Oct. 14th: 1000 hours
"How many more do we have out there?" Colonel Potter questioned. He was tired and his feet hurt.
"Four more, sir." A corpsman answered. He was helping to carry in another man to treat. They set him down at a surgeon's empty table.
Doctor Winchester looked at the leg wound and shook his head. "Arterial reconstruction. It looks difficult. Luckily, for this lad, he has me for his surgeon. But what I wouldn't give for a chance to do some elective surgery, again!"
"Well, Charles, if you want some elective surgery done, I'll be happy to remove your ego." The surgeon at the other end of the operating room contributed.
"Pierce, since I can not possibly express myself in the one syllable words that your simple little mind can comprehend, I shall simply say...nothing." The major responded.
"How about everyone saying nothing for awhile?" B J Hunnicutt spoke for the first time. He was frowning over his patient. He had been frowning over this one for some time.
"What's wrong?" Immediately, Hawkeye dropped his caustic routine.
"This kid. He's got enough metal in him to open up his own junk yard. And too many bleeders. I can't tie them off fast enough. Lap sponge." He ordered. His surgical nurse was already holding one out for him and was reaching for another with her other hand.
"I'll be free in a minute, Beej." Hawkeye told him.
"He may not have a minute. He's spilling blood out faster than we can pump it in. Hang another unit of A+. I'm going to have to speed this up. Sarabeth, you start sealing the bleeders on your side." The surgeon decided. "I'll work over here. Margaret, I need another nurse."
"Right away, sir." The major responded. She was working at Major
Winchester's table. She issued her orders. "Parnelli, get that blood hung and assist Doctor Hunnicutt. Goldman, take Thompson's place in pre-op and tell her to report to the OR."
Lieutenant Parnelli, the rover for this OR session, was transferring the blood bottle tubing when Lieutenant MacAllister suddenly called out to her,
"HOLD IT!" Her words rang out as a sharp command in the operating room. "Parnelli, check that blood!"
"It's B+...like he said."
"A+! Parnelli, A+!"
"Oh, God!" Realizing her mistake, the nurse was shaking. "I'm sorry!"
"Just get another unit hung. And we need more clamps and sponges." MacAllister told her. She was too busy to say anything else.
"Parnelli, see me after the OR session is over." Major Houlihan spoke.
"Is the seal broken on the B+?" Colonel Potter asked at the same time.
"Yes, ma'am. No, sir." The nurse replied. Still visibly upset, she brought another unit of blood to the surgeon's table. Parnelli showed it to MacAllister who nodded in approval. She hung the container and removed the other one.
"Don't discard that one." The colonel directed. "We can still use it."
The lieutenant returned the blood to the medical refrigerator. She quickly
brought the supplies needed at Doctor Hunnicutt's table and began to work. Her hands were still trembling.
"Take a deep breath, Monica." Sarabeth MacAllister advised as she continued her suturing. "We need you calm."
Colonel Potter summoned his company clerk. When Klinger showed his head around the edge of the operating room door, Potter said, "Get in touch with HQ, again. Tell them that we're in desperate need of blood. And that we need it now!"
Doctor Pierce requested new gloves as he walked over to where Hunnicutt was working. The surgical nurse moved over for him. "What a mess!" He declared. "I'll work on this side. Sarabeth, you start on that shoulder. See if you can't control some of that bleeding." He ordered as his nurse joined him at B J's side.
"Yes, sir." MacAllister answered. She hooked her stool with her foot, pulled it to her and rested her knee on it. She called to the nurse who was hurrying into the operating room. "Thompson, I need a suture kit."
Corporal Klinger slammed down the phone in disgust. "Stupid idiots!" He told the empty office. He heard the sound of a jeep being parked. Walking outside, he saw the driver looking around as he removed his helmet. Even with the short military cut of his hair, the clerk could see the red color of it. "You have to be a MacAllister." He exclaimed in amazement.
The man grinned as he unfolded himself out of the jeep. "I reckon you're right about that. Colonel Crockett MacAllister." He announced.
Klinger straightened and crisply saluted. "Corporal Max Klinger, sir."
His salute was returned. "Klinger, eh? Sarabeth has written to me about you."
"I hope some of it was good, sir." The company clerk replied nervously. Sarabeth MacAllister had claimed that all of her brothers were tall and big. But she had neglected to mention just how tall and how big. Crockett MacAllister stood 6' 4". With handsome features, broad shoulders, well-developed muscles and a commanding presence, he towered over the other man.
"At ease, Corporal." The colonel told him with a familiar grin. "My little sister thinks highly of you."
Klinger sighed in relief. "I'm glad to hear that, sir. Lieutenant MacAllister's in the OR right now. And, if you'll excuse me, I have to go tell my CO that we still can't get any blood delivered to us."
"Y'all are low on blood?"
"We're practically out of blood! HQ says we've already received our allotment. But we didn't because a mortar hit the supply truck before it arrived here. And so, anyone who isn't actively in the OR, is giving blood. And everyone in camp donated seven days ago."
"Go try HQ, again, Corporal." Colonel MacAllister directed. "But this time, let me talk to them."
The clerk grinned. "Yes, sir! Right this way."
"My brother's here." Lieutenant MacAllister announced in surprise.
"Is he injured?" Captain Pierce asked.
"No, sir. I wonder what he's doing in our neck of the woods."
"...And I want that blood on its way in an hour. One hour. Do you understand me, Captain? Good. Out." Colonel MacAllister disconnected the line.
"OK, Corporal. One more call." He wrote some information on a sheet of paper and gave it to the clerk who obeyed with alacrity.
"It's ringing, sir."
The officer took the phone. "Sterling? MacAllister. I want some volunteers to donate blood. Right. At the 4077th M*A*S*H. On the double. Out."
He handed the receiver back to Klinger. "Keep that number in a safe place. If y'all ever need blood again---I mean really need it---call and ask for me. I'll see that y'all get some."
"Thank you, sir! We have to use a lot of blood around here."
"And now, Corporal," MacAllister grinned, "do you reckon I can see my sister?"
"Good news, Colonel." Klinger announced. "HQ is sending us some more blood...right away!"
"Good job, Corporal! I knew you could make some kind of a horse trade."
"Actually, sir," the corporal confessed, "I had some help from Colonel MacAllister. He's waiting for permission to visit the OR."
"Send him in. I want to meet him."
The visiting colonel exchanged his sidearm for a surgical mask and walked into the surgery area. His entrance caused a stir in the OR. The nurses couldn't keep their eyes off him. They seemed to be having trouble breathing, as well.
Hawkeye Pierce, glancing over his shoulder, paled slightly. Sarabeth caught his attention and winked at him. "Aren't you glad I don't take your passes seriously?" She asked in a low voice that contained laughter.
"I'm also glad I didn't tell you some of my fantasies." He admitted.
"Oh, my!" Major Houlihan whispered to Major Winchester. "They certainly grow them big in Texas!"
"Stop drooling." Winchester whispered back to her. He concentrated on his patient.
"Hello, Colonel MacAllister." Sherman Potter greeted him. "I'm Colonel Potter. Welcome to the 4077th. I understand you're responsible for getting us some more blood. We thank you for that. We were down to squeezing the proverbial turnip."
"Glad I could help, sir."
Colonel Potter made the introductions of his senior officers. "And I believe you already know Lieutenant MacAllister."
"I reckon I have seen her around the ranch a time or two." His accent and the sparkle in his eyes were identical to his sister's.
Sarabeth laughed. "Howdy, big brother."
"Howdy, little sister. I see you're having fun."
"Oh, yes. Up to my elbows in it. Crockett, I'm kinda busy right now. How long can you stay?"
"Overnight. If that's all right with your CO."
"Absolutely." Potter replied. "You can stay in the VIP tent."
"Thank you, sir. I appreciate your hospitality. And, if y'all don't mind, I'd like to observe this OR session for a few minutes."
"Are you sure you won't faint?" Sarabeth asked mischievously.
Her brother roared with laughter. "If I do, I'll be sure to fall on you." He promised.
"Baker, close this for me." Potter directed. He moved away from his table to observe Captain Hunnicutt's operation. "How's it going, boys?"
"We've finally contained the bleeding, Colonel. We're working on repairs, now." The surgeon replied. "How's his pressure?" He asked.
"Still dropping, Doctor." Lieutenant Hernandez, the anesthetist, responded.
"Pump some more blood into him." Hunnicutt directed. "Jeannette, another unit of A+."
The nurse brought over a container and attached it to the IV stand. "A+, sir. And that's the last bottle."
"He's going to need more than that. Colonel, when's that truck coming in?"
"It should be here before 1200 hours."
"That's not soon enough." B J shook his head in frustration. "He needs it now!"
"We can collect his blood, filter it and give it back to him." Hawkeye suggested.
Hunnicutt nodded. "That will have to do."
"Thank you, Colonel Potter, ladies and gentlemen." Colonel MacAllister addressed the operating room staff. "Sarabeth has written to me about all of y'all. It is a pleasure to finally be able to put names with faces. Or with half-faces---above masks, anyway." His grin showed in his eyes.
"The pleasure is all ours, Colonel." Major Houlihan assured him.
"Crockett, I'll be finished in here before too long." Sarabeth informed her brother. "You can wait in my tent, if you like. There's some letters and cookies from home on my desk. And some very fine brandy." Her eyes were sparkling. "But you'll have to find it, first."
"I always have liked treasure hunts." He replied with a laugh.
"Where do you want to go, sir?" Klinger asked the colonel as they left the hospital. "The VIP tent or the lieutenant's quarters?"
"Where are the blood donations taking place?"
"In the Officer's Club. Lieutenant Kellye's in charge of it."
"I want to stop there, first."
A medic, carrying bottles of blood, placed them in the refrigerator and reported to the commanding officer, "That's the last of the camp personnel and the Korean volunteers, sir. Lieutenant Kellye says she'll have another unit of A+ in a few minutes."
"Where did she find another donor? I thought we had tapped everyone."
"Colonel MacAllister. He told Lieutenant Kellye...." Corporal Hounder tried to imitate the Texan's accent, "I reckon I can spare a pint or two."
"Crockett." Sarabeth whispered. Her smile, hidden behind her mask, was affectionate. "You're the treasure."