Friday, February 19, 2010
DANCING W/ DEATH
I'm a little tipsy right now, which seems like the best time 2 write a blog about death.
Imma also tryn write this as quickly as humanly possible with minimal thinking involved cuz i suspect that if I even slightly overthink it, the shit'll come out all crapademic and corny.
Death isn't the tragedy, from where we stand, its the perpetual slow state of constantly dying that really sucks. I'll tryn explain:
I usedta work Transports- that's as opposed to 911. Transports means ur bussing the same sick and dying folks back and forth day in and day out btwn nursing homes, dialysis centers, crappy little apartments, ICU units...watching limbs rot off one by one, mental statuses decrease into total vegetation. THAT shit, is depressing.
It's also the polar opposite of 'Emergency,' which is why most of us got in2 the field, to deal w/ emergencies, right? Right.
We're good w/ the acute: u about having a heartattack? we got nitro to spread those veins open and keep the blood flowing. Not breathing? Here's a tube and some oxygen to keep things moving.
In 911, things move fast. Within a 45 min job, a patient can go from about to die to dead to back alive and kicking to dead again. Or vice versa. And that's when we are most alive, jumping in and out of protocols, stepping back to assess and reassess, checking in w/ each other, staying light on our feet, planning thinking moving working...
What it comes down 2 is this: Trauma lives in the body. They say it again and again in all the books and lectures, but what does that really mean? It means that when your body is all up in that trauma, when you are literally entwined with the heart and lungs of the patient, connecting IVs to veins and plotting exit strategies and busting ass to hospitals, the experience of someone else's effed up situation is completely different than when u are walking by, helplessly witnessing it.
This is why we sleep at night. Because whether the patient makes it thru ok, ends up a vegetable for life or dies completely, we have played our part, added our small piece to the puzzle of their survival, with the knowledge that we do what we do and the rest is in God's hands.