It's been raining all day. It's December, and we're supposed to have a snow storm, but the Eastern Front receives only rain and wind. Horizontal rain, but still rain. I hear it's been snowing out in West, but here at Medic 9 it's just cold and wet. Just after dusk, the rain stops briefly and… Continue reading Surreality
We miss the address on the first try. As we come back the wrong way up the one-way street, we find it. Maybe. A tiny silver number resides on a black mailbox, in the weeds and bushes, at the foot of something that might be a driveway. This has to be it. The numbers on… Continue reading Everest
The vast lobby of Big City Memorial Hospital bustles in the early fall afternoon. The revolving glass doors let sunlight and visitors in, while keeping the fall chill outside. The atrium soars three stories above; the hospital designers seem to have placed a roof over the space between two buildings, and then decided, “Hey, this… Continue reading Grace
“Smile!” As a parent, I spend the year on the lookout for cute photo opportunities. The best shots go into the family calendar for next year and make good Christmas gifts. Beth has appeared in the living room in full princess regalia, and this is too good to pass up. In the corner, the fire… Continue reading Knowing
The big Sikorsky emerges out of the setting sun with a roar. Every head outside the hospital swivels to follow its gravity-defying progress as it circles above the helipad. Paradoxically, the sound of the twin turboprop engines increases as it slowly approaches the ground and the single waiting ambulance. The 'bird' touches its wheels lightly… Continue reading “It’s 9 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?”
The ambulance lurches as we leave the parking lot of Local Suburban Hospital. Partner du Jour looks at me with resignation in his eyes. “You know how this ends?” he asks. “Yeah, I know.” I squeeze another bagful of oxygen into the patient's lungs. **SQUEEZE** The patient fell last evening, tripping over a child's toy.… Continue reading Just keep squeezing. . .
The patient lay emaciated in her own bed, propped up on pillows, with her head lolled to one side and her mouth wide open. I had to look twice to see if she was breathing. The firefighters said they couldn't hear a blood pressure, and I wasn't surprised. Her husband was a wiry and determined… Continue reading Olive Oyl
The room is dark and quiet. The other three patients stir in their corners, startled by our raucous arrival among them. They quickly settle, realizing as we make our way to the fourth bed that it is not their time.Our patient starts awake as we approach. He is small and frail, a mere shadow with… Continue reading Mommy