Racing down the road, I kept assuring myself that “we don’t lose babies anymore to croup” but I could see the terror in my baby’s eyes as she struggled for air.
Alerted to our imminent arrival, the ED staff flew into action and the rest is a blur to me. What
I do remember is the supportive and professional manner in which we were served and the voice of my doctor.
I could surrender my baby into their competent hands because I knew their highest priority was saving her life.
Assistant Professor of Social Work at Aurora University (IL) and coordinates the Health Care and Gerontology Specializations
Anatomy lab was the part of medical school that really scared me most.
Actually the thought of it quintessentially terrified me.
The smell and fluid exposure was the tiniest part of that fear. Death scares me. And yes, as a clinician, I’m scared to see someone else die. Yes, people like me can go to medical school. I thought I would faint, throw up, be in the hallway in the first three minutes.
In part, it was the idea that I would be there while someone’s mom, daughter, grandmother would be taken apart muscle by muscle.
Yet, it was more than this. It was the fact I would be there with what was left. Standing next to an incomplete set of organs, tissues, bones. Parts of a structure that once collectively felt the ultimate stressor.
That I would be left wondering at what point a person became the bone in my bone box.
The moaning grew louder as a young woman, age 19, limped into the room.
She was covered in blood and black char. Looking confused and horrified, she dropped to her knees, gasped for air, and threw her head back, attempting to scream but nothing came out. The ED nurses raced to her side and quickly escorted her to one of the beds. Just a moment later
a young man, age 21, tranquilly shuffled in with nothing on but a pair of charred shorts. His entire body was seared black, as if he had just fallen through a chimney. A smell wafted through the air that was sickly sweet and deeply unpleasant. It hit the back of my throat, eliciting a visceral response in me to move faster, smarter and reach deep for a sense of compassion I had not yet discovered within myself.