Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Enough Rope

I'd been on a call in the middle of the night, I don't even remember what it was, but we were still at the house doing paperwork.

Earlier in the night another department had been called to 'stand by at your the center for details'. That usually means either 1) There is a situation where someone is possibly dead or 2) There is a situation that is unsafe and the EMTs can't go until the police clear it.

In this case, it was an attempted suicide. A woman had tried to hang herself from a tree. The rope broke, and someone found her. Not dead, but unresponsive. She came to the hospital. They worked on her awhile and decided to fly her to another hospital, so they could have a go.

The helipad is a mile or so from the firehouse. When a helicopter lands we have an engine standing by, in case something happens. When the call came with their ETA we suited up in turnouts and went.

As the truck sped up the hill I looked the dark, still surface of the lake gliding by below. I wondered what it was like to decide to die. And I wondered how this woman will feel when and if she wakes up,to discover that things didn't turn out like she hoped. Will she be angry? Relieved?

It seems strange to me to bear witness to struggles like these. Hours of training and they don't tell you, hey, you'll sit up in the middle of the night staring at the stars waiting and watching for the calvary to come, for an attempt at saving, for someone who didn't want to be saved.

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