Dr. Abby Lockhart
11 January 2009 @ 02:17 am
Abby was good with faces, details, so when she saw the man again she recognized him immediatly and was able to place him. He was the possible asthmatic who had come into the ER on Christmas Eve looking for a friend who was having surgery that day. By the way he was now coughing and rubbing at his sternum as if his chest ached, Abby amended her mental diagnosis to an upper respiratory infection, probably bronchitis—maybe even walking pneumonia. The physician shook her head. She kept hoping he’d come back into the ER for treatment himself but…

Someone elbowed her in the back, sharply. Looking over her shoulder to glare at the soccer mom who had three kids in tow, Abby took the two steps forward in the line, inching closer to the counter. God forbid Yuppie Mommy not get her double decaf half-fat no foam latte STAT. Abby cynically hoped the kid behind the counter screwed up the order, whatever it turned out to be, and then she hoped one of the brats spilled it all over what looked like a very expensive sweater set. She stopped just short of wishing surface area burns to the woman’s chest and abdomen—she was a doctor after all. Do no harm, yadda yadda .

Her attention was back on the man, his cup of coffee. Small. Black. He was putting two sugars in it. Then as he used several thin red stirrers to mix his drink, he turned and looked at her. Smiled. He must be good with faces too. Abby raised a hand in a half-wave and returned his smile. Not everyone in New York was unsociable after all.

Abby Lockhart//ER//280
Current Mood: annoyed
Current Location: A Starbucks in NYC
Dr. Abby Lockhart

ooc: This obviously doesn't count for the TM prompt, but this fanvid pretty much sums it up for you. Loopyallie put this one together.
Current Mood: amused
Dr. Abby Lockhart
15 December 2008 @ 12:48 pm
“I don’t understand it, where are they all coming from?” He was cute, this baby faced intern who was whining at her over a stack of unfinished charts. Cute but not cute enough for her to actually remember his name.

Abby shrugged. “It’s cold, it’s snowing, and it’s almost Christmas. Every homeless person in the city is looking for a meal and someplace warm and or dry to hang out for a few hours. It’s not really rocket science. Then you have the kids out from school and mommy doesn’t know what to do with a sniffle or a cough and the pediatricians all tend to be appointment only so we get those too. Add in every little fender bender, slip on the ice or jostled too hard on the subway litigious idiot looking to get rich quick…and we have a full board, overflowing waiting area and—” she stopped speaking when Cute Intern started rolling his eyes and shuffling through the case rack again, if he wasn’t going to listen she’d save her breath.

“Okay, okay. I get it. ER sucks and I want to change my specialty.” He tried to hand the brunette senior resident a patient complaint about an abscess on her least favorite part of the anatomy to check out and frowned as soon as she handed it back to him.

“Too late, it’s a powerful vortex that sucks you in and there is no escape. I know. I tried. Twice.” If she was going to cherry pick cases, she was going to get the good ones, let intern boy who was becoming less and less cute deal with the GOMERs.

“You give the best pep talks, Dr. Lockhart.” His sunny smile just oozed sarcasm. Abby definitely didn’t like him any more.

“Yeah well…” Oooh, that chart looked interesting, Abby tucked it under her arm and turned to leave the front desk when she caught the eye of a salt and pepper haired man, looking anxious and worrying his hands together.

“Miss? Miss can you help me?” And talking directly to her. Great.

“Waiting room is through there.” Get out of my ER, indeed.

“No, I’m not a patient. I’m here to see a patient. A friend. A buddy of mine. He came in yesterday and was supposed to be having surgery today.” He spoke in short sentences, broken up by fits of wheezing and coughing. Asthmatic, maybe?

“This is the ER. You want Surgical Admit. Try the third floor.” Abby reached for her chart and used it to point the way to the elevators. “And you should stop here on your way out, let someone check out that cough of yours.”

“Thank you, Miss…?”

“It’s Dr. Lockhart.”

“Right. Thanks.”

The man was already heading towards the elevator and Abby wasn’t certain he even heard her and wasn’t just answering on autopilot. Oh well, she did her best, right? She had actual patients waiting—or at least people wanting to be seen by a physician. There were probably quite a few that didn’t actually need to be in the ER and yet guys like Mr. Friend Visitor…

Abby Lockhart//ER//521

ooc: Taking canon events and melding them into AU here.
Dr. Abby Lockhart
11 November 2008 @ 06:27 pm
If you know me, you know that I have no use for organized religion. It creeps me out. It’s weird, kooky. It…comes into conflict with everything that I know as a doctor. I certainly had no proof of a benevolent or merciful God when I was growing up. Back then I actually used to want that, some sort of validation for the things the nuns tried (yeah, tried) to teach me.

I keep my mother’s bible in my locker at the hospital. It was given to her when I was born, it was given to her mother when she was born and so on and so on…I don’t have children, but I have that white leather bound book. I don’t really know why Maggie sent it to me—all right, maybe I do. It was a not so subtle hint that she wants to be a grandmother. Sorry, Mom, not happening.

The point is, I have it. I keep it at work. I keep it locked in a dark, cold, metal locker and it is buried under spare t-shirts, coffee mugs, old paperwork, half-eaten snacks that should really be thrown away. But it’s there. I know where it is and I know why.

I keep it there just in case there is a higher power watching over us, you know, the one I’m supposed to believe in and draw strength from (so says the AA literature that might also be shoved in that locker). If there’s a place that needs that sort of thing, it’s the ER of a huge city filled with violent crimes and unbelievable accidents. I once read somewhere that more people pray in hospital waiting rooms than in churches.

Do I believe God exists? Not really.

Sometimes, I hope I’m wrong.

Abby Lockhart//ER//293
Dr. Abby Lockhart
14 October 2008 @ 03:01 am
The most embarrassing thing I have ever done while sober is talk about the things I have done while drunk. I don’t mean at an AA meeting when it’s one of those days where I share. That’s sort of the point. You’re with your peers and they have, if not the same, but similar experiences and a frame of reference people who aren’t addicts and alcoholics don’t have.

No, it’s when I’ve had to explain to the people close to me that I’m an alcoholic, what that means and how it affects my life on a day-to-day basis. It’s not that I ‘like’ beer or that I ‘miss it because it tastes good.’ (Thanks, Luka for that oh so understanding and enlightening assumption, really.) It’s that I don’t know when to stop. I can’t. You might be able to have a beer or two, a shot of the good stuff, a glass of wine—not me. I don’t know how people can leave half a beer on the table or one more glass in the bottle. I don’t know how to drink vodka in anything smaller than a twelve-ounce tumbler filled with ice.

I have no control and I hate admitting that. I hate admitting that once I start, I physically feel like I need it to function. To function, that’s a joke. I use it to numb myself and to avoid life and its problems. That’s not really functioning. I’m an addict—I crave it. I wake up and want a drink. I pass a liquor store on the way to work and I think about it. A bar on the way home and I really want it. I fall asleep thinking about how a nice smooth shot of whiskey would burn as it slides down my throat. Sometimes, I think of ways to hide it: in a coke can, in a travel coffee mug, if I duck in here or there and carry it with me. Stick it in an empty shampoo bottle so it’s there in the middle of the night when I wake up to pee. How’s that for embarrassing?

It was really embarrassing to have told the one significant person in my life just how low I’ve been because of alcohol: One morning I woke up in this apartment, and I had no idea how I got there, lying next to this guy I didn't even remember meeting and he was going through my stuff looking for money so he and his buddy could get a fix. So I ran out of there and I went downstairs. I tried to get a cab but I had no idea where I was and it was five o'clock in the morning and there were no cars on the street. So I just, I just sat down on the stoop and I waited for something to happen. And at that moment, I'm telling you I knew, I mean I was positive that happiness was something I was never going to find.*

You know what, screw that. Posting this is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done while sober.

Abby Lockhart//ER//393* (not including quote)
Current Mood: ashamed
Dr. Abby Lockhart
The Dark Side does actually have cookies. And cigarettes and the really good coffee, too. Making the transition, finally, from nurse to physician was one of the most challenging and rewarding stumbling blocks in my life. I say stumbling block because it was far from easy. In fact, I almost gave up the idea on more than one occasion. There were times the effort required and the obstacles that had to be cleared were just too much. Back then anyway. I didn’t see things as a challenge to be beaten and overcome; I saw them as excuses to stop. Things became hard and I shut down. It was easier. Little disappointments instead of the feared giant, soul-crushing, ones were easier to get over.

In short, I was an idiot.

She stopped mid-page and picked up the telephone, calling the one professional writer whose opinion and encouragement meant anything to her.

“Cait there is no way the publishing house wants to sell this crap. Who would want to read it? No one cares about the trials and tribulations of a nurse turned doctor and it’s not like I can even include any of the interesting shit…we’d have to market the thing as some sort of sci-fi/fantasy work of fiction.” Abby snorted and pushed her glasses back up on the bridge of her nose after reading back several pages to the woman on the other end of the line. “Stop laughing at me, Caitlin…and tell that niece of yours, no she is not currently my granddaughter after that comment, that I will not be calling it a horror story and including my kitchen mishaps. I’m hanging up the phone now…”

And immediately discounted the conversation on account of grandchild.

In short, I was an idiot.

I like to think I’ve grown wiser and not just older over the years…

Abby Lockhart//ER//306

Caitlin MacEibhir mentioned with mun knowledge if not permission. I steal things and put them back later, usually unharmed.
Current Mood: busy
Current Location: upstate new york, future
Dr. Abby Lockhart
Cop a superior attitude.

Roll eyes.

Purse lips and pout.

Be condescending.

Sign off on chart.

You think I’m kidding; I’m not. I get a lot of difficult patients in the ER, most of them think they know more than I do about medicine or worse: they are the drug seekers who think I’m too stupid to pick up on their little game. Word to the wise, people, I’ve been doing this for years. I’ve seen it all and I’ve heard every last pathetic excuse out there. Very little gets past me. Don’t even try, it’s just wastes my time and yours.

So yes, getting an H&P (that’s history and pathology to those of you not in the field) and doing that initial exam…even explaining test results and possible treatment pretty much boils down to negotiation tactics. Going into a curtained area or exam room with a serious chip on your shoulder helps. My “I’m A Doctor, I Am Smart” face and voice is all it takes sometimes. People see the labcoat and for whatever reason decide I am a veritable fount of perfection and knowledge where the human body is concerned so they take what I say seriously.

Then we have the jerks who either decide that because I have boobs I MUST be a nurse or that I’m just not a “real” doctor. Cue the eye rolling. One of these days I might go find the three hundred year old curmudgeon from Pathology to come down and be the “real” doctor. You know, the guy who hasn’t actually done a rectal since his med student days? I’m sure he’ll be real gentle when looking for the prostate. Enjoy.

Lip pursing and pouting…this tends to be a two way street, only hey, I do this every single day and have for years. I can pout and purse my lips with the best of them, If it was an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medallist. Anyway, pouting when I say you need to stop smoking or that no, you can’t have a script for random new designer drug just because your friend Whoever Blah Blah saw a commercial for it and said you should try it. Doesn’t work that way, sorry. Try again. Or don’t, because I’m still going to tell you no.

Condescension, ah. This is where I get to have fun and put on my ‘I went to medical school for four years’ pants. Sometimes (most of the time) I’ll even pull on my ‘I’ve earned the right to wear this long coat with the big-ass pockets’ jacket and then proceed to explain in excruciating detail why it is that I am right and you are wrong. I’m the doctor. (This makes me sound like I have wonderful bedside manner, doesn’t it? I actually do and I’m nice to most of my patients. Usually. But I swear to God the assholes that piss me off…)

And then I’ve won and am sending them on their merry way with a cab voucher and a script for some generic version of whatever meds they need, you know the affordable ones covered by their craptastic insurance that will actually do the job just as well as whateverthehell Big Pharm is pushing during prime time soaps.

So okay, maybe it isn’t negotiating so much as brow-beating them into a level of acceptable medical care that keeps them healthy and the ER open and somewhat on budget. It’s an imperfect system but we work with what we have. That means imperfect negotiation tactics too. Whatever.

Abby Lockhart//ER//593
Dr. Abby Lockhart
06 September 2008 @ 05:09 pm
You have got to be kidding me.

Abby Lockhart//ER//7
Dr. Abby Lockhart
08 August 2008 @ 07:24 pm
If you could be in the Olympics (summer or winter), what event/sport would you want to do most? Why?


Shut up, I'm serious.

I'm from Minnesota and curling is a sporting event treated with as much intensity and fannish nuttery as any other game.

As for position, I'd want to be the vice-skip. That position comes right in the middle, less pressure. Throws stones five and six, only sweeps for the lead and the second AND gets to advise the skip with regards to strategy. Yes, stop laughing there is strategy involved in curling. It takes skill and it is called chess on ice for a reason.

I hate hecklers.

Oh, and the vice-skip also gets to keep score, do the coin toss to decide who gets to throw the hammer first...hah, see? Terminology you are all wondering about right? Makes it a sport. The hammer is the last stone hurled. We also get to pick which stones our team uses. It's good to be the middle man sometimes. Or, you know, middle woman.

Abby Lockhart, MD would like to be on the US Olympic Curling team. And if you make fun of me, I'll beat you with my broom, you betcha.

Abby Lockhart//ER//185
Current Mood: cold
Dr. Abby Lockhart
One of the first things she learns during her med student rotation in the ER is how to break bad news. To a patient, to their family, even to her superiors. The advice is simple: Be honest, be direct, keep your tone of voice calm and compassionate. Call social services to handle the rest of it.

Easier said than done sometimes. Most of the time. She is the type that hates even calling time of death during a hopeless trauma. There is always something else to try, one more round of high dose epi to administer. A few more volts to crank the paddles. Another fancy trick they can implement. Hang another unit of packed cells. More manual compressions.

And those are the easy cases. Save them or lose them. Case closed.

Try telling parents that their child hasn’t ruptured their appendix but rather, are in the middle of liver failure. And the waitlist for UNOS isn’t going to move fast enough. Explain to adult children that their father’s Alzheimer’s isn’t going to get better, only worse. Inform the diabetic man that he’s going to lose his leg. The anorexic girl that she’s caused herself irreparable heart damage. Tell the pregnant mother of two that she has breast cancer and if she delays treatment she’ll likely die—pursue it and she’ll have to abort the baby she’s carrying.

Those are the times she hates her job. Wants a cigarette. A drink. Maybe fantasizes about working in a tollbooth along an empty stretch of road. Anything but having to be the one to shatter a family, crush someone’s dreams, erase any sense of hope…

It doesn’t get any easier; not the tenth time or the hundredth. Not as an intern or a resident. She doubts it’ll be any better as an attending, the thousandth time. Or the first time she has to explain to a student how to break the news. Sometimes, the only thing she can do is find an empty exam room (or storage closet) and cry.

It’s all any of them can do, she says.

Abby Lockhart//ER//347
Current Mood: contemplative
Dr. Abby Lockhart
26 July 2008 @ 02:47 pm
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.

Read that. Read it again. That is the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath, the one that I and most other physicians practicing medicine today have taken. I could sit here on my high horse, if I had one—I don’t. I could sit here and tell you that these words are sacrosanct and the core of my beliefs and practices as a doctor. They aren’t. We joke about the oath. I’m not the first, won’t be the last, to smirk and say I had my fingers crossed while reciting it. Actually, to be honest, I know several classmates who actually did cross their fingers just to be able to honestly make that claim.

It’s not that the oath is a joke, exactly. We
take it seriously but not for the reasons the general public, all the non-medical laymen might think. Getting to take the oath, stand in a room with several hundred fellow graduating medical students and recite these words, together, in one voice…that’s a right of passage. It’s a mutual experience to mark the culmination of what is essentially a trial by fire.

We did it. We survived. Medical school is a special kind of hell. It’s self-imposed and it’s grueling. The first two years are heavy on the coursework and classroom, labs, research and documentation. The rote memorization never stops. The training of your mind to amass and recall enormous amounts of information, pretty much learn another language—and medical jargon is a language all of its own, trust me. And then comes the practical, hands on experience in your third and fourth years. At least that’s how the system works in the States.

If you get through medical school, and there are those who don’t, you feel triumphant. For about thirty minutes. Just enough time to say the oath, find your pristine, new long lab coat with your name and the ever-cherished MD embroidered on it and admire your pretty new degree.

That triumph fades really fast as you stand around and look at these people you went to med school with. That you slaved through departmental and specialty rotations with. People who know what you look like after thirty-six hours of no sleep. You compare match letters and see who has been accepted where.

Then it hits you.

This was only the first level of Hell. You aren’t done yet, there’s a residency program to be completed. Several more years of slugging it out and mastering your chosen skill set. The real masochists choose fields that also require fellowships. Three layers of Hell, oh, boy!

And you know what? We do it because we love it. There’s an unspoken challenge to be met. Some do it because they just want to help people. Others like the thrill of discovery, the chase and the success of hitting one out of the park—making the save. Then there are people who feel they have something to prove and this is they way they are going to do it. And yes, there are the egomaniacs who want to play God. We all started out in the same place though, in the same raw state.

By the time we’ve gotten to where we can swear the Hippocratic Oath, we’re well on the way to being the sort of physicians we have determined ourselves to be and
, my friends, is what makes it so sacred.

Abby Lockhart//ER//568
Current Mood: accomplished
Dr. Abby Lockhart
22 July 2008 @ 12:52 am
[locked, private, Abby-eyes only]

Discuss an individual who has scared you.

Scared? Try god damned

Every time he walks into a room. Whenever we make eye contact. Each time he touches me. Hearing the sound of his voice. Catching a whiff of his scent.

Every time, I am that close to having my heart stop out of sheer panic.

Do you know why he scares me so much? Some people, the ones that barely know me—that would be most people actually, would say it’s because of what he is. Well, the ones that know what he is, they’d say that. They’re wrong. Okay, fine…it freaked me out when we first met but it didn’t so much as stop me from calling him, making the first move. Getting him to take me to dinner. Obviously, not that scared of him not being exactly human. Not being human at all.

He scares the fuck out of me because he loves me. Me. Abby Lockhart, life-long disappointment and all-around pessimistic asshole. And he loves me. That’s scary on so many levels. He knows who I am. He sees all of my faults, my flaws, defects, deficiencies, imperfections—the man knows I’m a messed up piece of work.

He accepts me. Bad habits, unpleasant quirks, moody attitudes…he doesn’t try to change me. He likes me. He wants to spend time with me. Introduced me to his children. I live with his daughter and she’s fast becoming a real friend. A best friend. That scares me too, but not like he does.

Even more than his loving me, wanting me…the fact that he says I make him happy (Jesus, maybe he’s the fucked up one, I don’t know)…what really gets me?

Is that I love him too. I love him so much that it’s physically painful to think about it too much. He got under my skin, into my blood…just encompasses so much of my life. I always said I would never let that happen.

Ruairí MacEibhir is the most frightening person I will ever know.

Abby Lockhart//ER//332
Current Mood: restless
Dr. Abby Lockhart
I didn’t even tell the man I’m dating when my birthday was until several weeks after the fact. I usually don’t tell people. The ones who know, they pretty much never remember anyway. Who cares? It’s just a day.

Traditionally, a day when lots of shitty things happen so no, I don’t want to ‘celebrate’ it.

Do you really want to know what the perfect January 10th would be for me? That’s easy. No one would mention it’s my birthday—at all. No phone calls, no stupid cards from American Greetings. No too-sweet store-bought birthday cake. No useless presents.

I would like to wake up without the noise of my alarm clock in my ear, have the best cup of coffee ever, read the paper and be able to do the crossword all in one sitting. In ink and without any help, no less, and then…go back to bed until January 11th.

Abby Lockhart//ER//152
Current Location: nyc
Current Mood: calm
Dr. Abby Lockhart
01 June 2008 @ 01:27 pm
Happy anniversary, Abby.

One year. You couldn’t even make this one last twelve months without fucking up.

She picked up the morning’s paper and looked at the date. Snorted. Not like you had a clue this time last year. You didn’t know you were getting married. Surprise!

And this year? Now Luka can be blind-sided since he didn’t seem to even remember what the date was.

First anniversary, what was the traditional gift? Paper?

She rolled the newsprint up and took it with her as she left the apartment.

He was driving her to work. It was on his way to that spectacular new job he had. The one he took without even telling her about it. Mmm…communication. So much for it being key.

She handed him the paper. Told him she got it for him. Let him know that she hadn’t forgotten. Also let him know just what their marriage was currently worth. $1.25.

It was right there in black and white, printed on the corner of the newspaper.

Happy anniversary, Luka.

Abby Lockhart//ER//173
Dr. Abby Lockhart
02 May 2008 @ 12:26 pm
Working overnights is always a bit of a crap shoot at County. Feast or famine: either you are slammed or you have nothing to do but contemplate the soles of your sneakers. Tonight it was a feast of the latter. It was quiet. The board was clear and the only thing Abby had to do was baby sit a ‘rule out appy’ until someone from surgery could come down and take a look.

Sure, she could complete half-filled in, partially summarized charts but at this hour she’s starting to get a bit punchy without the demand of an actual patient present to force her to focus. There is also always the option of crashing for a bit and attempting to get some sleep in the call room. But the gurney is uncomfortable, she hates sleeping with her shoes on and if she actually happens to hit that fabled REM state, she’ll just jinx it and the ER will be slammed with multiple incoming traumas. It’s a corollary to Murphy’s Law. Never fails to disappoint.

Instead, she checks her voice mail one more time and smiles as she listens to his softly accented voice wish her a good night. Even though he’s long been asleep by now, the brunette resident murmurs her own wishes for sweet dreams to his recorded voice. And now she makes her way back to the staff lounge for another cup of stale coffee. It’s lukewarm in the carafe but it will have to do. The dark liquid has already been reheated one time too many and it has that bitter, near-burnt taste to it that makes her wince as she takes one sip and then another.

A flip of her wrist and a glance at the time, she sighs. Only three in the morning; her night is far from over.

Abby Lockhart//ER//302
Current Mood: awake
Dr. Abby Lockhart
30 March 2008 @ 06:46 pm
Eric: It was the disease. I was scared. I was afraid that I was gonna end up like Mom. I didn't want you to see me like that. Like Maggie. I never meant to hurt you. If it wasn't for you, I don't know where I'd be.
Abby: It wasn't your fault, you couldn't help it.
Eric: It's just... you protected me for so long, I felt like I let you down.
Abby: That's not true. That could never be true.
Eric: I just wish, sometimes, I was eight years old again. 'Cause even when things got bad, and they got bad... I knew you'd always be there.
Abby: And I always will be.
Eric: Yeah, but no one's ever there for you. And I turned my back on you, after everything that you did for me and... for Mom. And that was a really crappy thing to do. And I'm sorry.
Abby: You don't have to apologize.
Eric: I do, I want to. I love you, Abby. You deserve a better family.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

It’s been days since Maggie took off, disappeared and has left no sign and made no effort to contact her children. Or at least not Abby. And Eric’s stopped responding to her e-mails, instant messages and keeps letting the phone go to the answering machine. The two have that in common at least: both Wyczenski children can hold a grudge. He’s still pissed off at her and Abby knows it.

Abby also knows that if she doesn’t hear something, anything, from Eric about their mother soon, she’s going to lose her mind from sheer worry. It’s with this at the forefront of her thoughts that she rolls her eyes, purses her lips and tries her brother’s number one more time. She forces herself to take deep, relaxing breaths as she listens to the call connect, ring on the other end of the line.

“Hello?” A woman’s cheerful voice answers.

Abby sits bolt upright on the couch and her eyes widen for the briefest of moments. “Mom?”

“Hi, sweetie! How are you?”

Oh, my God. It’s like nothing’s the matter and she hasn’t done anything worth mentioning. Like nearly giving me a nervous breakdown over the last seven days.
Abby sets her jaw, grinds her teeth before managing a calm tone. “I’m fine, Mom.” A beat. “Can I talk to Eric?”

She can hear the muffled conversation; Maggie must have her hand over the mouthpiece of the receiver. Still, she can make out the annoyed then resistant tones of her brother’s much deeper voice. He protestations aren’t enough to get him out of this and Maggie seems to win their side of the conversation because Eric soon gives Abby a sullen greeting.

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” Is her snappish rejoinder. He might still be aggravated at his sister but now she’s furious with him. “How long has she been home? Is she all right? Where was she? Why the hell didn’t you tell me she was home?”

“Calm down Abs, she’s fine.” He sounds far too complacent for Abby’s tastes.

“Calm down! Calm down! Eric I have been out of my mind with worry about her and she’s been home? Why didn’t you call me?”

“Stop yelling at me. Damn, Abby. It’s no big deal. She didn’t hurt herself or break any laws, destroy any property. She was just outside of town, this little diner. Waiting tables. Living in one of those pay by the week motels. I stopped in there for lunch with one of the guys and there she was. It was almost funny.”

“Sounds hilarious.” She has to force herself to respond with anything other than a tirade of profanity and accusations. Funny? This wasn’t even remotely funny. “Is she back on her meds?”

“This is why I didn’t call you. What are you, the Depakote police?”

“Jesus Christ, Eric—”

“Don’t bring religion into this.”

“Eric, she needs to be medicated. You know that. Do you need me to come down there?” She is all ready mentally making the arrangements.

“No. I don’t need you to come down here. We have doctors in Florida, you know. She’s fine. She’s on her meds. I took her to her doctor as soon as I found her, okay? I’m not stupid. She knows what she did. She’s sorry and she’s embarrassed. You don’t need to show up and make things bad again. Make her feel even worse. Face it, sis, I
handle things. Okay?”

She really is useless to them anymore, isn’t she? Abby’s tempted to slam the phone down, anger shifting from Eric to herself. Some of it. “You
have called.”

“I know. I’m sorry, Abs. There just didn’t seem to be a good time. You’d want answers I didn’t have yet…”

“Call me from now on.”

“Okay.” She can here him exhale. “Abby? If it weren’t for you, watching you handle things for so long, I wouldn’t have known what to do. You know that, right?”

“Yeah, Eric, I know.”

“Mom wants to talk to you…I might have told her you have a boyfriend.”

“You didn’t! Eric Wyczenski!”

“Love you, sis—Hello sweetie,” Oh the change of hands. “So tell me about this man in your life…”


Abby briefly considers using her own phone to smack herself in the head, it’ll be less painful than telling her mother about her life and certainly less painful than the things she wants to do to her brother. After stalling for as long as possible she smiles, takes a deep breath and gently steers Maggie’s question down another avenue, glad to have her mother to talk to…glad that she’s all right this time.

Current Location: Chicago
Current Mood: aggravated
Dr. Abby Lockhart
23 March 2008 @ 10:44 pm
“Pratt, have you seen my patient? Chief complaint a minor skin irritation…he was supposed to be in curtain two…” Abby asked the supervising resident as she leaned against the admit counter.

“Nope. Board’s a mess. Got my own problems to deal with.”

“Gee, thanks. I went to get the cortisone so I could give him an injection and send him on his way. Now I can’t find him.”

“Maybe he heard you say you were gonna stick him.” Barnett, ever so helpful as he slurped on a cup of coffee.

“Ray, not everyone is scared of a little prick.”

“Morris’s girlfriend is.” Ah, Frank. Disgruntled desk clerk at his best.

“Gross, Frank.”

They all stopped bantering with each other when they heard Chuny’s scream coming from Exam 2. The frazzled, stunned, nurse backed out of the room and turned a glaring eye to the group of physicians. “Abby, your rash patient—”

“He wasn’t the guy who came in wearing a trench coat and nothing under it was he?” Ray looked more than a little amused as Abby glowered.

“He was in a gown when I examined him, Ray.”

“Oh yeah, guy’s a total flasher.” Desk clerk from hell, Abby wanted to give Frank the finger.

“Isn’t Morris’s nympho lady in Exam 2…the one with the flu?”

“I thought you said he was in curtain two?” Pratt was trying not to laugh, she could tell.

“I swear I didn’t put those two in the same room.”

“Hey, Lockhart. Looks like now you’ve got an itchy flasher with the flu and a puking nympho with a rash.” Ray at least had the sense to make that his parting shot as he walked away from Abby and in the opposite direction of the exam room in question.

She snatched the second patient’s chart from Morris’s hands at the ginger-haired doctor cluelessly approached, storming off towards the patients as everyone else had a laugh at her expense. “I hate you. All of you. And especially them.”

Current Mood: bitchy
Dr. Abby Lockhart
22 March 2008 @ 09:14 pm
The phone was cradled to her chest as she slept, fingers of her right hand curled around the handset as if worried someone might take the object away. In the pocket of her sweater was the cell phone she always carried; on her hip, the pager. She wasn’t on call at the hospital as some might guess, if they knew what it was that the petite brunette did for a living. She was surrounded by the communication devices for a different reason, one no less urgent to her way of thinking.

She had to be available if Maggie called. If Eric did. The fear of missing a phone call, a message, had kept her from sleeping the last few nights but exhaustion finally set in and she could no longer force herself to stay awake. She compromised with herself, with her neuroses, by settling on the couch. She’d hear any knock on the apartment door from here and she wouldn’t miss a summons by other means either. Nor would she sleep very long, the piece of furniture wasn’t comfortable enough for that.

Current Mood: sleepy
Current Location: livingroom
Dr. Abby Lockhart
03 March 2008 @ 11:30 pm
Magic potion?

One, I really don’t believe in magic potions. I’m a doctor. A hundred years ago they’d probably have considered half of our equipment ‘magic’ and the medicines and vaccines we use ‘potions’. Even today in lesser-developed countries, where they still suffer from diseases we’ve all but wiped out in the States, something like the treatment for TB is magical.

Two, or maybe this is just an extension of one; anything that’s new to you and more advanced than what you know can be seen as magical. Or even something that’s so old it’s been mostly forgotten. There’s a science of some sort behind pretty much everything, just because you or I don’t understand it doesn’t make it any less true.

[locked from anyone not a faery or a witch on Abby’s friend’s list]

And shut up, you. And you. And especially you. I’m including your faery hoo doo garbage in this too. There has to be a deeper explanation for how it works than ‘magic’ that’s a cop out and I don’t buy it, even if I am willing to accept certain um…things you are capable of.


Three, I’ll settle for something that gets the smell of vomit out of my sweater. I do not know what that kid in curtain two ate today, or that old guy in exam one. Or the woman in chairs. But the stuff that came out of that junkie’s mouth in trauma two? I think sewers smell better.
Current Mood: discontent