Monday, December 29, 2008

The first life that slipped away

I saw someone die today

To be accurate, she died right under my hands as I was told to stop chest compression and she was pronounced dead.

A 14 year-old girl got hit by a bus as she was going to school.

I simply do not know how to react. I was about to break down when they were resuscitating her and realized that she might not make it – I saw her paper white feet when I first walked in and it hit me how bad things were. I guess seeing the big picture of her cut clothes, her blood-soaked head and her blank gaze brought on the gravity of the situation. But when I was doing the chest compression, as I looked back at forth between her face up close and the monitor, I was more worried than sad – probably because I was too occupied by the task at hand.

I left the trauma bay as the medical staff dispersed after she was pronounced dead. She was left on the stretcher, and I wish I had stayed to find out what happened to her after. Since the patient died, she was no longer a surgery patient and so we left, but who puts her away? Who informs her parents? Who takes her out of the trauma bay so that the next unfortunate human being can occupy that space? What happens to our patients after they are dead?

I did not cry after that red trauma – I went back to work with a heavy heart, but things went back to normal. As I was emailing my dad later in the day to wish him a happy father’s day, a tear drop trickled down my face, but no one saw it, and I did not know why I could only keep it together up until then. And even then, it was just a drop – seems so inadequate for what we lost, what I lost.

Later in the day she was on the local news. She was an honors student and had just parted with her mom shortly before she got hit by the bus to go to school. The bus driver has had traffic violations in the past and was nowhere to be found. Her family was crying.

I would never forget her face – her empty stare and blood-shot eyes, her left hand dangling off the stretcher gracing on my leg as I labored away to get her heart working. I would never forget her tiny little body and her cut bra straps, her paper-white feet and the blood weakly pulsating out of her nose as I looked at her for the last time before I walked away, her black straight hair in front of her forehead.

I found a news report of her online. I saw a picture of her prior to the trauma – I see the resemblance of the girl that I came to know, but the realities are so far apart that I don’t think I’ll be able to understand or imagine what she was like before today. To me, she will always be the girl we could not save - the girl that modern medicine could not save.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Written in October

I’m quite depressed…

Mostly because of the world and where it is heading of late…

The economy is in a slump worldwide, potentially because of the action of one man or the decisions of only one country, although I do hope that it takes more than one man for the world to collapse

Thailand is at a political impasse, because the supposedly-intelligent minority is so fixated on the hatred of one man that it is willing to undo years to democracy that my parents and our ancestors have fought for…

People seem to be meaner and ruder to each other, both on the national level and the personal level…

Why is it that human accomplishment is measured with a house and 2 cars, and why do the majority of us strive for such an arbitrary measure when they know it is unattainable for them?

Why is it that people pay tons of money to have a wedding, when that money can be put to better use, like paying for our children’s education, if not spent on others who need it more than we do?

Why must there be cakes at wedding? Why must brides wear white dresses? Why are wedding rings made of diamonds?

Because De Beers picked a random gem and said they are forever? Sounds like a lousy reason to allow for diamond-funded massacre in Africa.

Why are our decisions based on conformism, and not on reasons?

Why aren’t human life goals to help others, to help our own kind, to make a difference, to be missed when we are gone?

Aren’t these more sensible than wedding cakes?

What can we accomplish with making a million dollars before the age of 25? With living in a nice apartment on the Upper East Side? With a huge rock on the left ring finger?

With having a house and 2 cars?

The guy 2 doors down probably won’t even know we have it, and he definitely could not care less if it were gone.

This Christmas, I wish for a world where people are nicer to one another, because that would be the reasonable thing to do.