff around my leg.
“Aaaaah! Rrrrrgh! Jeez that hurts! Can you ~stop~ that?” I start to pull my leg back, but Sherry maintains a firm grip to prevent it.
“We've got to immobilize your leg, TJ. Hold as still as you can...and breathe. Just breathe.”
“Okay, I can do this, I can do this, I can—Oh! Ow! Hrrrrrgh!” I wrap both my arms around my chest in a hugging motion and squeeze myself, not daring to kick out or thrash while she does what's necessary. Rick simultaneously unzips my boot and begins to work it off my foot. “Damnit-damnit-damnit! Do you ~hafta~ do that at the same time?”
“It's over, dude. Now let's get the rest of the splint on.”
“I'm going to lift your leg to put the splint in place. Ready?” Sherry looks back at me.
“Yeah, go ahead. You'll be gentle, right?”
“You tell me...” She lifts my injured leg and I have to let out a groan. “Guess not. Bear with me. I've got to hold this in place while Rick secures the straps. You close your eyes and ~breathe~, okay?”
“Sure. Breathe. Hfff! Ow! Okay. Done yet?” I wait for the answer in the dark behind my eyelids. There's more rustling and movement, and I let them know it's still painful. “Grrrr... Any time... Done yet?”
“She said, 'Breathe.' Do it. We're almost finished.” Rick is firm about it, but his voice lets me know he means well.
“We're going to need to put him on the back board, strap him down, and provide some more support for his legs.” Sherry's still thinking ahead to the next steps.
I open my eyes in time to see Rick motioning to the Ops Techs. They fetch the stretcher and lay it down to my left. Rick points to the four corners and each of them moves into the remaining spots. Rick is tall and has reach, so does Tim from Ops; they'll pull me onto the stretcher. Sherry and Kurt will lift and set me. With a quick count they work together and I'm atop the flat surface. It isn't long before they have the straps around my torso so I don't slip off.
Sherry says, “I don't know if he has a neck injury, but I think we should take the precaution, don't you?” Rick avers and they wrap a neck brace around me. Rick also finds a long cushion and places it between my legs, wedging it under the torso harness.
“Let's get him into position for the ambulance to pick him up,” says Rick, and suggests, “We can move him closer to the roll-up door and stage all the stuff that's got to go with him.”
“Before you move him,” Tim, the RadChem Tech says, “I've got to do another survey of him and the area. We don't want any contamination to travel in the ambulance if we can prevent it.”
“Contamination?” I shoot him a glance. “Tim, you gotta be kidding me! Is that crap on me! Is it getting in my wound?”
“Now, take it easy, TJ. We can't do much about it right this second. We can have the folks at the hospital do a thorough decon when you get there. They're only one of two places we'll send you, and the staff at both have been trained to deal with this sort of thing. They'll take good care of you.”
“But, Tim, the contamination!” I'm almost pleading.
“Stop and think about your RadWorker training. This stuff has a low incidence of getting into wounds, plus your body's circulatory system is acting as a natural 'positive pressure' system, pushing it out. Cool your jets, bud.”
“Yeah. Okay. No mutations or extra appendages. Right.”
“You take the ambulance ride and get fixed up; we'll stay here and clean up the mess you made.”
Sherry looks from Tim to me, then at the rest of the crew. “All right, guys, Heave-ho!” She points toward a spot several feet in from the exterior door, they all lift, walk together, and set me down gently.
“Hey, no bumps,” I mumble.
“Okay, I'm calling it,” says the Exercise Director. “This drill is done. Let's gather up our things and meet in the RadChem briefing room upstairs, instead of the TSC like we original planned. We can get this all done here.”
Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and the MERT team members begin to undo the fetters holding me to the stretcher. The site Nurse grins at me as I sit up. “You did that really well. Very believable. How do you feel?”
I stop in mid-motion, trying to get my feet under me. “All that thrashing around and hollering made me a bit light-headed. I think I was coming close to hyperventilating. I'll take it slow and I should be fine in a minute. You think it was okay? I tried to stay 'in character' the whole time. I hope I made it real enough for these folks.”
“Yeah, real enough, TJ. I was about to get upset with you and punch your lights out to keep you quiet.” Rick smirks and I recognize I've done my job.
B4 - Moulage Ruin - 7 Dec 2011
aka Bel - A87832164 Posted Dec 8, 2011
Wow, that was convincing. I hardly dared to breathe!
B4 - Moulage Ruin - 7 Dec 2011
Blue-Eyed BiPedal BookWorm from Betelgeuse (aka B4[insertpunhere]) Posted Dec 8, 2011
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