Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On behalf of a grateful nation

I watched Baghdad ER recently, not because I particularly wanted to, but because I thought I should. I just figured that if those women and men can fuck up their minds and bodies in the service of this nation, then I should at least be able to stand watching them do it. So yeah, I think everyone should watch the film if you can.

Especially if you supported the war.

My brother is a former Guardsman who served in the 103rd Medical Battalion during peacetime. He was also Captain of a Rescue Squad and worked at a Level 1 Trauma Center (Cooper) in New Jersey for many years. I asked him what he thought of the film, and this is his response:

Watched Baghdad ER, had to take several runs at it as I would turn it off after a couple of minutes. In the beginning I was getting wacked by memories triggered by small little details. Just the way someone held their hands to tell everyone to calm down (I looked down and I had already raised both hands in the exact same posture).

I sighed the morbid sigh when I noticed "air in the belly" of the first patient that was having CPR performed on them (bad sign by association with too many"fatals" and the CPR that you do anyways). Just that quick I was back in that state after you work a fatal that day. There is a type of consensus that kind of occurs before actually calling time of death that runs around the room, it came across the camera somehow and I picked up on TOD every time even when I wasn't paying attention in the end of the show. Typing this I realize that there is a moment given for acceptance of those nearby before calling it. (Not that we are going to overly disagree with the guy calling it)

My last night at Cooper was different only in that I knew I would not be back. Instead of spending long weekends slipping on the floor (there was a shot of the floor in the film that explains this comment) I was going to spend the time dating my future wife and taking time for myself after many hectic years. Near the middle of the night we had a patient with a gunshot to the face, I was doing CPR with one hand and was turned around doing something with the other (I would have been prepping a procedure tray or hooking up yet another suction line), I didn't hear it, but when I turned back it seemed to me that they had called it, people's shoulders where different. Not wanting to be accused of doing CPR on acorpse, I verified what I suspected with a lift of the chin to which someone responded with a subtle nod. (I also didn't want to be guilty of not doing CPR on a patient.)

Multi-tasking while interacting with a room of people all multi-tasking is what we call "the dance", I was surprised how much the military version today wasn't so different from the civilian version of 14 years ago. I really really was surprised how hard it was to start watching tho...The sound of the helicopter door slamming shut chilled my spine.

I met a couple of guys from the 86th in Atlanta airport about 2 years ago. We chatted like medics do. I welcomed them home out of habit.


Grant Miller said...

I will TiVo it.

Spooney said...

Wow, that's a powerful story your bro tells. I think everyone should watch it. I haven't yet, but I'm gonna make myself do it.
BTW, Inconvenient Truth out this weekend. A movie that every human being should see.