Zettler accompanied a patient in one of the Pontiac ambulances for the slow drive from the train station to the ER. “A single gun shot wound to the right hip got you mummied up like this?” She looked up from the air-evac chart with a smile. The man with the generic hospital pajama-top wiggled his head to a comfortable spot on the pillow and looked up at Zettler. She had taken her wool cape off within the adequately heated Pontiac.
“Are you my very own Nurse?” Marine LT Gotham Schwartz was immobilized from the waist down. His right hip had been shattered and bone grafted with strips of bone from his normal left hip. The immobilization cast started at 2-inches above his belly button and extended to 1-inch above the knees. He apparently was not in great pain or else the vision of Zettler’s angelic face with her large blue eyes, brown hair and heavenly bosom offered a complete diversion and functioned as a pain reliever.
“I’m yours for the 5-minute ride to the Emergency Room, Lieutenant.” Zettler offered her warm smile. “Merry Christmas, soldier.”
“Happy Ho-Ho-Ho to you too Lieutenant.” He returned the light-hearted banter. “Are you married?”
“Not yet soldier. Anyone waiting for your arrival today?” Zettler finished looking at the medication list. “You haven’t taken your malaria pill for this week, LT Schwartz.”
“When?” Schwartz’s question sounded playful.
“I’ll plop that chloroquine malaria tablet in your mouth 1-minute after we hit the ER. How’s that?” She put the chart down.
“No. I mean when are you getting married?”
“Cool it Lieutenant. My job is to get you started on your way to the orthopedic SOQ and get your hip x-rayed.”
“You said not yet. About being married, I mean. Is there someone other than me in your life?”
“As a matter of fact there is and I’ll introduce him to you in the ER.” They both laughed.
The ambulances backed-in to the ER motor entrance and the corpsman from each vehicle ran around the back to open the door.
Zettler put the Navy-issue blanket over Schwartz’s plastered trunk. “Time to ‘rock-and-roll’ as you grunts say.” She jumped off the back of the Pontiac as the ER and ambulance corpsmen got the wheeled adjustable litter positioned. “LT Gotham Quincy Schwartz, U.S. Marines with a hip GSW and 28-days post-op. He’s all yours.” Zettler’s breath steamed in the winter chill. “I’ll see you one more time Lieutenant.” She pointed her ungloved hand to the ER. “In There.” She disappeared through the swinging double doors.
“LT Zettler, do you have the patient lists?” Norman watched the litters being carried in and positioned in each exam room. He looked at the three interns standing by also watching. “Dr. McGraw, you and Dr. Fountain have the four orthopedic patients; Dr. Justis gets the two plastic surgery patients and the burn patient. I’ll work up the neurosurgical post-op. Minnie can I see you in the cast room, please?”
Zettler followed Norman into the cast room with all of its cases of fuzzy Webril and rolls of plaster waiting to be dunked in water for cast applications–and right now totally empty of any staff personnel. “What’s the matte---mmff?” Zettler’s sentence was cut short. She heard the door slam shut. Her arms were pinned to her sides and she couldn’t move from the bear hug entrapment.
“We have to seize the opportunity dear.” Norman had a wide lecherous grin on his face as he released his clutches and his lips from hers.
“Love in the cast room? I guess it’s romantic enough.” She pulled him to her and they embraced slowly and warmly. When they separated she gave him a devilish smile. “Now go back to work, the air-evac bus is due in at 1100.” She opened the cast room door and they both went back to work.
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