Sunday, March 30, 2014
I had my evening interrupted by my pager, a cry for help from a lonely, depressed man with art supplies scattered about his isolated home. There was quite a bit of blood, honestly more than I have seen before, although it was not a life threatening amount. I am touched deeply by situations such as these, knowing that he must have been in deep emotional pain to have inflicted so many wounds on his body. I've found that on scene I may not be the most knowledgeable, or even the most helpful, but one thing I am good at is being kind to patients. The compassion and empathy I feel for people in tough situations runs through me like my own blood, warm and vital. Helping a patient onto a gurney, careful to prevent further pain, cradling their head to prevent them hitting it on the railing, lowering it gently onto the pillow. Covering them to keep them warm, and to help protect their dignity. Even holding their hand while they vomit. Yes, I've done that, too. It is what makes me most useful at the scene, I think. Last night there was a deputy who asked me to ask the ambulance driver to hold up for a moment so he could find some clothing for the patient to take with him. He had been stripped down to what we call "trauma naked," in order to fully assess and appropriately treat his wounds, of which there were many. In passing, I told the deputy, "You are very kind," he thanked me, the other deputies had teased him a little, good naturedly, but teased him none the less. But to me it was a very compassionate act, one the deputy did not have to do. It is the little things I see in life that have the most impact sometimes. My life has certainly changed in the last 2 years. It is amazing what can happen when you decide to free yourself from the weight of others' inability to move forward, stop letting your life be tied down by what is instead of what could be, and go off in pursuit of your own dreams. Two years ago I never could have imagined I would be here and now.