Aaron continues stable without the Paralyzer through the night and into morning, deeply sedated, and compliant with the Ventilator. Sustainable settings of the Ventilator maintain good oxygen levels. During the day, the givers of his sleep are withheld just enough that he occasionally, without harm, bucks the Ventilator; he is not awake enough to be gagged by the life-giving endotracheal tube through which the Ventilator provides it’s invisible vitality.
His blood pressure vacillates on the low side of normal, and despite the last 2 days of transfusions, his hemoglobin count remains low. There is the nagging suspicion that, in addition to systemic leakage, there may be localized bleeding. A picture of his insides could help assess the damage wrought by the enemy. A damage report is needed; the report requires an elevator ride to the B-level basement, 5 floors below his 4th floor ICU suite.
Late afternoon, an expeditionary force of moving technicians is assembled as Aaron is readied for a trip the CT scanner in the basement. Aaron does not need to leave his wheeled bed for the trip. Some of Aaron’s machines will travel with him, and some will be temporarily replaced with more portable versions. Cables are disconnected from the vitals monitor and the numbers of his life appear on a small portable monitor placed at the foot of his bed. His air mattress is detached from the pump and deflates. The Urinator is disconnected. It will stay behind; for the short trip it is not needed. The IV rack is freed from its location and its life lines to Aaron are organized and somewhat untangled. It will be wheeled along with the bed. The bed is jockeyed into position to go through the door. A slim green cylinder of oxygen is laid on the bed next to Aaron. At the very last moment, his line to the ventilator is detached and connected to a clear, plastic bladder the size of a large football between Aaron and the green tank. Aaron’s life is now in the hands of the Richard, the respiratory technician who rhythmically squeezes the bladder, breathing on behalf of Aaron’s damaged lungs. The flotilla begins to move toward the door.
Just as Aaron’s blood pressure begins to drop.
Tiny Kamala, who is directing the operation with quiet efficiency as she keeps glancing at the portable monitor, watches as the numbers of Aaron’s life quickly ebb. She does not watch long. The expedition is aborted at the doorway. The Constrictor Norepinephrine, at the ready, is administered. Aaron’s vessels obediently constrict, his blood pressure rises. Line by line Aaron is reconnected to his machines.
He regains stability. The rest of the day passes without event.
A damage report is needed. But Aaron is too damaged to get it.
The basement seems like a long ways away.