Wednesday, July 29, 2009

EMS Quote of the Day

Anonymous member of Podunk Rescue Squad:
"If I'd known what a big sonofabitch you was, I wouldna made fun of ya for bein' slow!"

This line was delivered at about 12:45 a.m on a Monday morning as we stood under the sodium lights next to a helipad at the hospital in the county seat where a helicopter had taken off with a little girl a few minutes before. I was the only one without a cigarette. Tension was being released; humor was strained, but laughter was loud. The guys from the Rescue Squad don't generally get a chance to critique my driving, but on that night, they were already on scene performing CPR on a little girl who wasn't quite a year old, so they just continued and carried her out to the bolance and off we went. They had her pink and breathing before we met the ALS unit, and she was crying by the time we reached the waiting helicopter. It was a big win. My crew's time on call had ended at midnight (the call went out at 11:56 by my watch) so we weren't in a big hurry to get home, and we all tacitly agreed that there was time for a smoke and some good-natured observations about wives and police officers and other things. In short, we seized our moment and savored our triumph.

Two days later, that little girl died. I don't know any details, but her condition was chronic and the terrifying episode in the middle of the night two days before had not been unexpected. All I really know is that she's gone for ever and ever. Her name reminds me of stars. None of this made me cry until I wrote this post.


Ambulance Driver said...

You and your crew gave her family that extra couple of hours with her family.

Sometimes, that's all we can do, Don.

And sometimes that's enough.

Brandon said...

The English language doesn't have a word that conveys the meaning behind a silent nod and a sympathetic squeeze on the shoulder, so this is the best I could do. I'm sorry it ended up that way, but you guys still did a good thing.

Larry Correia said...

Damn, Don. That is hard.

But like AD said, you helped give her family a little more time.

Keith said...

You did all you could. Two days isn't much in fifty years, but its a lot in less than a year.

Chip said...

I have been doing this for 31 years, most of the memory of calls have been blurred by time. Except for the children. I can remember the details of each one like it happened yesterday. Everyone knows that this kind of stuff isn't supposed to happen to children, but it does. Over the years my children learned that some times when I come home I just need to hold one of them, real tight. Every day with them is a gift from God. You helped that family have the gift of 2 more days.

Old NFO said...

Don, you did what you could, and they got her back at least one more time... REMEMBER THAT!

Don said...

Thank you, all of you. I'm not going to jump off the roof or anything, though. I just had to let myself unwrap for awhile, squeeze out a few tears, and now I'm good to go. I still feel the feelings, but I'm ready to climb the next hill, you know?

Thank you all again. I know you've all had to deal with similar nights, some of you many times over, so it helps that you know what I'm talking about. And the next kid may live 100 years; it's impossible to know.