A/N –This is the beginning of the sequel to Chuck vs. The Figure Skater. If you haven't read that story I encourage you to do so as it will give you the background as to how our favorite couple got to this point. I'm sure it's possible to enjoy this story without reading the other one as this story has new situations and plots. I also would like to give a shout out to charahkids for being my awesome beta on this story. Thank you for all the help, ideas and suggestions you have made to make this story better. One more thing - I am not a medical professional and since Sarah is a doctor along with Ellie and Devon, this story at times will involve medical situations that do not exist in real life and probably never will. Please remember that this is a work of pure fiction. So, without further ado, here is the first chapter. I don't own Chuck.
July 1, 2017 Newport Beach CA
Sarah Bartowski was having a very pleasant dream. She was lying on a beach on a tropical island in a tiny bikini next to her husband Chuck while he was rubbing suntan lotion on her back. Faintly in the background she heard a disturbing sound that she was wishing would go away. It was soon accompanied with the sound of her name. "Sarah. Sarah. Sweetheart. Sarah."
She groaned and cracked open an eye. The face of her handsome husband looked at her with a thin smile as he was rubbing circles on her bare back. Sarah was lying in her favorite position with her head on Chuck's shoulder and leg draped across his body. Finally registering that she was home in her own bed with the man she loved and not on a tropical island with that same man she managed to mumble "What time is it sweetie?"
Chuck kissed the top of her head and said "5am. You're going to Westside Medical today."
Sarah groaned. "Why did I agree to go there once a week? It's too early and I'm far away from our kids."
"We talked about this. It will be good for your career and it's only one day per week. By going in early you get to leave early and miss some of the traffic. We'll miss you but we'll manage."
Sarah smiled at her husband. "You always know what I need to hear. I love you Chuck. She climbed on top of him so he could feel her naked body on his. They still liked to sleep naked together and kept their robes and something to put on by the side of the bed in case they needed a quick cover up for their four children. Sarah gave Chuck a big kiss on the lips and said "I'm going to jump in the shower. Care to join me?"
Chuck kissed his wife back and gave her a big hug. "I would love nothing more than do that but I better make you some coffee. I don't want you falling asleep at the wheel."
Sarah climbed off him and got out of bed. She gave Chuck a fake pout and headed into the bathroom. Chuck admired his wife's amazing body as she walked wondering how a mother of four could look that good. I'm the luckiest man in the world. He got out of bed, put on his robe and pajama bottoms and went out into the hall.
After checking on their children and seeing that they were asleep, Chuck walked out into the kitchen to make Sarah some coffee and something to eat. He started the coffee and poured some orange juice. Grabbing some eggs, he whipped up a quick cheese omelet for his beautiful wife and popped in some toast.
A few minutes later, a fully dressed Sarah came into the kitchen carrying Lisa. Sarah peeked into her room and found her awake. The other children were still asleep when she kissed them goodbye.
"Look who I found wide awake in her crib?" Sarah kissed her on the cheek as Lisa sleepily rubbed her eyes with the back of her hands.
Chuck smiled at mother and daughter and put Sarah's food on the table for her. He then wrapped his arms around them, giving them a big hug. He took Lisa from Sarah's arms so she could eat and drink her coffee. Chuck also put some extra coffee in a car friendly cup for the road.
"Thank you sweetheart. This omelet is delicious." Sarah said to Chuck.
"I'm glad you like it. What do you have scheduled for today?"
"Mainly a bunch of meetings. You know how much I love those." Sarah said as she rolled her eyes.
Chuck looked down at Lisa who had her head on his shoulder. She had fallen back asleep. "Well, it is your first day there. I'm sure there are some procedures that you need to follow that may be different than you're used to."
Sarah took another bite of her omelet and a sip of coffee. "At least Ellie and Devon will be there to show me the ropes if need be."
Chuck nodded. "I'm going to put Lisa back in bed. I'll be right back." Chuck leaned down so Sarah could kiss her eldest daughter goodbye. Chuck returned a few minutes later when Sarah just finished eating and was putting her dishes in the dishwasher. Chuck wrapped his arms around his wife and started kissing her neck. Sarah shivered slightly at his touch. She reached up with her hand and ruffled his hair before spinning around to face him. She put her lips inches from his. "You had your chance earlier when I took a shower. Now you're going to have to wait until later. "She cocked an eyebrow and smirked. "Unless you want to drive up to LA? Ellie told me they have some very nice supply closets." That brought a chuckle and their lips crashed together for a passionate kiss. Chuck let his hands slide down to squeeze his wife's perfect bottom through the skirt she was wearing. Sarah said with a smirk "Didn't I say you'll have to wait? You don't want to make me late on my first day do you?" Chuck looked coyly at his wife. "I wouldn't dream of making you late on your first day." He gave her the Bartowski eyebrow dance. "I'm just reminding you what you'll get when you come home." Sarah gulped.
Sarah turned and picked up her purse and medical bag. Chuck walked her to her car, a new, black, top-of-the-line Porsche 911 convertible he bought her for their seventh anniversary they celebrated the day before. She loved it. They had also purchased a great big GMC Suburban to carry the entire family and their stuff, but she loved having the sports car for work. Chuck always seemed to know what she wanted and needed. How she loved her man.
Sarah got behind the wheel and since it was a warm sunny summer morning, put down the top. Chuck leaned in and kissed his wife goodbye. "Drive safe." He said.
Sarah smiled and said "I will. I love you. Have fun with our kids."
"I will and I love you too. "
Sarah started the engine, backed out of the driveway and headed down the street. Chuck watched her go before walking back into the house.
Westside Medical Center 7am.
Sarah pulled into the underground doctor's parking lot at Westside Medical Center and parked her car away from all the other cars. After taking her bag and purse she headed toward the entrance. Before she left the parking lot she heard a familiar voice call her name. "Sarah!"
Sarah stopped and turned around, immediately spotting a smiling Ellie walking rapidly toward her. They exchanged hugs. "Hey Ellie. It's great to see you."
"Same here. I trust the traffic wasn't too bad this morning."
"It wasn't bad. It helps to have a husband who makes you breakfast and gets you out the door on time."
Ellie laughed. "That's my brother. Shall we head inside?"
"Lead the way."
Ellie took Sarah to all the places she needed to go for the initial meetings and they then headed into the director of surgery's office. After knocking on the door they were called in. Dr. Richard Roland was a tall distinguished looking man with silver hair and an easy demeanor. He was new to Westside Medical Center having come from the East coast. Devon had told Sarah that he was easy to work for but tough as nails. He also said that she didn't need to worry about getting hit on there because Dr. Roland didn't put up with that kind of thing. What Ellie and Sarah didn't know was that he was a bit of a male chauvinist. He was also very formal.
Dr. Roland stood up and extended his hand. "Dr. Bartowski, I'm so glad you agreed to join our hospital staff, even if it is only one day per week. Dr. Woodcomb, it is good to see you too. I've enjoyed working with your husband."
Sarah smiled and shook his hand. "Thank you Dr. Roland. It's nice to be here."
"I understand that you two know each other?"
"Yes. We're sisters." Ellie replied.
Dr. Roland raised an eyebrow. "I hope you don't mind me saying so, but you don't look that much alike."
Sarah and Ellie chuckled. "What Ellie….I mean Dr. Woodcomb forgot to say is that we're actually sisters-in-law. I'm married to her brother. We're so close that we consider ourselves sisters. "
"Ah, that explains it."
Sarah smiled "She's the reason I'm here."
Dr. Roland smiled. "So we had sort of an inside track."
"You could say that. We also have talked for years about working together on certain types of cases." Ellie said. "This arrangement, along with me going down to UCI once per week will help that."
Dr. Roland nodded. "You have quite a reputation for someone so young, Dr. Bartowski. I have been talking to many of my colleagues at hospitals around the country and your name was on the top of everyone's list of new doctors to have on staff. If you're even half as good as your reputation then I'm sure we'll want you here more than one day per week. Is there any chance of that?"
Sarah shook her head. "Chuck and I love where we live in Newport Beach and want to raise our children there. "
"I understand. Well I asked you both in here for more than a get acquainted visit. Something happened that I would like your opinion on."
"OK. "What is it?"
Dr. Roland took out a copy of the newspaper sports page from a few days ago. It showed a baseball player lying face down on the ground near the pitcher's mound. There was a pool of blood next to his head."
Sarah looked shocked. "What happened?"
"His name is Jason Stryker. He's one of if not the best pitcher in baseball. He was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of George Kingman. Kingman is one of the strongest hitters and Stryker one of the fastest throwers. It was the case of a 100mph fastball being hit very hard by a very strong hitter right back at the pitcher. He didn't even have a chance to move and pitchers don't wear protective headgear."
"What is his status now?"
"He was just brought out of a medically induced coma. He is currently blind in both eyes."
"Where is he now?"
"They just transferred him here yesterday. He's been in Colorado. The family lives here in the LA area. They were told there is no hope for him to regain his sight. Dr. Bartowski, the family has read and heard all about what you have been able to do. They desperately want you to look at him and see what you can do."
"Which room is he in?"
"Room 459. I must tell you that five of the top eye surgeons have looked at him and have all come to the same conclusion that he can't be helped. They even called the world's foremost eye surgeon Dr. Arnaldo. He said that the only person on the face of the earth that could possibly help him is you. I don't know how he knows you and why he would put so much faith in someone so young. And beautiful, he thought. Please Dr. Bartowski, don't give them any false hope."
Sarah stood up. "Do we have his x-rays and CT scans?"
"Yes. They're in the office next door."
"OK. I'll call Chuck and have a look." She took her phone out of her pocket and dialed as she headed out the door.
Dr. Roland was puzzled for a moment and looked at Ellie who had a big smile on her face. "Why would she call her husband at a time like this? Is he a doctor too?"
Ellie looked Dr. Roland in the eye. "My brother is an ice hockey player and computer nerd who graduated at the top of his class from Harvard. You have yet to see the Chuck and Sarah bond at work. It is utterly amazing. No, beyond amazing. Each on their own is something very, very special. But together they are unstoppable. It's like they enter an Alternate Universe. Chuck is the best player in the NHL but when Sarah is at the game he almost always has a hat trick. When Sarah is about to operate or render a diagnosis she talks to Chuck about it first. She always comes up with something that no one, and I mean no one has ever thought of before and it always works. You've heard of all those new techniques and surgeries she's come up with?"
Dr. Roland nodded. If she did them why are none of them named after her.
"Every one of them was developed after Sarah had her Chuck time. If you want to see this amazing young woman at her best then I suggest you never interfere with her and never interrupt her Chuck time."
Dr. Roland just sat there. "OK."
Chuck answered the phone on the second ring. He was giving the twins their bottles. "Hi sweetheart."
"Hi honey. How's it going?"
"I'm just feeding Kate and Landon. Charlie and Lisa are playing a game. Charlie's favorite. You know the one where Charlie builds something with the blocks and Lisa knocks it down? They miss their mommy."
Sarah chuckled. "I miss them too. And their daddy."
"I love you Dr. Bartowski."
"I love you too. But I'll always be Mrs. Bartowski when it comes to you."
Chuck grinned. "I sense something is going on there that needs the Chuck and Sarah touch. What is it sweetheart?"
Sarah filled him in. "How awful. If anyone can figure out something to help him it's you. You are the most wonderful woman in the world. The smartest, most beautiful, sexiest and best wife and mom in the world. You've got this sweetheart. I know it."
Sarah sat behind the desk of the office and closed her eyes to keep her tears from falling onto the papers in front of her. Her husband did it again. He knew exactly what she needed to hear without her even knowing it. "You're the best husband in the world Chuck and the best dad. How did I ever get so lucky to have you?"
"The feeling's mutual babe. Let me put you on speaker so you can say Hi to the kids."
Charlie and Lisa shouted 'Hi mommy!"
Sarah grinned at hearing the voices of her oldest two. "Hi Charlie and Lisa. Are you being good for daddy?"
"Yes ma'am. Even the twins are behaving."
Sarah chuckled. "OK sweeties. I've got to go. I'll call you before I head home."
Chuck took the phone off speaker. "I love you Sarah. Hey, I've got an idea. Why don't you invent Tommy John surgery for the eyes?"
Sarah went dead silent for a minute. Her mind started racing. "Sarah?"
"Oh, sorry. Right here Chuck. That's brilliant!"
"Tommy John surgery for the eyes. I just got an inspiration how to do it."
I'll explain more later. I love you Chuck!"
"I love you too, baby. Bye."
Sarah disconnected the phone and studied the X-rays and CT scans closely. She looked carefully at Stryker's jaw and along the side of his neck. She studied the nerves behind his eyes and the bones around his eye sockets. She paused, deep in thought, picturing in her mind exactly how the operation would work. Sarah pulled out a legal sized pad of paper and started scribbling copious notes. She was so deep in thought that she didn't notice the door open and Ellie and Dr. Roland walk in. They stared silently as they watched Sarah write furiously on her notepad. After a few more minutes she stopped writing, closed her eyes for a moment and sighed. She reviewed in her mind the procedure, grinned and nodded to herself. Thank you sweetie, she said in her mind to Chuck.
Ellie cleared her throat which startled Sarah and she jumped up. "Ellie, Dr. Roland. Sorry, I didn't hear you come in."
Ellie said "Sorry to startle you. You were writing furiously there. Did you come up with something?"
Sarah smiled broadly. "We sure did."
"We?" Dr. Roland asked.
Sarah got a dreamy far off look in her eyes as she thought of her husband.
Ellie, having seen that look from her many times said "Earth to Sarah. Come in Sarah. Stop thinking about my brother and tell us what you came up with."
"That's just it El," Sarah said as she grinned. "It was Chuck's idea."
Now both Dr. Roland and Ellie thought Sarah had lost her mind. "My brother came up with the idea?"
Sarah said "Well, sort of. He made a comment about me inventing Tommy John surgery for the eyes. Then it hit me."
"What did?" Dr. Roland asked, still in a state of disbelief.
"I can use a nerve from a different part of the body like Mr. Stryker's neck and transplant it to stimulate the ocular nerve. It's been successful in the lab. It will work here."
Dr. Roland was shocked. "I told you not to give the family false hope Dr. Bartowski. I'm beginning to wonder if I did the right thing bringing you here."
"Don't get me wrong Dr. Roland. This has never been done before and it's risky if he had sight in one eye. But since he has already lost his sight in both eyes, what have we got to lose? This isn't much different that the procedure I invented to save the sight of the high school student a few years ago, other than replacing a nerve."
Who does she think she is taking credit for Dr. Arnaldo's procedure. "I don't know, Dr. Bartowski."
Ellie spoke up. "What if we ran this by Dr. Arnaldo? Would you be more comfortable with it then?"
Dr. Roland nodded. "That's a good idea Dr. Woodcomb. I'll go get his number."
Sarah stopped him as she pulled out her cell phone. "I've got him on speed dial right here." She punched the number. After a few rings a woman answered. "Sarah! What a nice surprise."
Sarah answered "Hi Mrs. Arnaldo. How are you?"
"I'm doing great. I've told you a hundred times, please call me Maria. Juan Diego hopes you'll be really pleased when you see the next issue of the New England Journal of Medicine."
"Oh. What's that Maria?"
"He's changed the names of all those procedures you invented and perfected to your name instead of his."
Dr. Roland listened intently to the conversation. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. He read and heard all the stories but deep down really didn't believe them. He was starting to wonder if he was wrong.
"That's very nice of Juan Diego. I need to run something by him. Is he available?"
"He's giving a presentation right now, but for you he's always available. Say Hi to Chuck and the kids for me. I'll go get him."
Dr. Roland was shaking his head.
"Will do Maria and thanks."
They heard Maria talking softly in the background. She came back on the phone. "Juan Diego wants to know if he could talk with you over the speaker at the conference. He thinks it would help his students."
Sarah said. "Of course Maria. Anything for Juan Diego."
Dr. Roland was wondering if he underestimated Dr. Sarah Bartowski.
A few moments later they finally heard Juan Diego Arnaldo's voice. "Sarah! What a wonderful surprise."
"It's always great to talk to you Juan Diego. Thank you for finding time to talk to me."
"I have you on the speaker. You are talking to some of Europe's finest ophthalmologists."
"What an honor. Thank you."
Dr. Roland put his face in his hands. Just who is this Dr. Bartowski?
"What is it that you wanted to run by me?"
"Something that's never been done before. I want to make sure I'm not crazy and that this actually will work. Can I send you my notes?"
"Sure Sarah. Send them to my encrypted email ."
Sarah used the scan feature on her phone and sent her notes to Arnaldo. He opened the email.
"Can I put this on the screen for everyone to see?"
"Sure." Sarah said.
A few moments later Sarah's notes were on the screen. Sarah gave the background of the patient and what she discovered on the X-Rays and scans. Juan Diego remembered the patient from his previous consultation.
"Ok Sarah. We've got everything up on the screen. What is it you want my opinion on?"
The auditorium where Arnaldo was located was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Sarah proceeded to run through her notes and ideas for Tommy John surgery for the eyes. Juan Diego stopped her several times to ask questions and get clarification. When she finished, there was dead silence on the phone.
Sarah Bartowski had stunned the world's most famous eye surgeon before but nothing like this. This was the most insightful and incredible eye surgical idea he had ever heard. He was literally left speechless. Finally Sarah said "Dr. Arnaldo, Juan Diego, are you still there?"
"Oh, I'm sorry Sarah. You literally left me without words. That is the greatest idea I've ever heard for saving someone's eyesight. Let me guess – you got it after some Chuck time."
Sarah grinned broadly. "Of course Juan Diego. All my great ideas," she used air quotes with her fingers," come after my Chuck time. So you think it will work?"
"Absolutely. When are you planning on doing the surgery?"
"I have to get permission from the family first."
"Can I assist you on this operation?"
If Dr. Roland wasn't gobsmacked before, he was now. Dr. Juan Diego Arnaldo, the world's foremost eye surgeon just asked a 30 year old brand new doctor, a mother of four no less, to assist on her surgery? He couldn't keep his mouth shut.
"Dr. Arnaldo. It is an honor to speak to you. I am Dr. Richard Roland, the Director of Surgery at Westside Medical where the operation would take place. We would be honored if you would come and perform the surgery."
Ellie looked at Dr. Roland with daggers in her eyes and then over at Sarah. She was surprised at the amused look on her sister's face.
Sarah was having a difficult time keeping a straight face and avoiding an outburst of laughter. She had worked with Juan Diego Arnaldo since she began and was a very close friend from even before medical school. She knew what was going to happen next and it wasn't going to be very pleasant for Dr. Roland.
Juan Diego spoke up. "Dr. Roland is it?"
"Let me tell you a story. I was working with a patient with a severe injury to his right eye. The injury was so severe that I was afraid that he would lose the eye but I thought I could help him. I asked a medical student to assist me on the surgery and outlined the plan. This particular medical student looked me in the eye and said 'I have an idea. Why don't you make the opening incision from the other side? It will require a smaller incision and speed up recovery. You'll have the same access. ' I was stunned. The idea made complete sense and cut the recovery time in half. Have you heard of the Arnaldo –Baker technique?
"The Arnaldo – Kaminski surgery?"
"It is world famous."
"How about the Arnaldo – Thomas surgery?"
"It saved the sight of my friend. Why are you asking me this?"
"Because, Dr. Roland, all of those plus at least a dozen more were developed or invented by none other than Dr., Sarah it makes me so happy to be able to call you that, none other than Dr. Sarah Lisa Bartowski."
Dr. Roland's jaw almost hit the floor.
"You sir don't have the slightest clue as to the jewel of a doctor you have there in your midst. She has assisted me on over 100 surgeries and I've assisted on over fifty of hers. All of those were performed over here in Europe because of your rules in the United States. She is brilliant and if you don't get her up to that ball player and get that surgery scheduled in five minutes, I will call the family and advise them to transfer him to UCI Medical Center where Sarah spends most of her time."
Dr. Roland just sat there in stunned silence while Ellie grinned with pride.
"You told me you are there on Thursdays, correct?"
"Yes, Juan Diego."
"Do you think the patient will be ready by next Thursday?"
"I will have to examine him and will let you know later. But that will probably give us enough time to prepare."
"Great. I will plan on arriving on Tuesday."
"Wonderful. You can stay with us. Please make sure Maria comes with you. She hasn't met the twins yet."
"Sounds great Sarah. Talk to you soon."
Sarah walked up to room 459 in ICU alone. Dr. Roland was intercepted by both Drs. Woodcomb for a chat. Ellie had sent Devon a text about what happened and he was furious. Sarah softly knocked on the door and opened it. The patient was lying on the bed hooked up to several monitors. Sitting on a chair holding Mr. Stryker's hand was a young woman who Sarah presumed was his wife. Also there was an older couple that probably was his parents. Sarah stepped inside. The three visitors looked up.
Sarah walked to the end of the bed and picked up the chart. She looked at the visitors in the room before speaking.
"Hi. I'm Dr. Sarah Bartowski. "
The three visitors looked up, stunned for a moment. "You're Dr. Bartowski? The one recommended by Dr. Arnaldo?" The elder gentleman asked.
Sarah smiled. "The one and the same. Juan Diego and I have known each other since before I started medical school. We've worked together more than 100 times."
The younger woman looked up. "You look familiar to me, but not in the white coat. Have you been on TV?"
Sarah nodded. "I've been in the Winter Olympics, twice."
"OMG! She exclaimed. I'm a big fan. You're the pairs figure skater that won a gold medal, twice."
The older couple recognized her now too. "Wow. We were big fans. So was Jason. Do you still skate?"
Sarah chuckled. She decided to continue talking about this as it seemed to put the family at ease. "Only for fun. Chuck is back playing in the NHL. The chance of us skating together again in competition is very slim. If any of our kids want to skate they will be given every opportunity. We won't push them into it although little Charlie wants to be a hockey player like his dad."
"How many children do you have?"
Sarah looked up and grinned. "Four."
"Four? How did you find time to skate, go to medical school and have four children?"
Sarah laughed. "It sounds impossible doesn't it? It may help to know that our last two are twins. Our oldest turns four in a few months. I just happened to be married to the most wonderful man in the world who is supportive of what I'm doing and will do anything for me and I for him. Let's talk about Mr. Stryker. I have an idea that should work. It's never been done before and I ran it by Dr. Arnaldo a few minutes ago. He thinks it will work too."
The younger woman looked up hopeful. "What do you mean 'work?'
"If all goes right, he will regain his eyesight. "
The young woman gasped and put her hand over her mouth. "The other doctors said nothing could be done. What are you proposing to do?"
Sarah found an empty chair in the room and sat down in front of the family members. "I must caution you again that this has never been done before. I'm not sure if I would even be discussing this with you if he still had sight in one eye. It may not be worth the risk. But since he is sightless in both eyes and has no hope for recovery using standard methods, then this is his best, if not only shot to see again."
Sarah looked at them to make sure they understood. They all nodded for her to continue.
"What I propose is something akin to Tommy John surgery for the eyes." She went on to explain the procedure. "Dr. Arnaldo asked to come and assist me during the surgery."
The family members looked at each other in shock. Finally the man spoke. "No offense Dr. Bartowski, but I'd feel better if Dr. Arnaldo performed the surgery and you assisted."
The door to the room opened and Dr. Roland stepped in carrying a magazine. "Mr. Stryker. Sorry for interrupting but please don't make the same mistake I did for underestimating Dr. Bartowski. I listened in on the telephone call Dr. Bartowski had with Dr. Arnaldo. I even asked Dr. Arnaldo to do what you just said you wanted. Dr. Arnaldo proceeded to give me the nicest but most thorough dressing down I have ever received. The bottom line is that if you want this done, Dr. Bartowski will be performing the surgery or it won't happen. Dr. Arnaldo won't do it first. "
The young woman stood up, looked at her in-laws and spoke. "Dr. Bartowski. I am Jason's wife Amanda and I believe I know what my husband would want. He would want to see again. Please, please do this surgery on my husband. You're our only hope."
Sarah smiled. "Nice little Star Wars reference. It would make my husband happy. I will gladly perform the surgery. Let me examine your husband to be sure but I think we can schedule the surgery for next Thursday."
Dr. Roland smiled and said "We'll get it on the schedule. Oh, you might want to take a look at this."
He handed the magazine to Mr. Stryker. It was an advance copy of the latest New England Journal of Medicine. On the cover was a picture of Dr. Arnaldo and Sarah. The caption below the picture was "Dr. Arnaldo's not so secret weapon." Inside was the article Maria told Sarah about that gives her credit for everything she deserved.
A/N 2 Thank you for reading. Please let me know what you think. I'm planning on posting a new chapter on Friday each week.