I knew these were coming. Those are the calls you get and the people you see that you see once, and then you see again and again in your head long after you've left them. You know these things are coming, but you don't know the hour or the place. You still bolt when you hear the tones drop and answer the call anyway.
This weekend riding the medic unit I saw my first major trauma. So much respect for the team that lets me ride with them, and blessed that I get to observe them do this. I'm also gratified that I've learned so much already that I can be useful to an extent. This call doesn't haunt me, but I'll absolutely remember my first trauma. (Ha, that I'm positive I can't describe here, Hippa).
But this shift, we got the unusual call right before shift change. And everything precedes uneventfully right up to the transport to the hospital and the driver and I cleaning the cot and the unit.
The medic unit from another station pulls up fast, doesn't take an ambulance lane, but lands right by the door. There's a small commotion going on, and Chilva, our driver, goes over to see if he can help. Out of the unit comes infant CPR in full progress, with a medic on the cot and a ton of people flowing out of the unit, carrying monitors, walking the mother into the ER. I watched Chilva help them with the monitor then shut out unit up and followed them in.
It was so strange. I felt so detached from this. It was a huge commotion, with easily a dozen nurses and staff ending up in the room, continuing CPR while others start attaching new monitors. I overheard one of the medics brief the nurses that the infant was in asystole since they had arrived.
I couldn't process a lot of this until several hours later. I recalled Chilva saying what a rough way to end or begin a shift.
I didn't know how to process what I had seen. At first, I remained very detached. Then I couldn't get over how it hadn't bothered me. That I should be thinking of that family. Then I couldn't stop thinking about the family. The image of the mom I had seen distraught, or the image of a cyanotic, small person lying so so still on a cot that was so much bigger than they were.
It's this call that I wasn't even on that I will remember. God help me if I ever forget. Maybe we're a special force of angels that are here to be His hands and feet, save His children when they find trouble. And when His angels can only deliver the children to their Father, they weep.