15 January 2011

Audio

The dull thud, the distant crack of a bone, the visceral scream it produced. The subsequent sharp intakes of breath, the crunch of the snow beneath concerned boots as they jog toward him.
After enjoying a hunt in the the snow muted forest, now laying on its floor, the reassurances of his friends break through fog of pain. In the distance, sirens began to travel through the trees.
With the roar of the four wheel drive and the squeak of a struggling suspension, help arrives in the back of a truck. Radio chatter and loud questions were followed by his resignation to be treated.
The snip of shears through his jeans as they progressed to the wound, the low 'ooh,' emitted when they got there. A few more explanations, clicks of backboard straps, and the bouncing suspension was back, all eventually drowned out by the dull whir of helicopter blades.

13 January 2011

Book Cover

Before I got there, I chalked this sick person call at 2am up to relative nonesnese. And when we got there, my suspicians were initially confirmed when we found a hyperventilating woman who had...Okay, I'll stop. It's hard to describe how I think come calls are just not up to par. However I describe it on paper sounds absolutely awful, so I won't bother. And in this case, my initial feelings may have been based on my increased standards for a reasonable reason to call 911 after midnight than in daylight hours.
But in this case, despite my preexisting notions, as I looked a little closer, this patient was ashen, sweaty, and complainig of chest pain. She was clutching her chest so tightly that the cotton of her shirt was crushed into the shape of her fist. The sharp wrinkles lingered after she released her hand.
We got her into the ambulance and a quick 12 lead later we were on our way to the nearest interventional cath lab. The call went really well, and the patient ended up having a 45 minute door to balloon time. In a snowstorm!

10 January 2011

Maybe it's a British Thing Pt. 10

I was happy to end on part 9, but the other day, a thought popped into my head, and my last Coventry story begged to be told. On to an even 10!
My last British stereotype/perhaps actual real trait, is that of emotion. Or, the lack thereof. Good old 'stiff upper lip' and all that. Don't get panicked, or sad, or worried; wash it all down to an unreachable place with a cup of tea. Now, that sounds harsh! Everyone I met seemed perfectly normal, well adjusted, and happy to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Well, mostly. I think a lot of people are like me and play their emotions very close to the chest. Can't fault them for that.
The one time I felt the stiff upper lip attitude was when I found myself crying in public. Again.
After an amazing going away party hosted by the best friends I could have shared this whole experience with, I found myself faced with my last day in Coventry. It was much like any last day of higher education, strange, emotional, and difficult. Packing everything up and obsessing over the weight of my suitcases and backpack, cleaning the room, and handing in my key before I caught the train to London. For the first time, I felt an actual shift in my being when I handed in those keys. It was the first time I was keenly aware of being without any. I was not only then without home or vehicle, but for a moment, I felt naked and nervous, and at the same time, oh so free.
But, I digress. We went out to lunch and then everyone walked me to the train station to wave me off. It was quite emotional and although I am quite stoic, it was not without tears (which I think pleased them greatly, in a way).
I reluctantly boarded the train and stood in the doorway waving madly and shouting last good-byes to the sad and encouraging faces before me. Oh, and crying. In fact, probably drawing more attention to myself than I ever normally would. But, to be fair, two 50lb suitcases will do that, even to a non-crying person.
When the train doors finally shut, separating me from my farewell party, the silence was absolute in that car. It engulfed me as I felt pairs of eyes appraising me from over newspapers and ipods. The car was quite unfortunately far from empty and I scrambled to find a seat to hide from the other passengers who were now faced with an openly crying individual. The relative safety of my seat didn't help really as I silently wept half way to London- I just couldn't help it. With every calming broken breath or sniffle I felt the discomfort of everyone in the car in their loud page turning or throat clearing.

Okay, so maybe this isn't the greatest example. I think anyone would have been staring at the American making an idiot of herself, not just British people. On top of that I don't have a really good comparison story, as I am trying to cut down on my public crying these days.
Although, when I left for England 50 weeks earlier, crying, of course, and walking to the security line, one of the usually stony faced TSA guys asked if I was alright. "It's going to be a long trip," I replied.