Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snow Storm

I present for your consideration a guest post from one of my fellow
EMTs. My friend here came through EMT class with me (with one of the
highest grades and best recommendations, I might add) and in his short tenure of
certification has had some pretty intense experiences. He's one of
those teens that reminds you that this generation is really pretty okay.
More than okay.

Hello everyone! I’d like to start out by thanking the lovely blog host for letting me add a guest story here and there. I hope to interest some of you out there to join your local fire department or ambulance service. Just a little about me, I joined the fire department and ambulance as soon as I was of age and have been loving it ever since, but enough about me, onto the stories that you’ve been waiting for…

Snow Storm
The local weather service had been predicting a heavy snow storm for that night, and for once they got it right, except it all came as ice…The ice and sleet pellets were inches thick. I awoke to my pager’s annoying sound at 2am after being in a deep sleep. Dispatch reported a full arrest at our local apartment building. I didn’t bother getting dressed. I have a firm rule that after 1am if anyone needs my help that badly, they won’t mind me in my pajamas. I carefully made my way to the car attempting not to ice skate down the sidewalk. In the heat of the moment, taking the time to clean off my car didn’t seem like good idea. It did shortly thereafter. It is amazing what adrenaline and a sleepy mind will do to your common sense.

While driving down our main highway to the station I soon figured out that driving on a ice covered road with only a paper-sized port hole to look out of was not a good thing. Fortunately the general public has enough smarts and doesn’t drive too much at 2am on icy roads so it was deserted. I arrived at the ambulance building where a crew who didn’t have to drive was already there, one had decided to stay the night while the other lived next door. I jumped on board and away we went, with the bus occasionally sliding a bit. That experience will open your eyes very quickly.

We arrived onscene with the hospital’s paramedic beating us to the scene. We quickly found out that the building was locked down after a certain time and we were never given a key. The special emergency entrance had been locked as well. Somehow the paramedic had gotten in but we could not, so we radioed the communications center to have the police officer on duty come let us in. Just as he arrived a good citizen inside heard our knocking and let us in. We quickly boarded the tiny elevator and headed upstairs. We navigated the hallways looking for the room until we found it. Once inside we knew there was no help for this poor soul. The paramedic had determined that he could not be resuscitated, and we would have to remain on scene for the funeral home. The man’s wife was inconsolable, as anybody in her situation would have been.

She needed to notify family but was in no state to do so. Being the jacks-of-all-trades that EMT’s are, we began calling her family. We then called her friends who lived in a nearby town to come be with her. This was not a time for her to be alone. Of course, this was during an ice storm, so everything took a bit longer. We kept the woman company while waiting for the funeral home and friends, which would take at least an hour. She began to tell us about her life when she lived in New York City and how things were so much different here. It was actually quite interesting and got her mind off the situation.

After an hour of small talk and thinking to myself, what do I say…what can I possibly say to this woman that holds any significance and will help her cheer up? Unfortunately nothing came to mind. At last the funeral home arrived with Barney Fife and friend. These two were a pair to say the least, but they were there, and I was ready to be going. We quickly placed the body in the bag lifted him onto their stretcher. The friends arrived as we were leaving. After the funeral home completed everything they needed, we were on our way as well, carefully negotiating the slippery curves of town back to the station.

Once home, I hopped into bed and found that I could not get to sleep. The thought of death was on my mind. After dealing with so much death, it finally gets to you and you begin to realize we are all human and death is possible at any minute so we must cherish every moment.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Just being there and holding her hand (either figuratively or literally) and listening to this women was the best thing you could ever have done for her. You didn't have to say anything. You loved her and supported her simply by being there when she needed someone. She'll never forget that. You are a very thoughtful person.