Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My First "Writing Wednesday"..

Today is "Writing Wednesday" at Family My Way. The theme for the week is:
I Remember...

This is an easy one for me to write about today. Memories have been flooding my brain for the last 48 hours. I did a search on my blog today to see if I have ever written about this...and realized I never have. Did make passing mention of it in a quiz I did about two years ago, but that was the extent of it.

I'm lucky in the fact that I am on a VOLUNTEER rescue squad. I can CHOOSE to go if I want to. The reality is that there are five spots on the rescue unit and usually about 10 of us vying for the spaces so we can get the experience. So I try to be fair and back off sometimes so others can have a chance.

And I listen to the tones. After the beeps and boops, they give a short rundown on what you are looking at dealing with as you run out the door for the station. So there is one kind of call I don't respond on. I just don't. For my own mental health.

And that would be suicides.

12 years ago this week a family friend called me up saying his back hurt and his knee hurt and he wanted to know if my husband or I could take him to the emergency room. Hub had to work the next day so I put little boy to bed and drove to his house.
The door was locked but I knew where the key was. How strange. All the lights are off and he's in bed. The hair is standing up on the back of my neck. He's crying and not making much sense. "Hey, Dude! I'm here! Are you coming with me to the hospital?" I just get moaning and groaning in answer.
All of a sudden, he throws back the blankets and says "God Da*n it!" I step backward up the hallway because I know he's in his tidy whitey's and I'm trying to be modest here.
But what is he doing? He's reaching up into the top of the closet. I remember looking at him so puzzled. It just wasn't registering in my mind what was going on. Even as the slide action snaps and he turns to look at me with the saddest eyes I have ever seen. Even as the gun presses against his temple.

And I close my eyes...turn my head. I can feel the percussion of the shot against my body. Hear the thump as he falls. I can't help myself...I turn and look.
What I see will forever be burned in my brain. White gym socks, skinny 45 year old legs and white briefs disappearing into the closet.
Beside me on the clothes washer is the phone. I dial 911 and lean against the wall...calling for help. My friend shot himself. Right here next to me. In the hall of this crappy little mobile home. I don't know the address but we are right next to this gas station.

WHAT?!?! you want me to WHAT?!?! Go CHECK HIM and see if he's BREATHING!?! OH, please don't ask me to do that! I can't, I can't.

Then the smell hits me. Like a wave rolling up the hallway. Copper, hot, cloying, I'm gagging. I run for the front room as the dispatcher asks me to spell my name. I do and then she tells me to calm down. I don't understand what she means...I am perfectly calm. My voice is shaking some and I am breathing hard but...

then here comes the smell again and I hit the front door, running to the far end of the porch. I can hear sirens in the distance and the hysteria hits. I drop the phone on the porch and curl up on the deck screaming as the deputy runs by me into the house.

They said if he would have done that on the front steps of the hospital, they could not have saved him. And I was angry at him for quite awhile for taking away the friend we loved, my son's favorite hero and for bringing me to the brink of insanity.

It's taken me alot of working, praying, and dealing to be able to live with the pictures in my head.
So I try not to put myself in those situations where my sanity might be tested.

Twenty after midnight - wee hours of Tuesday morning. Jerked out of a sound sleep by rescue tones. OK..not so sound sleep - the lights were still on and I had fallen asleep on my text book again. But I struggle to get my clothes on as I hear the call for an Echo Level Cardiac Arrest.
OK. I can do that.
Out the door, to the station, on the rescue and off we go.
Halfway there, dispatch says "additional information". Head wound...face down in the bathroom...unsecured firearm...caller refuses to do CPR.

OHHHHH no, no, no, no. DEJA VU. Can I do this?

A few deep breaths and I whisper to the lady on my left whats up. Ask her to keep an eye on me just in case I lose it.
And we have to "stage" or wait for law enforcement because there is a firearm involved. It takes the deputies about 10 minutes to get there, clear the scene and call us in.
Which means that since the decedent was discovered, all the time it took us to get on the rescue and get rollin', all the time we were staging and the deputy was securing the circulation.
Which means this is all a formality.
Which we all realize it was anyway when we go in to run a strip on her. Of course it's flatline. The heart tends to stop when it's control center about 18 inches above it is removed by a .38 slug.

Another picture...burned in my brain for all time. I spent most of the day wearing dark glasses just in case the tears started to roll. But I'm doing ok. Thanks for letting me share what I remember.

It helps. Trust me, it definitely helps.


Ambulance Driver said...

You got through it, and now you're stronger for it.

EMS is going to bring you lots of moments like these, Janean.

It'll also bring you lots of happy ones too. Don't forget that.

MKS8500 said...

I'm glad I read this because I'm being recruited by dispatch to start a career there. I start by visiting the dept tomorrow. Definitely a hard day for you. I've never been able to understand suicide but I don't deny that it happens. It sure does leave those "left behind" in a very bad place. I'm sorry for you but glad you were able to write about it.

Donetta said...

Darling oh sweetheart...PTSD when it flashes cold coke can open eye. Talking about it is the BEST help Sis. Really the images will fade over time and it becomes a bit less sensitive. It is like making an unreal thing real and then dealing with it. Healing through it and overcoming it's power over you. Not a hardened heart but a steeled spirit