Busy, busy!

It's been so crazy around here. Always working, schooling, volunteering, or...well, there's no good one-word gerund for it, but...hanging out with people. I have stories to write, and no time to write them! Hopefully tomorrow I'll have enough time to sit down and type out some thoughts. We'll see though; thanks for sticking with me.

Go check out Normal Sinus if you have the chance. We're finally up and rolling again; we had a little bit of a lapse in posting because of the fact that the world much prefers to keep us all busy than entertained :( But luckily, Epi has been kind enough to take on posting!

Oh, and when your significant other makes eyes at you from across the ER while holding fat flaps for a doc doing a central line, you know they're good for you. Either that or you're both totally dorky. Okay, maybe both.

Take care out there,



I remember the first time I saw a dead body that I knew to be truly dead. I had seen my grandmother right after she died when I was five, but for some reason, I was pretty sure that she wasn't really dead; she was just tricking us all.

But when I was 14 years old, I had the opportunity to go to the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Houston, Texas. I was all about medicine. Either I was going to be a pediatric radiation oncologist, or a forensic scientist. I quickly realized that being a pediatric radiation oncologist wouldn't help me bring back the two I couldn't save, so I moved onto the goal of forensic science.

"Pick a field visit," our group leader said showing us the list of places we could go. M.D. Anderson and The Texas Heart Institute were just two of the places--big names. Everyone wanted to go to those and didn't care so much about the little hospitals or doctors' offices. One name leaped off the page to me. "Harris County Medical Examiner's Office," I read softly.

"You wanna go there," the leader asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh yeah, definitely, I want to be a forensic scientist."
"Alright. Anyone want to go with Sam to the coroner's office?" She looked around, and everyone stared at their feet.
"Guess it's just me," I sighed.

A few others from different groups decided to go, so there was a group of about seven of us. I was excited and nervous, not knowing what we'd see. We spent some time handling plasticized organs and learning about different diseases that they often saw in their office. We took our lunch break, and knew what was going to happen next.

We suited up in gowns and masks, tying our hair back under flimsy blue caps. Shuffling about, I always get pushed to the back. I'm the smallest, youngest member of the group, and it's very apparent.

We step into the first room, and they're just finishing an autopsy.
"Sorry kids, we're all done." There's a bit of a groan let out from some of the guys.
"Not to worry," our escort says, "we've got one just starting in room two."

We move over to the next room, and there's a black man in his forties lying on the cold steel. He looks like he's asleep--comfortable. I look him over from head to toe. His hair is a mess, a strange smirk dances across his unshaven face. He's not the right color, but I can't figure out what exactly is off about it. His fingernails are dirty and a yellowed towel lies over his groin. My gaze continues, and I see his ankles. Those sock marks that are always on my legs at the end of the day are still on his ankles. It looks like he just took them off a few minutes ago to take a nap.

"Whoa," I sigh.
"'Scuse me," the coroner says as he pushes through the crowd.

I watch intently as they make every incision, explain every organ and ask us some questions. Everything is fascinating to me, but I keep coming back to the sock marks. I wondered how he got them, and what color the socks were. I wondered where the socks were now, and who took them off of him.

"Any questions," the coroner asks looking up from the bone saw.
"I have one," I say as I raise my hand.
"Do you ever wonder who they were? You know, like before they ended up on your table."
"I used to," he said, "but then it ate me up inside. I've stopped wondering. Sometimes I make up stories about them for myself, though. Happy stories, you know? It's easier when you don't know the truth."

I still wonder where those socks are now.



I promise I won't embarrass you, Ben, honestly. Oh, by the way, I've named you "Ben." I know you're reading this, which is...why I'm writing this. So everyone else who's reading it...just go along with my giddy stupidity for a while?

There are very few words, or strings of words, that can compel me to make some sort of involuntary noise. "There's been an accident," is an example. I will almost always gasp, cover my mouth, or say something intelligible.

"We need to talk," is another string of words that makes me sigh or groan. I dread unexpected, awful things like these.

So when you looked at me in the dark, and knitted your brow, pursing your lips, I expected the worst.

"Hey Sam?" Your tone was puzzled, anxious, and it scared me.
"This isn't going to work", or maybe the overused "We need to talk," is what I expected. I don't know why. Maybe I'm just gun shy, after hearing bad things come after that anxious tone.

That's why I bit my lip tentatively before answering you with a simple, "hmmph?"

But then you surprised me. After taking me out to the beach, walking for hours with me in the cold wind, and treating me to dinner, I thought you couldn't get much better. No one does those things anymore, do they? Opening car doors, walking between me and the curb; you do it all. I was surprised, flattered, and impressed.

"Too good to be true," comes to mind. I'm glad it's wrong, though. Ben, it's so wrong.

So when you took my hand and I could feel your radial pulse beating wildly in my arm, I was scared. Why would you hold my hand when you were about to tell me that you were seeing someone else and it was getting serious, or that you just didn't feel for me what you thought you did? I was prepared for it, though. It wouldn't be the first time I had heard it.

But what you said shocked me. I couldn't really speak. All I could do was make that involuntary noise, a little squeak in the back of my throat. I managed to force out the words "of course," before squeaking again.

It was dorky, adorable, heart-warming, and perfect, the way you asked me if I'd be your girlfriend. I wouldn't have it any other way; you know that.

Thank you, Ben, for showing me that they aren't all the same, or maybe that you're just different. Perhaps both. Regardless, I couldn't be happier to be your girlfriend. ...Officially.

And, uh, sorry if I'm embarrassing. It's what I do.


Sometimes I Guess They Do Live

"Swear to God, she's in this tiny little back room, situated on this hospital bed," he continues.
"Isn't that always the case," I ponder, drinking some more pepsi.
"So we go back there, and she's like 'Oh, I don't feel so good,' and we're talking and whatever, and then swear to god, she just...like...dies."
"Well shit," Eric pipes up.
"Yeah. So I'm like dragging her out by her arms and trying to put the backboard behind her somewhere, and she's just doing crazy things on the monitor, y'know?"
"Ooo, what kinds of crazy things!?"
"Things I've never seen before in the field."
"Nice," I exclaim, "go on."
"So I'm doing CPR and while I compress, I'm perfusing her obviously, and she sort of grabs the stretcher and moves and stuff. It's weird. I've never had that happen."
"Happened to me once, but nothing significant," I say.
"Well she was straight up moving and her eyes were fluttering. So anyway, we get her in the back of the medic, and I've already called for Tom to meet us on scene. Well he shows up, and she's AWAKE," he almost yells.
"Wait, what?"
"Yes! Woman is straight up alive. I ask her what hurt, and she says 'nothing, if you'd stop pushing on my chest.'"
"Holy jesus!"
"I know, right? So Tom like...doesn't believe me that she was just in arrest. I ask him to ride it in with me because I'm afraid something's going to happen again, y'know?"
"Right, so did he?"
"Yeah! And sho'nuff, ol' girl goes back into arrest, and Tom is like 'shit!' Yeah, I told you man, she was in arrest. So when I compress, same thing happens. It's surreal. And we get her there, and she's alive again, and in the hospital's hands."
"That's some crazy, crazy stuff there."
"You wanna know what's craziest?"
"Um, sure."
"A few weeks later, I find out that not only did she survive to walk out of the hospital, but I'm EMS provider of the year."
"Whoa, nice job!"
"I'm like...it's not me, it's her and her weird heart stuff."

Eric and I giggle and snap off a little salute.
"To Paramedic Hall," he starts, "the greatest provider in all the lannnnd!"
I try not to choke on my drink as we get some random debris chucked at us.

"You're just mad it's not you!"
"Oh no, no, sir, we could never take that honor away from you, the greatest provider in all the lannnd," I say, echoing Eric.
"Well anyway, like I said, it's not me, it was her. Sometimes I guess they do live."


And Another Thing

I wrote in my post, "Dead," about the way I dealt with a recent code. You all know me; you know how I deal with traumatic events in my life. I am stoic and collected during the crisis, and then break down later. When I'm done with my breakdown, I get my proverbial shit together, and move on with the things I need to do.

I don't really think about the burned children anymore. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, hearing that mother screaming her child's name when she finds out she's died. I look at the house where I run my first code every time I go to the station. I always remember the things I see, I just deal with them as they come and move on.

I got an influx of emails and comments and response posts from what I said in "Dead." I really do appreciate the kind words and the advice. I know that there are some of you out there who have been doing this longer than I've been alive. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me; I have so much to learn from people like you.

But when I was a young girl, I had many people who were close to me die in a relatively short amount of time. I learned that everybody dealt with tragedy different ways. Some laughed, recalling good times they had with the person. Some cried uncontrollably. Some wrote poems. Some didn't do or say anything. And what I find interesting is that not one email or comment seemed to agree on the "right" way to deal. It was actually this interesting pattern I noticed that has sparked me to do my ENGL 410 (Literature of the American South) research paper on the way in which Southern grieving differs from the rest of the nation. I hope to interview a few of you for this paper.

Again, thank you. Please don't think I'm not listening, but you have to know that I'm always going to deal with things my way. The next time I write about a code or a rough call, I'll probably talk about breaking down afterwards in some form or fashion. I'm a tender-hearted girl, and I can't see this kind of devastation without reeling from it later. I've never been one to bottle away my emotions; when I do, my parents and friends probably want to kill me. I'm a seething bottle of bitch. It's not nice.

So I'll always deal with things as they come, and I'll always be hurt by the events that should hurt. Hell, I'll always be hurt by the things that wouldn't affect most people (I cry at...well, everything).

But please, keep sharing the wisdom, experiences, and thoughts with me. I (always) love knowing what you think.

Take care out there,



"I don't think I'm ready for you to go," she says as she stands next to me in the dimly lit kitchen.
"Aw, you'll be okay," I say as I look at my feet.
"But what if you go to college, and some skanky girl tries to spread rumors about me or start a fight?"

I laugh and blink back some tears. I didn't like the idea of her being alone with no one to look after her. I knew she could take care of herself, but I had been there these past few years to make sure no one messed with her.

"You'll do great."
"Aren't you scared, Sam?"

And here I face my dilemma. Do I admit vulnerability for the sake of honesty, or do I bluff to stay strong in her eyes?

"Honestly...I'm terrified."
"I would be too."

She looks up at me with big, sad eyes. My heart breaks.

"Do you think you can come back for my birthday party?"
"I...I don't think I'll have a way to get back."
"Oh. It won't be the same without you."
"I know, I'm sorry."

And then I break down, my tears splashing down my shirt, exploding silently. She takes me in her arms, wrapping herself around me like some sort of comfort blanket.

"Oh, don't cry, Sam, don't cry," she says as her own tears splash into my hair.
"I don't want to go," I sniffle into her shoulder.
"You're going to do so great, you won't miss this at all."
"But I'll be so new and scared and what if no one likes me?"
"Who won't like you!? They're stupid."
"Come visit me?"
"Of course."

And standing there, holding me in my kitchen, she comforts me the way I used to comfort her, and makes me feel like everything is going to be okay, the way I've always tried to do for her.

Happy Birthday, Paula. Sorry I've missed it for the third year in a row. I love you.



And so he died under my hands, right there on the table.

"Stop, just stop," the doctor said to me softly, pulling the leads off his chest.
"But, I..."
"Just stop, Sam, it's okay."

Twenty-one years old, with his whole life ahead of him, and he's dead. There's no word for how dead he is. Alive, shot, dead.

His memorial tattoo for some relative or friend looks up at me. Twinkling eyes, even in that tattoo, taunt me. "RIP," it says, but now it's for him.

Shot in the femur. Dead.

My compressions do nothing but circulate stale blood through tired veins. The bladder has given up too, and the muscles relax for the first time in twenty-one years.


"Time of death, 2213." He was dead before that, but now he's dead in the eyes of the government.

"Good job, everyone." Yeah, right. If it were a good job, he wouldn't be so...dead.

His arm hangs, useless, to his side. Hitting me in the leg during CPR is its final act. I pick it up gently in my hands and put it on top of his stomach.


"Somebody get this kid a blanket, extubate him, and call the family into the meditation room."

"This kid." A year and a half older than me, than this kid. I'm just one kid who tried to save another kid's life.


I skid on some blood on my way out. Fuck it, I don't care and neither does he.

And then a funny thing happens. I go to the locker room, and call my mom. I've done this after every code I've run. I tell her what happened, feel a little sad, and usually cry.

But tonight, I shed two tiny little tears, hang up the phone, and go back to work. I don't spend the night thinking about him. I don't actively confront my own mortality. I just move on.

It's not that it doesn't hurt--it does. It's just that I don't have time for it to break me down.

And for some reason, this satisfies me. I'm getting stronger, getting better at this. I still feel it; I'm not jaded. I'm just less affected.

But he's no less...



No Complaint

A tiny dog with three legs rounds the corner nervously. I bend down to let it sniff me, and it cowers away from my hand. Drew shuts the clipboard noisily and the dog scampers away quickly, peering back at us from the safety of the hallway. It whimpers quietly and disappears back into the dark.

"So, let me get this right," I hear Eric say again, "you have no chest pain, no difficulty breathing, no complaints whatsoever." The man nods, and his wife weeps louder into her handkerchief.

"I...just...want...you to...get...check...out," she manages through sobs. I look at my partners and then back at our patient. Blood-speckled tissues line the table.

"Swear to god, Martha," he says under his breath.
"So no complaints at all?"
"Just my wife," he says sharply. She sobs harder and I get anxious.

"Sir, she says you have some gum bleeding?"
"Why's that," I ask casually, nodding towards the bloody tissues.
"Cut my gum eating."
"How long ago was that?"
"Three hours."
"Been bleeding ever since?"
"And no chest pain?" He pauses, looks around, and quickly tells me he's been feeling fine. He's a really bad liar.

I look at Drew's notes. Cardiac history: three heart attacks in six months. He's got some kind of "fluid on the lungs," most likely CHF; I see the Lasix on the table as well.

"Well if you don't want to go, we can't force you. Based on what your wife was telling us, we'd really like to take you. You have an extensive medical history, and even though you're seeing your doctor tomorrow, it'd be good to get checked out now."
"I'm not going."

Eric breaks out the patient refusal form and explains it. His wife is uncontrollable. I kneel to her level and put a hand on her knee.

"Martha," I say gently, "I know we're not taking him now, but if you think he gets any worse, please call us back. We're more than happy to come again; we're here all night. Okay?" She wipes some mascara off her cheeks and nods, trying out a little smile.

Our patient notices this little interaction, and she moves her gaze back to him.
"Please, John, please go. Please go, I don't ask you for anything, you know I don't. But I'm asking you to please go."

There's an uncomfortable pause smattered with "Jesus," and "oh hell."

"Fine, I'm going." She cries again, relieved now.

Drew and I head back for the stretcher and talk on the way.
"Sam, something's just not right here."
"Abuse," I offer.
"How do you figure?"
"Dog is terrified of humans, scared by loud noises. Wife is fearful of her husband, doesn't 'ask him for anything,' and he is pretty rude with her in front of us."
"Yeah. That's so messed up."

We get him situated on the stretcher and loaded into the back. Drew is teching this one, since it's been a while since he was on a BLS call that was his.

"Drew...do you see that blood?" I mouth to my partner over John's head. I'm not sure he'd hear us if we spoke; he's asleep.
"What blood?" I point to the non-rebreather. Blood and clots have collected in the bottom of the mask.
"That blood."
"Clean him up?" He looks puzzled, and I explain to our patient that I'm going to take the mask off for a moment so I can clean it.

"Mmph," is all he answers.

Moments after cleaning it, it's blood-filled again.

"What the--"
"I don't know," I cut Drew off. We break out a flashlight and check inside his mouth again. Blood clots fill his mouth.

"Hey John, could you spit in this gauze for me?"
"John? Hey, buddy, you with us?"
"Mmph, yeah."
"Can you spit in this?"
"Hey John. Do you know where you are?"
"Okay, just checking."

We get to the hospital and tell the nurse what we've brought him. I look at Drew a little concerned. He's deteriorated since we've been with him, even though his vitals are textbook, and he has "no complaint."

"So what should I put down," the nurse remarks.
"Chest pain per wife?"
"Sure. He's definitely got something wrong with him."

"What do you think happened," I ask Drew.
"'Dunno," Eric interjects, "but I should have ALS'd it."


Where I Was

I've finally gotten high school down. It's my third week of my ninth grade year, and I think I finally have it. I'm twelve years old--a young age for my grade. I've worked hard to get where I am, though, and I feel like I belong two years ahead. "You act so mature for twelve," they always say. I know I'm a mature girl, and I feel like I can handle anything, even high school.

After our long class of the day, we go to chapel to hear announcements. Then we go to our other classes, and depending on which class is fourth, we have first, second, or third lunch. I know who is in each lunch and which tables are friendly.

I know that when I get up, I will put on a black skirt that goes two inches past the end of my fingertips. I know that I'll wear a collared shirt, some stockings, and high heels. Maybe I'll change the color of my shirt, or wear something fun in my hair, but the basics are the same. I know that when I wake up, everything will be the same as the day before.

I know where my seat is. I don't get to sit in a pew because of the way my last name falls in the seating chart. Instead, I'm right up front, my face inches away from the minister. We breathe in the same stale air every day, and he always pats my shoulder before he gets up to give a prayer. Sometimes, another student gives the prayer. Today it's M.B., a girl I've sort of known for a while.

"M.B.," he begins, "don't worry about the prayer today. Two planes have struck the World Trade Center. I need to make an announcement." He stands up without patting my shoulder and looks around at the students milling about towards their pews.

Time stops momentarily. I'm the only one who knows. No one else in this world knows what I know, I think to myself. I see my classmates' smiling faces, my teachers laughing along with them. My heart feels heavy as my head spins. I process ideas in my head.

He said "cranes." Yes, two cranes hit the Trade Center. This sounds stupid even inside my own head. Okay, so they were planes. It was an accident. Student pilots. Yeah. I satisfy myself with this, and say a quick prayer for the pilots and any injured.

The world starts spinning again, though I don't acknowledge Meagan when she comes to take her seat on my left.

"Crabby, much?" She elbows me playfully, but I just watch the minister. He climbs the stairs to the pulpit slowly.

One. The wood creaks noisily underneath his foot.
Two. The stairs scream under him.
Three. They want him to hurry.
Four. Share this burden with someone else.

He clears his throat gently and his jaws open with the weight of the world trying to keep them shut.

"Students, teachers," he pauses as he looks down to his feet. People look around uncomfortably, not knowing what's keeping him.

"Forty-five minutes ago, a plane struck the World Trade Center. Shortly thereafter, another struck the tower next to it. We are unsure at this time whether or not this is terrorist related. We ask that you please carry on as usual today, however we will have CNN on in Ainsley Auditorium all day. We will keep you updated as we know more."

And with that, he steps down from the pulpit, the stairs and I both relieved. Some people gasp, delayed. Others are slack-jawed, and still others seem to be asleep. No one moves. No one says anything. Finally, he looks up from his feet.

"You can go, I have absolutely nothing else to say, except to say may God save us."

We stand up slowly, in little clumps of people. Some stay seated. Some pull out contraband cell phones and call their parents. Some cry.

I do what I do in crisis. I don't cry. I don't panic. I gather facts. I briskly walk to Ainsley Auditorium and park myself in front of that screen. I watch the planes hit over and over and feel my stomach drop a little further. I hear what they have to tell me. I see how the vertical lines of the towers look like prison bars, and how the people inside must think they are too.

And as I watch, the tower falls. It collapses in a pile, and I follow suit. I shake and cry and hold myself tight. My little legs jiggle wildly, and my sobs shake me violently.

Time passes as some friends join me to watch. We hold each others' hands, and tears soak my collared shirt. I hear about the Pentagon and about Pennsylvania. I become less of a human and more of an entity as I learn more.

The rest of the day is a blur. I remember and retain absolutely nothing. I climb in the car at the end of the day and say very little to my mother. I know we both cry, but it's in relative silence. I try to stay "strong" because I think that's what she would want me to do. I don't want her to see how vulnerable I am.

Yesterday, I was twelve years old. Today, I am twelve years old.

But today, nothing is the same.


I never dreamed that on the same day seven years later, I'd be in an ambulance, sitting on the bench seat opposite Drew. I'm thinking these thoughts as he starts to say something.

"It's September 11th."
"Did you ever think you'd be in an ambulance...not as a patient?"
"No, not really."
"I mean, fuck, Sam. We're in an ambulance, you know?"
"Yeah, I know."

I know that when I wake up every day, I'll put on some jeans and a t-shirt before making my way to class. I know that my dishwasher is broken, so things need to be hand-washed.

I know when I go on shift, there's a chance I could be called upon to help someone. Often times, I am. I know that something could happen where I will be asked to give everything I have in the effort to help other people.

I never imagined that I'd be holding my firefighter-pseudoboyfriend's hand in his fire department as Brian Wilson remembers this day on the air.

I never thought I would be in this position. I wouldn't change it for anything.

I'll always remember feeling so alone, so scared. I'll always remember that realization that maybe I'm not so mature after all. I'll always remember Father Phipps's words. "I have absolutely nothing else to say, except may God save us."

I will always remember.


Things and Stuff

As you might have guessed, Hanna was a whole lot of nothing. We went to Rushmere, staged there for 8 hours, and I slept for about 7 of them. I managed to get a little situated on one of those military cots and pass out like nobody's business. Slept through the minimal wind and rain, and even slept through the radio chatter. It was great.

Then I got myself out of the EMS situation (60 hours was too much for me) and went on a date. Yes, I went on a post-hurricane date, complete with disheveled hair and probably-smeared makeup. I was a sight to see. Luckily, he seemed to like me anyway, and we had a great time. He was sweet enough to bring me coffee while I was on shift at the ER tonight.

I'm struggling with this internet connection problem. It's the third week of school; my IT department should be through with their annual suckage! I promise, though, as soon as I have a reliable connection, I'll be updating like crazy.

And finally, my Dad got to Antarctica okay! Go check out his most recent posts at his blog if you feel so inclined. :) He's got some great pictures up.

More later, I promise.

Take care out there,


Hanna (picture)

No, not a picture of the storm or anything. Not a picture of mass destruction.

A picture of Sam and Eric, the people who will be taking care of Rushmere. The people with a combined age of 39 and a half.

Yes, people of Rushmere, here they are. Your knights in shining armor.

Good luck, and godspeed, people of Rushmere. Just kidding, you're safe with us.

Take care out there,


Well, Hanna is upon us. I've been at the rescue squad for 26 hours now, since my university decided to evacuate us (mandatory evac). It looks like I'm going to be sent to Rushmere, a nearby county, to hold down the fort there with Eric and some other providers. Drew is busy saving the world at his job with Emergency Management. I'm about to have no internet, little cell service.

Keep everyone in your thoughts, please. I don't expect much to happen, but it's still a little scary. I'll be in touch as much as possible, but it's already raining hard, and I have no clue when I'll be heading out there.

We've had 12 patients in the past two hours. It's been rough, but I'm just so thankful that I'm here to help.

Take care out there, please,

p.s.--If you want to listen to our dispatch, you can do so here. It should open in iTunes. I should be on M64 (or something).

edit:Going to Rushmere at 0600. Will be on Medic 65 all night. Wish us luck :P



I hear them before I see them. Yelling over the squeak of Stryker wheels on linoleum floors; I wipe sweat from my brow and ready myself.

They didn't give us much time to get ready. Couldn't call in a report because things were going so haywire in the back. I hear the chatter of police scanners and grip the IV catheter a little tighter.

They wheel him in and I wonder whether or not he's awake. He has a tube in his throat so he can breathe, but his eyes are open, moving around. I peer down at him and see his eyes going back and forth slowly.

"Is he..." I start to ask.
"No. His eyes have been tracking back and forth like that for a few minutes. ETOH on board, we got an 18 in his upper arm, but that's all we could do." The paramedic nods at me.
"Got it."

I see his arm is bandaged, so I go to the other arm. He's freezing cold, so his veins are small. I manage to get a 20 gauge IV in his left hand, but it's not good enough for this trauma. I let everyone know about the new IV and go back to the other arm.

"I need you to cut this bandage off."
"Yeah, you. Can you cut this off?"
"Sure," I say to the doctor as I grab my trauma shears.

I cut it off gingerly, and while I don't gasp, I stop breathing momentarily.

"Oh, God," I hear the doctor say, and my breathing resumes. I look down again and see a hole. There's a hole in this man's cubital fossa, no distal pulse. He's severed the major artery in his right arm, and lost a lot of blood.

"Just hold pressure, okay?"

"Tell me what happened," I hear one police officer ask another outside the door.
"Drunk kid wanted to leave, couldn't go out through the front door. Went upstairs, punched a window, and when he pulled his arm out, cut a hole in his arm. Looked like a pig got slaughtered. Don't know much, though; no one spoke English."
"What'd they speak?"

The doctors take note of this and look around.

"Does anyone speak Spanish?"
"I do," I say looking up.
"Talk to this kid."

The doctors start working on two femoral lines, and I hold pressure. I hold like I've never held before. My fingers tingle and wrist aches, but I hold.

"Chico, estas en el hospital. Si puedas oirme, por favor mueva un dedo." He moves no fingers, but as I hold pressure, I speak softly in his ear. I figure it can't hurt.

The trauma surgeon comes in and looks to the doctors to tell him what's going on. Lost in their focus, they don't even acknowledge his presence.

"Someone, please, I need to know what's going on."
"Male in his early twenties," I say as I clear my throat, "ETOH on board. Put his arm through a window trying to leave the house. He's got a veritable hole in the cubital fossa, and his eyes are tracking back and forth. Dr. Sykes thinks he may have some seizure activity, but there might be a closed head wound as well. PD says the room was covered in blood. We've got two femoral lines, and we're on the fourth unit of blood. 20 in the right hand, 18 in the left upper arm."

I catch my breath and look at him through my mask and faceshield while my arm trembles from the pressure I hold.

"Christ. Thank you, Dr..."
"Oh...me? No, I'm just a lab girl."
"Really? Hell, you're the most eloquent lab girl I've ever met."
"Thank you, sir. Would it be okay with you if we put a BP cuff on this guy for hemostasis control?"
"Yeah...why didn't somebody think of that before?"
"No clue, sir. Could you hand me that?"

He rolls the manual bp cuff my way, and I pump it up until the bleeding stops again.

"Well, let's get this guy to OR."

The doctors finish securing their femoral lines and he's wheeled off. I stretch my aching fingers and glance down. My shoe covers are red. They're bright red, and I see my gown is speckled with the same. Blood surrounds me, and I try not to slip on my way out. My nostrils fill with the heavy scent of iron, and I peel my shoe covers off as I leave.

"Get the line?" My eager coworker looks up at me, smiling.
"Yeah, and then some."
"Jesus you're bloody. Let's get you some peroxide."
"Thanks, but no time," I laugh as the trauma pager goes off again.


Long Story

It's a very long story, but I have the internet right now. I need to go to bed, but I was dying to update.

1. Epi wrote a post about a conversation she and I had earlier. It's pretty classic. Check it out here if you're interested.

2. A football story through pictures:
My Daddy (PolarDoc) is a USC alum, so I am, by default, a fan. Mom, Dad and I drive to Charlottesville to the Scott Stadium, home of the UVA Cavaliers. We sit in a private box with friends of ours, and I watch as a sea of orange gets splattered with some maroon and gold.

Dad talked to Howie Long and got an autograph. His son, Chris, was there as well. He's a UVA football alum, so I felt sort of bad sitting next to him, but then I felt better remembering that I was rooting for a winning team. ;)

USC demolished the home team. I felt a little bad, but then realized that it's a game that doesn't matter since neither is in the other's conference. So then I just reveled in the victory.

3. Dad leaves for Antarctica on Tuesday morning. We had a going away party for him today, and it was tons of fun. I'm pretty bummed out that I'm not going to see him until March, but I know he's going to have a great time.

4. I really want to go to Louisiana to help, but unless my professors would excuse my absence, I couldn't do it. Are any of you going? My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.

5. The Apple Store still has my stupid MacBook, so I'm a little upset about that. Hopefully I'll get it back soon!

6. I promise a real post about an intense trauma we got in the ED as soon as I possibly can. I miss writing.

Take care out there,