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Death in Lander

Vat are you zinking about?


Death in the modern world is a pretty violent affair.

It is a given that as an EMT you will see some gruesome things. Things that most people won’t see or others in the medical profession will just shrug off as normal. I never expected to see someone die on my second day of ER rotations, but there it was.

The ER is a pretty strange place. One gets to see the result of making a lifetime of bad choices, of destroying the only home you have, your body. I am forty two years old and I have seen forty two year olds who look more like eighty – mainly due to drug and alcohol abuse. Parents, if you want your kids to be wary of that shit have them do a few hours in the ER!

He was only fifty seven years old, but looked like he was several decades older. When we came in he was alert and conscious but shortly thereafter he crashed bad. I think he told one of the nurses that he knew he was going to die. He picked a good place to be saved and within seconds he was surrounded by over eight medical professionals trying to help him, to no avail.

Death in the modern world is a pretty violent affair. After his heart stopped they started CPR and if I hadn’t known that they were trying to save him I would have thought that they were beating the crap out of him. In the midst of everyone he died alone, no one from his family or friends to see him off to the great beyond.

8 Responses to “Death in Lander”

  1. Robin says:

    How tragic indeed. I’ve seen far more hospitals in recent years than I care to — and yes it is the window to the pain and suffering that most folks would care not to see for the better parts of our day — but the images are undeniably impactful when we all see it.

    It’s is life — much beauty and also much ugliness. Though much of it is just happenstance, much of it is a result of abuse stemming from fear and loathing in people’s lives — such that they cannot contront and must escape via chemical means.

    To me, I guess aside from the pity we feel for the poor souls whose lives are taken, it again serves as a reminder and lesson to us to respect ourselves and others. We should do our best to enjoy the gifts we have — especially our family and friends… and that as hard as we try, we cannot run away from our problems and must eventually confront it — or have it unmercifully catch up to you off-balanced and more vulnerable in a proverbial dark alley.

    It is with this that it is crucial we strive for balance — to nourish our souls with light to counteract the darkness we must all eventually face. They are both all too real and we will do better to be ready.
    This is consciousness.

    Take care, Shreesh and Neena.

  2. Fred says:

    No one gets out alive. “Be you a king, or a street sweeper, everyone dances with the grim reaper”. The existentialist would say that that man made his life choices and died by them. Who are we to say his life was unsatisfactory? As shocking as it may be to witness the last minutes of his life, would it have been any less shocking to see the last minutes of the life of a clean-living person who perished in an accident?

    Birth comes with the built in tragedy of death. Between the rocking of the cradle and the rolling of the hearse are the personal choices of the individual – which have consequences.

  3. Shreesh says:

    One can hope that he had a Hemingwayesque joie de vivre. Somehow it is easier for me accept the death of someone who has lived a full life as opposed to calling it quits at 57.

    It is a given that we will all die and what we do between our birth and death is life. It is like an empty reel of film that we fill as we see fit.

  4. Debbie Williams says:

    Wow…your training is ‘no holds barred’. But I guess that is a necessity, especially for those who decide to make a career as an EMT. If you cannot find a way to deal with the death (not that its easy), then now is a good time to find out. I do know that you become ‘battle hardened’ after a bit (my best friend was an EMT in Germany), but I imagine the beginning is quite an eye opener. If we should have a major emergency at Oracle…well, I deal with it after its through… At least there are no children here. I’m not sure I could handle that!

    Blessings and have a great holiday…whatever you celebrate!


  5. Jerzy says:

    I congratulate you on doing what you are doing. Years ago I decided that one way of living a fuller life was to conquer fears, out of which the fear of death is probably the deepest. For that, I signed up as a volunteer working with the terminally ill. I never saw anyone die in my presence, but one thing I learned was that it was all a continuum. The real sad part was not the death itself, but the suffering that often preceded it.
    I just got back home from a funeral of my cousin’s in Seattle. It was clear for weeks that he was going to die, yet watching him progress from bad to worse (I have visited a couple of times in the last two months) was painful. I never fully know if that pain is a real compassion or a fear of our own mortality.
    So, live to the fullest. Enjoy every moment!

  6. Vinay says:

    Very good post. And great responses too! It is very cool this training you are doing. Happy holidays! Hey, those started long ago for you guys :)

  7. Lily says:

    wow, i know what you mean about the people in the ER who abuse drugs, but im happy i didnt have to deal with anyone dying on my shift.

  8. Shreesh says:

    Lily –

    It was a fairly unpleasant experience so I’m glad you didn’t have to see it. I hope you are having better experiences up North in New York!

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