Altered Level Of Consciousness: State Of Mind

AUTHOR: Triggersaurus
SPOILERS: The Storm Part Two
ARCHIVE: help yourself!
DISCLAIMER: John Wells, who art in Burbank, hallowed be thy name. Thy shalt come and I will be done, by Interpol and the FBI in London. Give us this day your holy permission, and forgive me my trespasses, and lead me away from the money but grant me my debts; for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever, Amen.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Ignore everything that happened post-The Storm
SUMMARY: This short series looks at Doug's disappearence and Carol's life three years after the twins are born. This series is finished.

Three years later.

Chicago hasn’t changed much. Who says global warming is a problem?! It’s still the Windy City, still snows every winter, still boiling hot in the summer. It still has the pile-ups, the gang warfare, the kids who swallow dimes. People have changed though. Some have stayed. Some have moved on. John Carter is Chief Resident, pushing to be attending in the Fall. Peter Benton is finishing his Surgical Trauma Fellowship. Elizabeth Corday now works at Mercy Hospital as Chief Of Staff, and married Mark Greene six months ago. Mark Greene is ER Chief and now heralded as one of the top Emergency Medicine physicians in North America. He remains at County General having turned down offers from all parts of the world (including the prestigious New York Bellevue hospital, which has the largest Emergency department on the East Coast). Kerry Weaver is now a lecturer at the University Of Chicago medical school. Luka Kovac returned to Croatia to work with war victims in a government funded rehabilitation centre, and Dave Malucci is chasing down the position of Chief Resident as soon as Dr. Carter vacates it. Haleh remains at County as well, as do Lydia and Malik, although Chuni moved to Florida with her new husband and Yosh was offered a position as Head Nurse at a private clinic in the outer reaches of Chicago.

Carol Hathaway is also still at County, but has taken a step back. Her life is now much more centred around the twin girls, and she holds a contract that only requires her to work four eight-hour shifts per week. Of course, to do this she has sacrificed her title of Head RN, which Haleh now holds and gripes about whenever Carol is in earshot. As for a private life, she takes some dates now and then, she sees people for rarely any longer than a month or two. Some time after the twins were born, Doug stopped calling. Whether it was because he found someone else, or he stopped caring, or because she never answered his calls, no one knows, although Carol suspects it may be a combination of the three. She sends him pictures of the twins, more when they were younger, fewer now. She received a letter from him a year or so ago, and inside were two separate letters addressed to Tess and to Kate. He said in his letter for her not to read them and to leave for the twins when they were old enough to read. She hasn’t touched them, and they lie in a box in her closet. Time has worn away the affects of what happened almost four years ago and it just seems like a bad patch of life that Carol no longer wishes to revisit.

Not that she has much of a chance now – Kate and Tess are three and running riot. Already so many clear personality streaks can be seen in both of them. After her difficult entry into the world, Kate acts as if every day is her last, and is out there to explore the world. She is the stronger of the two and the more mischievous, not that Tess is totally innocent. Although Tess is quieter, she is unfazed by her sister and holds her ground. She is the more verbal of the pair and whilst Kate crawled first, it was Tess who walked before her younger sister. They spend working days in Day-care at County whilst Carol is in the ER. Which was where Carol was headed one Thursday evening to collect them after finishing up downstairs.

She reached Day-care and got the girl’s coats from their respective pegs, also collecting a painting by Kate from underneath the peg. She tiptoed further in, aware of the fact that the younger clients were asleep at this hour and found Tess sitting calmly in one of the carer’s rocking chairs looking at a big picture book. When she saw Carol, she waved brightly, leaping down from the chair and dropping the book, about to run over until she saw Carol putting a finger over her lips and pointing at the cribs next to the chair. Tess stopped and picked up the book quietly, her finger also on her lips now, as a personal reminder to herself to be quiet. Then she tiptoes up to Carol and grabbed her hand, pulling her back out to the cloakroom area, and tugging on her to crouch down to her level so she could talk. After rather a long rambling story, Carol established from Tess that Kate had done it again, and she went to find Sara, the day-care worker in charge.


In the ER, Kate sat on a swivel chair at the main desk and tapped away on the keyboard. Behind her, Mark wiped another name off the admit board, dumped a chart in its holder and sighed as he slumped onto another seat. After rubbing his eyes, he looked over to where Kate sat and wheeled himself over on the chair. He was in the middle of showing her how to type the alphabet when something clamped itself to his left leg and squealed. He looked down to see Tess grinning like an idiot back up at him.

“Kate’s gonna get in trouble! Kate’s gonna get in trouble!”

“No I’m not! I’m not gonna get in trouble, I’m not.”

“Yeah you are! You ran away again and that’s not allowed.”

“I didn’t run away! I didn’t! I came to visit, and that is allowed because…”

“GIRLS! Stop it!”

“But she…”


“Ah! Stop. Don’t even think about it. Kate, I want a word with you. Mark, you couldn’t…?”

“Sure. Tess, c’mon, let’s go and play cards in here.”

“I don’t wanna play cards. Cards are boring.”

“Well, I’m sure we’ll find something to play.”

But Marks’ certainty was immediately undermined as EMT’s crashed through the doors.

“Can we get some help here?”

“Okay, Tess, be a good girl and go into the lounge for a moment?”

“Okay. What happened to him?”

“We’ll talk about that later. Carol?! Tess is in the lounge, I need to take this trauma!”

“Thanks…!” Carol looked up from the admit desk and watched the crowd speed past.


The herd of people swarmed into the trauma room.

“What have we got?”

“19 year old male, took a bullet in the lower left quadrant, no exit wound. Pulse 100, b.p. 60 over 40”

“Let’s get a CBC, lites, cross match blood type”

“You want a lavage kit?”

“Yeah, peritoneal lavage.”

“Pupils reactive and responsive to light”

“Pulse is dropping”

“Sir? Can you hear me? What’s his name?”


“Gavin? Can you hear me? Nod if you do.”

“He’s out. ET tube.”

“Pulse is 56 and falling. BP 60 over 40 still”

“Blood in the peritoneal sac.”

“Okay, we need to get him upstairs, call the OR”

“Let’s go people!”

They moved out into the hallway again, and disappeared into an elevator. Kate watched them go, turning away from Carol.

“Kate! Listen to me! Hey! KATE!”

Kate turned around again.

“This isn’t funny young lady. You know you have to stay in day-care. You cannot keep running down here. Am I being understood?”

“Yes Mommy.”

“Good. I’m sure everyone down here likes to see you but not when they are trying to work.”


“Ah! Now let’s go and find your sister and get out of here.”

“What’s for supper tonight?”

“Pot roast. Where’d Mark say Tess was? The lounge was it?”

“Pot roast? We ALWAYS have pot roast. Why can’t we have fries?”

“Tess? There you are. What’s that? Put it down! C’mon we’re going now.”

“Okay. Did you shout at Kate?”

“No, I didn’t shout at Kate. Here’s your coat…let’s go.”


Much later that night, a train passing woke Carol from her doze on the couch and she started to head upstairs. But her ascent was interrupted by the phone which starting ringing, and ringing loudly in the silent house. She cursed and ran back down the stairs, grabbing the receiver at a stretch so it wouldn’t wake the girls.


“Carol? You sound quiet. Oh, my gosh, the twins! I am so sorry!”

“Doesn’t matter Elizabeth…” Carol stifled a yawn.

“I’m sorry, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“No no, talk to me now. It’d be great to have a conversation that isn’t an argument about who broke whose Lego model, or why we’re having pot roast for supper again.”

“Well, actually…”

“Oh don’t!”

Elizabeth laughed. “Don’t worry. But actually Carol, what I have to say is quite, erm, important. I saw someone at Mercy today.”

“Uh huh?”

“I saw a Mrs. Ross…”

Carol is silent

“…She’s ill, conjunctive heart failure, and I wouldn’t bring you into this Carol, but her next of kin is one Douglas Ross.”

“How bad is she?”

“Well, I can’t really say. But I wouldn’t give her much more than a couple of months.”

“That bad?”


There is a short silence.


“I don’t want to sound rude, Elizabeth, but why are you telling me this? You know I’m not in contact with Doug.”

“I understand that, but the problem is that Mrs. Ross doesn’t have her son’s phone number or address to contact him since he moved away. And I know you don’t talk, but I thought, well, you have his address at least?”

“Yeah…I have his address…”

“Well, that’s great then I can…”

“I have his number as well.”

“You do?”

“Yeah. But I’d rather not call. If that’s okay.”

“Oh Carol, of course! I wasn’t asking you to do that. But I need to call him to notify him of the situation.”

“Sure. I know. You want me to find that number now?”

“Would you mind? That would be awfully…” Carol starts to dig in a drawer of a sideboard, with the telephone cable stretched out across the room.

“Mommy? What’s going on?”

“Oh god. Kate, what are you doing awake, it’s very late…”

“I heard a noise, the phone…who’s on the phone? Can I talk to them?”


“Yeah, hold on one moment Elizabeth…”

“Elizabeth? I want to talk to her! Can I talk to her mommy? Please?”

“Kate, it is far too late for you to be this talkative! You can talk to Elizabeth tomorrow.” Carol pulls out a scrap of paper from the bottom of the drawer.

“Please? Please?”

“No, really Kate, now isn’t a good time. But you can stay down here while I finish up if you’re quiet. You don’t want to wake your sister up. Elizabeth? Are you still there?”

“Still here.”

“Okay, I found it. Do you want to write this down?”

“Erm, yes, I’ll just get some paper…. okay.”

“(206) 529-4753…Kate, don’t, no, give me back the paper…”

“What is this?”

“It’s a phone number…can I have it back? It’s important…Kate, give it back!”

“Carol? I’m going to let you go now, but please say hello to Kate for me!”

“Okay Elizabeth.”

“Thank you so much for this, I know it’s not a particularly comfortable thing…”

“It was no problem. Just send my regards to Mrs Ross for me.”

“I will, I will. See you soon Carol, take care.”

“You too Elizabeth. Bye. Kate! Upstairs, now!”


©Triggersaurus 2000

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