**REMEMBER THAT YOUR UP AND DOWN ARROW
KEYS WILL SCROLL THE TEXT**
The ice wasnt
working. Norvilles high-pitched stridor filled
the basement with its sound of desperation as his
agitated movementsshoulders flexing, head jerkingresembled
those of a drunk.
Lauren removed the
pack from his neck. The swelling had increased, and
now Norvilles Adams apple edged slightly
left of center.
She looked around at
John Netz, who stood watching helplessly a few feet
away. The ambulance? she asked.
He shook his head.
Can we get a
Trees are blocking
forced herself to breathe deeply. She must not panic.
Okay, have Helen find the sharpest paring knife
in the kitchen. And then pray I dont
have to use it! Have her sterilize it the
best she can. If anybody has a lighter, she can hold
it over the flame. And have her bring me some of those
disposable kitchen gloves from the cabinet below the
kitchen sink. And some towels. Quickly, John, please!
What am I doing?
Even Grant wouldnt try to decompress a neck hematoma.
He would do an emergency intubation to protect the airway
until a surgeon could get there.
But then, Grant didnt
make a habit of practicing medicine in a half-ruined
church basement in the wake of a tornado. All Lauren
knew was that if she didnt alleviate the swelling
soon, Norville would lose his airway. The carbon dioxide
levels in his body would continue to rise until he went
to sleep. Maybe forever.
Lauren had no intubation
She gently placed the
fingers of her right hand against the Adams apple,
then slid them to the right side of his neck, searching
for the carotid artery. There. She felt it. Barely.
She had to avoid that. And stay away from the external
jugular. That would be the most superficial and the
easiest to avoid since it was now so prominent with
still with me?
listen to me. We may not be able to wait for the ambulance,
and I might have to do a procedure on you to ease the
Even as she spoke,
his agitation decreased slightly. His head lolled sideways.
There wasnt time to get him to the hospital even
if the ambulance was on its waywhich it wasnt.
that knife? Lauren called over her shoulder.
the older woman said. Here you go. Be careful;
Good, I need
sharp. Lauren pulled the gloves on, then took
the knife from Helen. Once again, she surveyed her landmarks,
then closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. Lord,
I cant do this!
She felt a hand on
her shoulder and looked up to see Archer hovering over
her. Ill be right here to help; just let
me know what you need.
chest and hold his hands so he cant fight me.
John, I need you to hold his head perfectly still. And
pray, Archer. We need lots of prayer.
She nodded. Norvilles
movements had slowed considerably. She had to do this
She pressed the knife
to Norvilles throat, rechecking her landmarks.
She held her breath and made a short vertical incision.
A little blood dribbled
down his neck, but nothing major. She would have to
back with the car! someone shouted from the doorway.