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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 14: Kondor 46
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Previous chapter: Chapter 13: Hastings 48
"That was quite something, Joseph," Doctor Evan said. "Where did you learn to do that?"
It took Kondor a moment to realize what he meant. "Oh, that?" he said. "I knew someone who taught it to me. The idea was that if someone isn't breathing, you give them air, and if their heart stops pumping, you pump it for them. I'd never tried it before–never really had the opportunity–but I'd heard several people say it worked."
"Well, it's quite a trick. I'll have to remember it."
"The breathing part is pretty easy, actually. You have to make sure there's a clear airway, but after that you just have to give the patient slow deep breaths and let it blow out again. The heart pumping is a bit trickier; it really helps to know where things are in the chest, so you can get the heart working without breaking too many bones and such. And of course you only want to do it if the guy's heart has really stopped."
"I've never seen or heard of anything like it. I am impressed."
"I'm sure there are many things which I will learn from you, Evan. This just happened to be one that I knew and you didn't, and it happened to come in quite handy for the situation."
"If I can say something?" It was Walter, on the next table. "Don't get me wrong, I appreciate you pulling me out of the water and all. But my chest is awful sore. What happened?"
"You were dead," Evan said. "Joseph brought you back."
"No! Dead? Really?"
"Yes, really dead. Your heart had stopped, and you weren't breathing. And I've never seen the like in all my years of medicine. By rights, we should be attending your funeral. Instead, you get a few days off to recover here in sickbay, and then go back to work."
"Wow," Walter said. "I guess I really do owe you my life. Thanks, Doc."
"Call me Joe," Kondor said. "I was glad to do it. You remind me of someone I knew a long time ago, and I couldn't let you die without at least getting the chance to meet you." He smiled; then he laughed, and the others laughed with him.
Over the next few days, Kondor spent a little extra time in medical getting to know Walter a bit better. Walter was an ornery patient, insisting that he was fine and should be back at work. The truth was that he was fine, and probably could go back to work. Doc Evan really wasn't certain of the protocols for caring for someone who had just been dead, and wanted to keep him under observation for a few days to make sure he really was all right; and that was ample excuse for Kondor to chat with him. Once Walter was back at work in security, their schedules wouldn't mesh very well. He already missed having friends, someone to "hang with", to "shoot the breeze". It was a gamble, betting that he could be as good a friend with Walter as he had been with Walters, the man for whom he once took the force of a grenade, but it seemed a good one.
He also was something of a celebrity on board. Most of the men were present when he had performed his "miracle", and the few who weren't had heard within the hour. Several crewmen he had not met made a point of introducing themselves to him, and thanking him for "helping the doctor". It became a bit embarrassing. He began repeating, "I happened to be there, I did what I could, and I'm sure the others would have done the same." Perhaps they would not have done the same that time, but the medics were all eager to learn what he knew, and soon he was teaching CPR and rescue technique. It brought back memories of the medical school he had started in Sherwood Forest. He probably changed the world there; he wondered if he would have similar impact here. He thought about his efforts developing antibiotics and other medications there. It would be a lot harder here, on the ship, but perhaps he should consider it.
At Walter's suggestion, he also taught basic lifesaving and CPR to the security team. It was extra work, but the Captain and the doctor gave him time off from kitchen duty to teach, and he enjoyed doing it.
Meanwhile, he made a point of getting them to explain their techniques to him. He excused his ignorance as unfamiliarity with shipboard practice and the tendency of country doctors to rely more on locally available remedies as opposed to imported medicines. Besides, he suggested, it was always good to compare your own experience with that of other professionals. You never knew what they learned that you missed until you did.
He was becoming part of the crew. Whatever reservations they might have had about this stowaway had vanished.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #78: Novel Fears. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: