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"I write what I see, and it comes from the heart." .....Jon C. Randall
I guess we all think we are prepared for death, and can handle it. I have been involved in combat, law enforcement, Boy Scouts...and now as a new EMT.
I lost my first patient today, a 17-year-old boy. We did everything we could do to save him...yet he died in the chopper carrying him in to the hospital due to massive head injuries. And while the chopper was taking him off, I had to attend to another one that we carried in the ambulance to the same hospital. He was more fortunate.
I have seen death before...but not from this side of trying to salvage life from someone dying. You learn a lot in classes to prepare you for this, but...it isn't the same as trying to clean the vomit, blood, and food out of someone's mouth with your finger to try to maintain an airway, while blood is flowing out of his ears, nose, head, and other parts of his body. You yell out for someone to bring you suction...but someone forgot to bring the damn machine when they left the station.
You do your best to stabilize him, getting oxygen to him, and slowly watch him go...having to breath for him with a bag valve mask, at a steady count...just trying to keep him alive. You weigh all the options before you, barking out orders to the first responders assisting you, getting the car jacked up so we could pull him from the vehicle, because his mangled arm lie pinned underneath the wreck...,crawling inside the vehicle to cut the seatbelts that held him fast, while looking at a gathering pool of blood beneath him...his hair and face caked in blood and Colorado dirt and gravel. You think you are prepared...and you have to act on instincts and training.
But it doesn't end there. You check with the nurses at the emergency room, and they tell you he didn't make it...and you go to the room to see his body...the body of a 17 year old that will not see life again. You look at him...and wonder if there were anything else you could have done. But your job is not over...yet.
When the mother of the boy who was alive and who had been driving, asked if his friend was doing all right, I had to look her in the eye, and tell her, that he didn't make it...and tried to comfort her as she cried her guts out in that hospital room while her son was upstairs in x-ray. The compassionate heart of a woman staggers me...and was compounded further with her knowing...that her son had killed another boy.
Then the other family came, and were told of their sons death...all neighbors of mine...that I knew...served...and protected...and watch them cry as well...then watched the two families cry together.
I was asked by the parents of the living boy...to break the news to their son, that his friend did not make it...while they stood around him as I spoke my words to him. Then I knew...he was dying inside as well, for what he did to his friend.
I feel older now...tired...very sad...to see this much grief in so short of time. You think you are prepared, but...are you really?
It is my hope that those with loved ones, families, friends, just reach out to them, and tell then you love them while you can. Enjoy them...as you will. Life is temporal, and very fleeting...and no one is prepared for the grief that lies before them.
© Copyright 1/07/2002 Jon C. Randall
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