Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ask and ye shall receive...

There is dried blood on my boot and shirt. It's brighter on my boot than it is on my shirt. On my shirt it's a dull brown color.

It is not mine.

Today, I asked the Blessed Lady to test me. To see if I was made for this job, to see if I was made of sterner stuff or if I would crumple under the pressure of seeing trauma.

I asked and I received.

I was to be at Base for 5pm. I was early and I was the only one there. I waited for everyone else to arrive, which they did. My instructor asked if I was excited and looking forward to the ride along for Halloween, I was. Scorpio made a comment that he would love to run a Code tonight. People told him to shut up. ...I secretly agreed with him. I thought it would have been fitting in a way, Samhain when the veil is the thinnest and being able to run a Code...

We rode around, to keep an eye out for the children - to make sure they weren't egging houses or having the crap beaten out of them by bullies. I was with the EMS Director while we drove around on the reserve. There were plenty of kids and parents in cars watching them go from house to house.

Around almost 8-ish, we got a call to a house for abdominal pains. We arrived and were met by the Po-po. We thought it to be a bit odd, but didn't really say anything. They mentioned something about getting a call from a mobile phone, but that it kept breaking up. They mentioned something about a gun shot. We mentioned that we didn't get a call about that. The po-po left and we went inside. We introduced ourselves and started taking information and doing our job.
The second crew showed up and took over.

EMS-D and I left and were once again met by the po-po, who informed us where the gun shot scene was. We traveled down a darkened road following the tail lights of the cruiser.

We arrived on scene and there were cops standing around. There were two youth standing at the front of a vehicle, one was smoking, the other was looking else where. As we neared, trauma bag in hand, one of the youth to the back of the vehicle was crying.

EMS-D and I rounded the back of the vehicle and were informed that it was a gun shot. The cops didn't bother attempting CPR or moving the body for us. That was fine, we could do it. EMS-D wanted to take a look at the wound fully, he asked for scissors from his trauma bag. I didn't know where they were, so I handed him mine. I watched him use my fluorescent hot pink scissors to cut away the clothing.

I remember seeing part of the wound and thought, how the hell do you accidently shoot yourself there? I seen the blood before I smelt it, but I knew it would have the strong metallic scent. We had to lift him out of the back of the jeep. On the count of three we did that; he was so limp, not heavy, but noodley.

We got him to the gravel road and almost for a second - one of those long pregnant seconds - all i could do was stare at the amount of blood in the back of the jeep. EMS-D asked me if I knew how to do CPR and all i could think after being snapped out of my moment of gazing was "Dude, you taught it to me." Of course, I told him i could, which he then informed me that I would be doing compressions after he inserted a compitube. I got the required equipment for him. EMS-D's hands were covered in blood and he didn't want to contaminate the rest of his trauma bag. I fetched stuff and prepared it.

Within moments I was doing compressions. They say that whoever does compressions first usually breaks the patient’s ribs first. I guess that would have been me. I didn't feel ribs break, but maybe it's something you don't really feel when you're doing compressions.

The chest lifted with the forced air going into the lungs, which is what you normally want to see. However, when I pressed on his chest to do the compressions, you could hear a wet farting noise. Disgusting, but true. It only helped push blood out of his body.

A few moments later the second crew showed up. They took over and demanded that I come with them, after once more asking if i knew how to do CPR. Which is weird, as they would have seen me doing it when they got on scene.

I got told to do the air bagging. I did that. I remember giving responses of "Yes Sir." to almost everyone who gave me an order. I know I wasn't on auto-pilot because my thoughts were very random and lucid. i thought about the blood on the rig wall and wondering if we got to bring the pressure washer inside to spray it down. I wanted to know if i could use the pressure sprayer, coz it looked fun. I have this weird thing about cleaning some objects. if it's filthy, I love watching it be rinsed away and become clean.

The defib was used on him, an IV was started. Vitals were taken, just in case there was a chance that our efforts brought him back.

I was told by E-man that i had to keep bagging once we stopped and that they wouldn't have time for me to jump down carefully or climb down and that they were going to be going in at a fast pace. My only response was "Yes Sir." I knew I could make the jump from the back of the rig.

The ER nurses took over and I felt in the way, so I went back outside. I tried to tidy up the rig a bit. Putting papers in the trash and sharps in the plastic box. I didn't know what i was suppose to use to wipe the walls down, so i didn't. I had a seat and found that my eye kept going to the blood on the floor.

It was a vivid red on a dull black. It looked like spilled paint. EMS-D joined me in the cleaning process. Told me where the chemicals where and we talked of little things. I talked to him about what had happened and I asked him how I did. He said, "you did okay." I went from working with EMS-D who was doing things in a relaxed pace to the back of the rig where it became a flurry of excitement. I didn't miss a beat, but more or less, stumbled a couple of times. Nothing terrible with that.

EMS-D asked if I wanted to go home, or if I wanted to stay with the night shift. Night shift was Precept-C and Tintin. I ended up staying and we all got coffee. Or as EMS-D said, bribery so I can stay with the night crew.

I asked for this; to be tested. I was tested and I passed. The boy, the 13 year old boy who might or might not have been accidently shot, is still dead.

And after a day or so for reflection, how do I feel now? Proud that I know I'm strong enough to do this work. I'm comfortable with the lack of emotional responses from the cases I worked last night. It doesn't make me a monster, it just means I haven't found the thing that affects me.

I started my New Year by bringing the dead to the other side, as a test of strength. I have set the course for the rest of the year and even now, when I hear a rig scream through the night, I smile.


Purple Dusk said...


Well done. No it doesn't mean you're a monster it means you know you'll be able to keep a proffessional detachment needed for the job. That was some test!

My heart goes out to that young boy and, even more so, his family - it's good they can know you and you collegues did your best for him.

The Holy Dark said...

The thought of my emotional detachment is something i've been wrestling with for a while, especially on the aspect of if it makes me a monster or not.

I found out today, while on break from class, that seeing something like that is something most paramedics can go their whole life without seeing. I was surprised to learn this and then felt almost honored that She would give me such a test.

I would like to know what really happened down that dark road on that night.

The thing is, i don't think that his family will really know us or what we did. Paramedics are a fleeting thought in someone's mind. We aren't the ER nurses or Doctors. We aren't the Officers on the scene detaining the "suspects". Most people still think of us as ambulance drivers... and i long to see that day where we are our own profession. that will make me more than pleased.

Jazmine Rhomyk-Rountree said...

All I can say is that I know I could never do your job- but I'm more than happy someone as strong as you can. May the day never come that I need an ambulance, but if it does, I'd be honoured to have you as my EMS!!!

Purple Dusk said...

You've been Tagged:

Feel free to ignore but......

The Holy Dark said...

Thank you Jaz!
I was talking with my instructor and i asked him if there was anything he couldn't do in the job. he said the one thing that bothered him was babies.
i don't know why. he doesn't have any of his own, but then there just might be one of those things that bothers a person.
i have yet to find mine and i ask goddess everyday that it'll be a long ways down the road. ...long long way.