Sunday, September 27, 2009
I just got back from a week of working as a paramedic on the 911 trucks in extreme rural Georgia. To say that it was "eye-opening" would be both a cliché and an understatement. I worked hard, pulling some long shifts on sparsely equipped ambulances; treating and transporting patients to distant, austere emergency rooms.
No one particular patient stands out from the dozens and dozens that I treated. I know that two had died despite my best efforts. I'm still struck by the fact that I don't remember them, even though I was there beside them for the second most important day of their lives. I know that I tried, desperately to breath life back into limp bodies, pushing countless medications, electrical shocks, CPR, oxygen. Repeat over and over again, looking for the right bleep on the cardiac monitor or the faintest of pulses. They never came. The end of someone's life is best described as a whisper and not a thunder clap. They go quietly despite your pleas otherwise.