Well, here I go again telling you the same things. If you are not old enough to read this story, then don't. This story is copyrighted and protected. If you copy it, you can't change anything and this warning must be included. You can e-mail me at: - email@example.com. And now, Chapter 9.
I watched the news and finished my drink. Luiz was right. Why ask for something that wasn't there? I turned off the television and set my glass in the sink, turned the lights off and headed for my bedroom. Steven was sleeping soundly as I crawled into bed and cuddled up behind my little angel. I felt a hand reach for my arm and bring it over his chest and belly. I kissed the back of his head and drifted off to sleep.
That morning, I was up second. Luiz was first, as usual. He had a cup of hot coffee sitting by my usual spot at the table. "Morning, sir," Luiz said more chipper than usual.
"What's with you, today?" I asked cautiously.
"What ever do you mean, sir" Luiz replied again.
"What's with this sir, shit," I said.
"What ever do you mean..."
"Now cut that out, Luiz" I shot back. "In the years since I've been an adult, you have never called me sir like that. You know how much I hate that and besides if you must know, I should be saying sir to you."
"Ok, ok, ok," Luiz said. "I didn't mean to start anything. I thought I would have a little fun with you, sort of like the boys do, Miguel"
"Ah," I said, "OK, man, I'm sorry."
"Hey," Luiz said "Don't you need to call your travel agent today?"
"Ssshh." I said. "Not so loud, I want to surprise the boys. I need to confirm the trip from Recife to Rio then to Atlanta then to Norfolk."
"This came in on the fax earlier this morning." Luiz said handing me a paper.
I was reading it when I saw the date, tomorrow afternoon. "Damn," I said looking at Luiz. "We leave tomorrow." Luiz nodded his head and I made sure we had a rental car. I looked and saw we had a large SUV. OK, I thought. That should work. We even have a trip to Williamsburg scheduled. That should make the boys happy and give them something to learn while in America.
I heard the boys running to the bathroom when I hollered "No running!" Just as I said that I heard a loud crash and three boys laughing as they picked themselves up off the floor. When they came into the kitchen, each boy got popped lightly on the butt. "That's for running." I said.
"OK, dad." Ronnie said. "Sorry, it won't happen again."
"I need all your clothes brought in here so Luiz can get them washed." I said to the boys.
"Dad," Jay said, "We don't have many clothes. Just these few pieces here on our bodies."
"Well," I said, trying not to smile. "I guess we need to go shopping, don't we?"
"What for?" Steven asked.
"For our trip tomorrow," I answered.
"Trip? Tomorrow? When? Where?" the boys asking questions all at once.
"We are going to America," I said. "I need to take care of some business. Remember when you were looking on the Internet yesterday?"
"Oh, yeah." Ronnie said, "Cool. Is breakfast ready Uncle Luiz? We gotta eat so we can go with dad."
"Sit," Luiz was saying as he put the food on the table. "Don't eat like a pig. Take your time."
"Yes, sir." the boys said and started to fix their plates.
I had another cup of coffee then went to shave while the boys ate breakfast. I called my travel agent to confirm the flight information. We had chartered a helicopter flight to Rio. We then were on a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta, Georgia. Once through customs, we would be on another Delta flight to Norfolk, Virginia. All told, we would not be in Norfolk until midnight. I was told that I needed to pick this stuff up today.
We went shopping and I got the kids so many new clothes that they were going to put some of the clothes back because they thought it was to expensive. It took a little persuading but I convinced the boys that the clothes were not too expensive. When shopping was finished, we went and got something to eat and then picked up the airline tickets. We arrived home about 3 PM and Luiz was busy helping the boys with their new clothes. Once all the tags were removed, Luiz put them in the wash.
While the laundry was being done, Luiz started fixing dinner. Ronnie asked if he could help again. This kid really loves to cook, maybe he might make a career out of cooking. Luiz did not mind a bit the help, something he was glad to have. When the washer stopped, I went and put the clothes into the dryer. When the clothes dried, I folded and started distributing the clothes back to their rightful owners. I told the boys to set them on the bed and we would pack them in suitcases after dinner. I got my clothes packed while the boys were being washed so things would get done quicker.
Just then, Luiz called us to dinner. Another fine feast of fried chicken with all the trimmings. I had a cup of coffee and was pulled into the boy's room to begin packing. I set one bag aside with a change of clothing for each boy as a carry-on. If the rest were misplaced in transit, the kids had clothes. I could buy more if needed, but was hoping the bags would arrive with us and on time. Packing went remarkably smoothly. The boys knew what they wanted to wear, so the rest was packed. I looked at the time and since it was 7:30 PM, I told the boys to go and get cleaned up. They did so without a fight. When they came out of the bathroom, I had each child stop in front of me to be sure my boys were in fact there. They looked at me as if I had lost my mind but they just shrugged it off and went to their room. At 8:30 a movie came on TV, so we all watched that and then it was bedtime for the boys. All three wanted to sleep in one bed. I thought about that for a minute and said alright as long as they were quiet. I watched the news and at 11:30 I turned the TV off and got myself ready for bed. I checked on the boys before heading to my room and they were all sleeping soundly. This was too easy, I thought to myself. I used the bathroom and crawled into bed, turned out the light and did not fight success.
The alarm buzzed at 8:30 AM. I set it so I would have plenty of time to get the boys fed, dressed and ready to leave on time. What the boys didn't know was the helicopter would be picking us up in the big back yard. Luiz fixed a light breakfast since the helicopter will be here at 11:00 AM. Our flight from Rio left at 1:15 PM and I did not want to miss the flight. I went into the boys' room and woke them. They got dressed and came into the kitchen without any problem. Are these still my kids, I thought to myself? When they got seated at the table, an argument broke out between Ronnie and Jay about who would sit by the window. As soon as I heard that, I said, yep...they're my kids alright.
"Hey," I said. "Enough or you will all ride in the baggage compartment." Instant quiet. They were wondering out loud about how we going to get the Blazer back to the house after the helicopter got us? Was Luiz going? Do we eat on the plane? So I said, "Not to worry, yes and yes." The boys looked confused at that so I finally explained to them that the helicopter would land out back and take us to Rio. They seemed excited at that but all three seemed nervous as well.
Jay tried to talk but instead ended up stammering "Ah, dad. Are you sure about this?"
Then it hit me, Jay and Steven had never been off the ground in anything except a tree. Ronnie had flown from the states to Brazil so he knew what to expect. "Hey guys," I said. "It's alright. Jay, you can stay with me and Ronnie will stay with you, Steven." Steven ran over to Ronnie and grabbed his arm and held on as if he would fall down a mountain if he let go. We all broke out laughing, except Steven.
He started jumping up and down saying "Quit laughing at me! It's not funny!"
I settled things down and said "Steven, if you saw the look on your face, you would have laughed also." He tried to stick his nose in the air but instead his "I'm cute" grin came over his face. "Look, guys," I said. "Flying is fun. Once we are in the air, you will be amazed at the things you will be able to see."
"Dad?" Jay started, "Are we going on a 747?"
"What do you know about a 747?" I asked.
"That It's the second largest passenger air plane. The largest is made by Airbus." jay said without batting an eye.
"Jay, how do you know all this? You are correct, but where did you learn this?"
"Reading, using your computer and stuff I remember from school." Jay said beginning to look at the floor.
"Son," I said. "There is nothing wrong with being smart. You seem to have a love for learning. Please, don't ever stop. I want all you boys to remember one thing, you can't ever get enough education. I have one rule, you boys will get your high school education. If you want to go to college, that's fine also."
Jay started smiling when I said that. This child loved to learn. Steven was young but I knew Jay could rub off on him. Ronnie, I wasn't sure about. I had to figure him out.
Everything was done in the house. Dished washed and put away, lights set on timers and Luiz made one last check to be sure we were not forgetting anything. Just then we heard the helicopter circle overhead and land out back.
The eyes on the boys got big. They were both excited and scared at the same time. Once the rotors stopped, our luggage was loaded and we were seated and strapped in. We lifted off and Steven had his eyes closed and a death grip on Ronnie's hand. I could see Ronnie's hand go from red to pink to white. He pulled his hand away from Steven and began to shake it to get some feeling back. Steven held onto his arm.
After about thirty minutes in the air, Jay started to look out the window and was telling us everything he could see. It was not loud in the cabin. I had flown in one before and was amazed at how quiet this one really was. Steven finally relaxed and the rest of the trip to Rio was otherwise uneventful. We arrived at the airport in Rio 30 minutes before our flight was supposed to leave. Our luggage was checked and our other bags were carried over to the check in area. We were flying first class so we had no problems at the ticket counter or the gate. While I got our boarding passes, Jay was looking at the plane.
"Dad, dad!" Jay was yelling. "Look, a 747."
Sure enough, our plane to Atlanta was a 747. The guy at the ticket counter had a grin on his face and made a comment about Jay and his cute smile. He also stated he could fall for his smile. I whispered into his ear "You make one more crack about my son and you will fall, alright. Right into jail."
Just then, we heard the final boarding call for the flight and we were off to our seats. The seats were large and the way our seats were booked, Luiz had a window and I did likewise. There were two seats tow our left. Since first class was empty except for us, the boys could sit and see everything. Steven went white knuckled again during take-off but during the flight he had a ball. Jay and Ronnie watched a movie, Steven slept, Luiz read and I worked on last minute things for the house.
We had dinner served about 5 or so and the boys were hungry. Our flight was supposed to arrive in Atlanta at 9 PM but we landed at 8:45 due to a tailwind. Once in Atlanta, we headed to Customs. Since we had nothing to declare this was simply a formality. Our flight to Norfolk left at 9:45 PM and was to arrive at 10:30. Everything went like clockwork. We got our bags, I signed the rental car agreement and out the door we went.
I called Phil and had him meet me at the house with the keys. I'm glad I had given him power of attorney for the closing of the sale for the property. We got to the house and I had three sleeping boys in the back of the Lincoln Navigator I rented. We each took a boy into the house and we laid them on the sofas. Phil showed me around and I was impressed at the house and the way his wife had decorated it. He said he had to get back home and I told him I understood. Said we would get together for dinner while here and he was out the door. I looked at the rooms to see whose was whose. Susan had made that easy as well; the names were taped on the door to each room. Each room was decorated like they had asked and I put each boy into their new bed.
I was both awake and exhausted. I found the recliner and put on the local news when Luiz handed me my nightly Bailey's on the rocks. Luiz found his room off the kitchen I looked at his room and I was impressed. Huge bedroom, a sitting room and a good size full bath almost like a mini-apartment. Luiz wanted this room so nobody could make a midnight raid on the kitchen without him knowing.
I went to my room and opened the door. Man, what a room. Huge bed, sunroom and sitting room, two-person shower and two-person whirlpool tub. A big screen TV and the works. I was amazed. Susan earned money for this work. I got undressed and crawled into bed and was out like a light.
I awoke and my body clock was way off. "GOD, I HATE JETLAG" I thought as I staggered into the bathroom. Mistake number one, I turned on the shower before taking a leak. Mistake number two was being nude. Thank god the toilet was close by or there would have been one hell of a mess to clean. I fixed the water temperature and stepped inside the shower. As the water cleared out the cobwebs, I heard Luiz saying something to me. I quickly rinsed the soap off my body and cut off the water. I wrapped a towel around my waist and opened the shower door. "What did you say, Luiz?" I asked.
"You have something here from Children's Hospital," Luiz said handing me a cup of coffee. "I put in on the table in the kitchen, when you are ready to read what's inside. I've also set some clothes out for you."
"Thanks, my friend," I said drying my hair. "Are the boys up yet?"
"Still sleeping, soundly." Luiz replied.
I put on the clothes Luiz had set out for me after quickly scrapping off almost two days growth of beard. Walking into the kitchen, I was taken aback at the size of the room. I knew Luiz would be happy in here. He loved to cook and now he could do anything he wanted. Sitting down at the table, I opened the envelope and an ID badge fell out. Inside the envelope was a letter confirming my privileges at the hospital along with surgical rights. My friend from school had arranged this for me along with a position in his surgical practice. He really wanted me to stay here with the boys and leave Brazil once and for all. I had to think about this because there were so many things that needed to be done in Recife. I picked up the phone and called Paul. He was on his way to the hospital for the day's procedures so thanked him and told him we would chat later. Luiz poured me my second cup of coffee when I heard the toilet flush down the hall. One boy up, I thought.
As Jay walked into the kitchen, he almost slipped on the ceramic tile floor. He got his feet under him and looked around the kitchen with his mouth hanging wide open.
"Watch that first step, son." I said with a smile "It's a doozy. Go put your slippers on."
He went back to his room to get them and I heard the toilet again. A few minutes later, Ronnie came into the kitchen with Jay at his side. Since Ronnie had stayed on his feet, I figured Jay had said something to him. Looking at his feet, I saw slippers and I knew I was correct. Luiz was fixing breakfast when I heard Steven whining as he came into the kitchen. Wearing only white briefs, he came over to me and crawled up on my lap. God, he feels hot, I thought to myself. I let him sit there for a few minutes to see if it was from just waking up or if something could be wrong. I held him for about five minutes and finished my third cup of coffee.
Just then Steven said, "I don't feel good daddy, my tummy hurts."
I picked him up and headed for his room telling him, "It's OK son, daddy's here." I laid him on his bed and had him point to where his stomach was hurting. I was hoping he just had an upset stomach from the trip but the fact he was burning up worried me. Luiz came in with my bag and I pulled out the thermometer and placed it under Steven's tongue. While waiting for it to register, I started thinking of what could be wrong with my son. The digital thermometer's beeping made me leave my thoughts. I took it out and it read 103.4 degrees. I felt Steven stomach and then slid my hands lower towards his abdomen. I gently pushed on his right side and he screamed. I was afraid I had my answer. Steven's appendix was bad and needed to come out.
Luiz came back in the room with the cordless phone and I dialed 911. The operator answered and I said, "This is Dr. Miguel Sanchez. I need an ambulance now. I have a child with a possible ruptured appendix."
The operator asked if the address that was showing on her screen was correct? I replied it was and she said an ambulance was on the way.
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Luiz had Ronnie and Jay get dressed and he waited by the front door. The crew had their gear along with a stretcher. Before they put Steven on it, I had them start an IV on him.
The paramedic replied, "Yes, Dr. Sanchez. Anything else? Something for pain?"
I answered him "Draw two tubes of blood for the lab at Children's Hospital and nothing for pain. I don't want to miss any additional symptoms that the medication might hide."
"Yes, sir." the man said and he lifted Steven gently onto the stretcher. "Are you riding with us doctor?"
"I am," I said. I looked at Ronnie and Jay who were standing in Luiz's arms with tears rolling down their faces. I kissed them both and said, "I know you want to come and you are both worried. I will call you as soon as I know anything. I will have Phil bring you to the hospital as soon as possible. Steven's in good hands. OK?" Both boys nodded and kissed their brother and I as we left. I looked at them as I climbed into the back of the ambulance and they waved bye as the door closed.
We took off with the lights flashing and siren wailing. The paramedic was talking to the hospital when he handed me the headset. He showed me how to use this and I said "Dr. Sanchez, here."
I filled the hospital in on the case and asked then to have Paul standing-by if surgery was needed. I was told that they would take care of that and I put the paramedic back on the radio. I took us 15 minutes to arrive at the hospital. We went into an open room and a nurse followed us in. The paramedic handed her the blood.
She looked at him and said, "What is this for?"
I spoke and said "Complete Blood Count, STAT." The nurse saw my physician's ID tag hanging on my shirt pocket and nodded her head as she went out the door.
The ambulance crew lifted Steven off the stretcher and set him on the bed in the room. The paramedic put his hand on my shoulder and said "Good luck with your son, doctor."
I thanked him and said they had both done a very fine job. Just then, the emergency room physician came in and picked up the chart.
"Dr. Sanchez, I'm Dr. Williams, emergency medicine," he said. The blood is in the lab and we should have the results shortly. Dr. Paul Combs is in surgery and will be tied up for another four hours. If the lad's appendix needs to come out, who would you like to operate?"
"Who is you next pediatric general surgeon on call?" I asked.
"Dr. Combs' group." he replied.
I thought to myself, I'm the group. I'm his partner. I looked at the doctor and said, "That's me. I am Dr. Combs' partner."
"I see," Dr. Williams answered thinking about what to do now. "Paul gave me a phone number here to call in an emergency, and I guess this counts."
"Can I see that number, doctor?" I asked.
He handed me the paper and I took a look. My eyes got big when I read the phone number. "Ah, Doctor Williams," I said. "The phone number here. It's my number. Paul gave you my new phone number. I spoke to him earlier and he knew I was free so it looks like he stuck me right in the middle of this mess." Just then Steven started to scream. I turned to him and felt his body. "I need a temperature, NOW!" I said. A nurse came in and held the probe under Steven's tongue. There was another nurse standing there and I said "Nurse, bring me 25 mg of Demerol, IM, NOW, please."
The staff moved when Dr. Williams told them I was Paul's partner. The hospital does everything needed when a attending physician (A doctor in private practice. He brings business to the hospital and without them, the hospital could not function) gives an order.
Steven temperature was 104.5 "Where are those lab results?" I hollered just as the other nurse brought me the medicine for Steven. I rolled him on his side and had the nurse hold him. "Steven, don't move." as I stuck the needle in his little butt. I pushed the plunger and he wailed.
"Daddy!" Steven cried "That hurts, stop. PLEASE."
I pulled the needle out and the nurse rubbed the site where he just got stuck to ease the pain. "Sorry, son." I said brushing the tears from his eyes. "It was the medicine. There wasn't anything I could do so it would not hurt. Next time I'll give it to you in this tubing. That should help the pain in you tummy."
Someone came in and handed me a piece of paper. I looked at the numbers and started shaking my head. I saw Dr. Williams walk by and I called to him. He stopped and stuck his head in the door. I said to him "Book me an OR." (Operating room)
Dr. Williams nodded his head and I started writing orders on Steven chart. I had the nurse strip Steven nude and put cool wet towels on his body to lower his fever. I wanted his temperature no higher than 101.5 when I opened him up. I picked up the phone and called the pharmacy and ordered 500 mg of the antibiotic Keflex. The pharmacist said it would be down as soon as he got it mixed.
The nurse who was rubbing Steven's butt came over and said, "Dr. Sanchez, go sit and have a cup of coffee. As soon as the antibiotic comes down, I'll hang it. That nurse there, that's my sister. One of us will be here with him at all times until he is ready to go up to the OR. You're a good doctor and there is no need to say you're sorry for barking orders. This is also a trauma center, I'm used to people shouting here." I looked at her quietly and she said, "GO."
I went and found the doctor's lounge. Dr. Williams handed me a white lab coat to put on. Someone else handed me a cup of coffee. I looked at my watch. 1:30 PM, I had been there over two hours. I picked up the phone and called the house. I filled Luiz in on Steven. He told me that Phil was coming over and bringing the boys to the hospital. Luiz said because he didn't know the area he'd stay at home. I gave him all the relevant names that knew about Steven so he could ask for one of them to let him know what was the situation concerning Steven.
I had the nurse monitor Steven heart considering his fever. I did not want his heart to shut down if the fever went higher. She came in and informed me that the OR was ready and Stevens fever was down to 102 degrees. I shook my head and said OK and gave the order to have Steven taken up for surgery.
I headed to the surgeon's room to change into scrubs. I put my top on and was heading to scrub my hands when I heard "CODE BLUE, HEART ATTACK, OPORATING ROOM 2, STAT! CODE BLUE, O.R. 2, and STAT!
I grabbed some sterile gloves and headed in the room yelling "STEVEN"
Cliffhanger time. What happens to Steven? Can Miguel and the other doctors get the boy's heart started? Find out in Chapter 10.