Tuesday, November 16, 2010

so... it happened

i was asleep in the on-call room, when the trauma pager went off.
it was almost 1 a.m.
i didn't want to wake up, but right when i was getting ready to unintentionally doze off again, it went off a second time.
i got my shoes and white coat on, and ran to the elevator to get to the ED (emergency department).
i walked in and the trauma team was already working on her.
i threw my coat on a rack, got some gloves on and stood watching as they cut her open.
they kept saying something about gun shot wounds, and how there had been an acccident.
i don't want to divulge too much, but needless to say this was way more than i had bargained for when the pager went off... considering that the last time the pager went off, some kid had fallen off his bike.

they were working on her. cutting off her clothes. she was not breathing on her own.
they were trying to cut into her chest to massage her heart... it had stopped beating.
they were trying to save her.

i just stood there.
i had no idea where anything was in the room.
i had no idea how to be helpful.
it was frightening.
finally, the chief resident, being a rad guy, started asking me for stuff off the wall and in cabinets -- stuff that was clearly labeled... so i could help.
thank god for him. he helped me get involved. i needed it.

after about 20 minutes (i honestly have no idea of how much time actually passed... i'm guessing it was about 20 min) they called it.
she was gone.

her eyes were still open.
her body was cold.
there was blood everywhere.
it was one of the saddest things i have ever seen.

all i could think was, "who would do this to this poor woman?"
she could be someone's mother, someone's wife, someone's best friend.
and no one has any idea what has happened to her.
someone's life has changed forever. and it happened here. in front of me.
in just a matter of minutes.

the way i am feeling right now is totally overwhelming me.
all of a sudden, this is all too real.
what i am doing with my life.
this is it.
what we do.
we save people.
and sometimes... we fail.
i hate failing at anything, which is probably adding to why this is so excrutiating... besides the obvious fact that someone has died and the fact that this is a truly horrible thing.

so i sit here.
in the on-call room.
with the disheveled sheets on the bunk-bed behind me.
and blood on my scrubs.
i sit here, after trying to go back to sleep, and finding myself unable to stop weeping.
deciding to type this out.
so you can read it and share it with me.
so i won't feel so alone in this moment.
i sit here with tears streaming down my face.
and all that i feel is consuming me.

fear... terror, is more accurate.
all of it... all that makes me human.
and all i want is not to feel it.
because the rest of the team was stoked that they got to cut into her chest.
and i just wanted to hold her hand. and close her eyes, because she couldn't anymore. and tell her that i'm sorry we couldn't save her. i'm sorry we couldn't do more. because no one else bothered to notice that she was wearing a ring on the ring-finger of her left hand and someone out there just lost someone they love.

this shit is for real.
i seriously hope i can stand it.
because right now i am begging my HP to please help me to hold it together long enough to make it home and maintain some semblance of grace.

if this is too much for you, i'm sorry. because i know it is too much for me.

i knew it would happen someday.
i knew i wouldn't see it coming.
and i knew it would affect me.
and now it has happened.
someone has died. in front of me.
someone i was partially responsible for.
and there was nothing more we could do.
this moment will live with me forever.
that woman has changed me forever.
i'm so sorry it had to happen.
and i will carry this sorrow with me for the rest of my life.

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