In his separate ambulance, Watson began to regain his senses – half as much from the jostling ride and the rest from the scream of the siren. His head hurt and he was hesitant to speak.
Holmes was no longer with him. He wished for his presence. He knew Holmes’ deductive powers could help explain these strange men and the talking box on the dashboard. He also did not like the stream of oxygen pouring into his nose at great velocity from a clear plastic tube.
He studied the tube and followed it to a rather beat up metal cylinder that had a dial on the top with the indicator displaying 4 LpM. The pain in his head increased and he seemed to be having hallucinations. He knew from his medical training that delirium was setting in.
“Mr. Doyle,” said the other uniformed man riding with them. “Can you tell me what you remember?”
Holmes looked straight at the man and stated, “My dear fellow you must have mistaken my identity. Please allow me to introduce myself.” Reaching out to clasp the fireman’s right hand he announced, “My name is Sherlock Holmes. And to tell you the truth Watson and I were climbing the same ladder in the kitchen trying to reach a box of Indian orange tea when the ladder collapsed. That is all I remember.”
Holmes looked at the man with British confidence and with some false
bravado for some approval of his attempt at conversation with the strangely
dressed rescue team.
“Mr. Doyle, do you remember any more? Your doctor friend has a rather significant fracture of his mandible and maybe a serious internal head injury,” the fireman said. “And you have a laceration on the crown of your head about three inches long.”
Holmes stared blankly, thinking. He looked about for clues. Finally he asked, “Where is Dr. Watson?”
The uniformed man reassured him, “You will be reunited with your friend soon.”
Watson remained unusually quiet for the 20 minute bumpy ride to St. Francis hospital. Both ambulances arrived at their destination simultaneously.
Once there they rolled the doctor and the detective out on shiny yellow gurneys marked with the letters STRIKER on the tubular frame that supported their bodies. They went down a brightly lit hallway milling with people dressed in light green, loose fitting shirts
and similar pants – even on the women whose uniforms cinched at the waist with
a white cord.
Occasionally, Sherlock spied a nun but could not recognize the order. He assumed they were Franciscan from their chocolate brown habits. Holmes was not sure he was amused by this parade of strangely dressed medical workers and the odd collection of lighted panels, buttons, dials and sinister appearing equipment.
The room to which they brought him was labeled Triage 1. The doors opened and closed automatically as they rolled him through the entrance. Watson was detoured along their path to Trauma Triage 2. He made a note of it from the view he had rolling by at a speedy clip.
A nurse with gloves, made of rubber but thinner, began to scrub his scalp with warm soapy water while another took his temperature, pulse and respirations and applied a small plastic clip to his index finger and asked him very politely to leave it in place. She explained it gave readout of his oxygen levels while it monitored his pulse.
Holmes nodded. His headache was gnawing at him and was actually getting worse while he processed all of the new things he had so far seen.
The nurse came by and spoke to him as if he were her neighbor: “Don’t worry, Arthur, we have called the surgeon to sew you scalp back together.” She spoke to him reassuringly but firmly.
Holmes addressed her and spoke with a passion. “My name is Sherlock Holmes not Arthur.”
Again the nurse responded calmly, “Of course you are Arthur Doyle. We all are avid fans of your novels. It seems you have had a slight concussion and that can cause symptoms of memory loss. It will all pass with a good rest.”
With that a man dressed in similar green cotton garments approached. Introducing himself, he revealed that he was Dr. Nelson, a general surgeon, and was about to close the laceration in Holmes’ scalp with sutures.
“Just a little pinch” he announced, as he infiltrated the wound edges with Novocain.
Holmes winced at the needle going in and in seconds the searing pain had resolved into coolness.