Three years later.
Chicago hasnt changed much. Who says global warming is a problem?! Its 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 hasnt 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 girls 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 carers 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.
Kates gonna get in trouble! Kates gonna get in trouble!
No Im not! Im not gonna get in trouble, Im not.
Yeah you are! You ran away again and thats not allowed.
I didnt run away! I didnt! I came to visit, and that is allowed because
GIRLS! Stop it!
Ah! Stop. Dont even think about it. Kate, I want a word with you. Mark, you couldnt ?
Sure. Tess, cmon, lets go and play cards in here.
I dont wanna play cards. Cards are boring.
Well, Im sure well find something to play.
But Marks certainty was immediately undermined as EMTs 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?
Well 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
Lets 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? Whats his name?
Gavin? Can you hear me? Nod if you do.
Hes 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
Lets 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 isnt funny young lady. You know you have to stay in day-care. You cannot keep running down here. Am I being understood?
Good. Im sure everyone down here likes to see you but not when they are trying to work.
Ah! Now lets go and find your sister and get out of here.
Whats for supper tonight?
Pot roast. Whered Mark say Tess was? The lounge was it?
Pot roast? We ALWAYS have pot roast. Why cant we have fries?
Tess? There you are. Whats that? Put it down! Cmon were going now.
Okay. Did you shout at Kate?
No, I didnt shout at Kate. Heres your coat lets 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 wouldnt wake the girls.
Carol? You sound quiet. Oh, my gosh, the twins! I am so sorry!
Doesnt matter Elizabeth Carol stifled a yawn.
Im sorry, Ill talk to you tomorrow.
No no, talk to me now. Itd be great to have a conversation that isnt an argument about who broke whose Lego model, or why were having pot roast for supper again.
Elizabeth laughed. Dont worry. But actually Carol, what I have to say is quite, erm, important. I saw someone at Mercy today.
I saw a Mrs. Ross
Carol is silent
Shes ill, conjunctive heart failure, and I wouldnt bring you into this Carol, but her next of kin is one Douglas Ross.
How bad is she?
Well, I cant really say. But I wouldnt give her much more than a couple of months.
There is a short silence.
I dont want to sound rude, Elizabeth, but why are you telling me this? You know Im not in contact with Doug.
I understand that, but the problem is that Mrs. Ross doesnt have her sons phone number or address to contact him since he moved away. And I know you dont talk, but I thought, well, you have his address at least?
Yeah I have his address
Well, thats great then I can
I have his number as well.
Yeah. But Id rather not call. If thats okay.
Oh Carol, of course! I wasnt 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? Whats going on?
Oh god. Kate, what are you doing awake, its very late
I heard a noise, the phone whos 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.
No, really Kate, now isnt a good time. But you can stay down here while I finish up if youre quiet. You dont want to wake your sister up. Elizabeth? Are you still there?
Okay, I found it. Do you want to write this down?
Erm, yes, Ill just get some paper . okay.
(206) 529-4753 Kate, dont, no, give me back the paper
What is this?
Its a phone number can I have it back? Its important Kate, give it back!
Carol? Im going to let you go now, but please say hello to Kate for me!
Thank you so much for this, I know its 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!