Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Return of the Son of Life of a Charter Pilot

It's been a long day.

I hate Air Ambulance trips.

It's been a long day. It started at 5:15 this morning, and ended at 5 this afternoon. A fairly straight forward air ambulance run. Fly to Breda-land, pick up the patient and his daughter. Fly them both to the northern end of AD-land. And then a quick hop back home for beer and bagels. (No, those don't go together. But that's all I have in the fridge.)

The flying itself went off without a hitch, but the patient was intubated, barely conscious, and running more tubes than the London Underground. I hate these trips. I can't look at the patient without twinging with sympathy. You see, when I was a wee lad of all of 5 I slipped crossing the street one winter and ended up with a full body cast, a plate holding my hip together and a nice 10 day stay in an ICU bed. The cast didn't come off for 3 months, I had to make up the school I missed from my bed over the summer and there was a large question if I'd even be ready for school the following autumn. I came out of this a couple of steps slower than I used to be, an 8 inch scar running down my right hip and a very obvious phobia of needles. Seriously, all through grade school it used to take 2 full grown nurses to hold me down when they came to give all us kids our booster shots. I still can't watch myself being stuck with a hypodermic at the doctors even now.

Hey, we all have our hangups. Seen any spiders lately?

On the plus side, I got this neat castoring wheel, like they have on furniture, on the leg of my cast so I could drag myself around my room without scraping all the skin off those toes.

So, for me, I see the patients, strapped to the gurney, plugged full of tubes and leads and wires and I remember that I've been there. I remember what it was like to wake up in the middle of the night with only the eerie beeping of the monitors and dim glow of the red LED's and green monitors. Knowing no matter how hard or fast I press that call button I won't see anybody till long after I've lost myself to the imagined monsters and goblins that inhabit the cold and sterile rooms of the hospital wards.

I can't help but put myself in their place.

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