Saturday, December 14, 2019

6 Children, A Mother's Death and Me at the Crossroads

I was working a rare morning shift when we received a call for a cardiac arrest, CPR being performed by the victim's daughter. Lights and sirens screaming we pull up to the building in no more than 2 minutes. We hustle up to the apartment where the door is opened. We walk inside. I look to my left into the bedroom and see a woman on the floor on her back. Doing chest compressions is a girl approximately 12 years hold. I gently take the girl by the arm and move her out of the way and as I do I see 5 children probably between 5 and 10 years old looking on, mouths agape and eyes stretched wide open, trying to comprehend the scene before them. None crying.. I look down at the woman, do a quick check and immediately see that the woman must have died hours before during the night as when I put my hand on her chest and it was cold as ice. I tried to pick up her chin to close her mouth:Rigor Mortis (we had specific guidelines who we could pronounce dead: those obviously dead from trauma, dependent lividity: signs of pooling of blood inside the body and rigor mortis which manifests itself as stiffening of limbs and joints)
Now we had the right to pronounce the patient dead right there and not carry her down 5 flights of stairs acting as if she still had a chance.Then the doctor in the emergency room going to be a pain the the ass for bringing an obviously dead person into his emergency room Too bad. Not Jesus or the Devil was going to make me leave that woman in front of those six kids. I at least wanted them to relive that day with the thought that at least everything possible was done for their mother.Also didn't want that to be their last memory of her.So we started going through the motions of performing CPR. Just then I looked up and saw a female police officer moving the children into the next room. In an instant I was overcome by an emotion that literally shook me. It took a moment to realize but what it was. It felt as if I received a jolt to my soul:

 At this exact moment the lives of these children would change for ever. Their mother, their protector was now gone and their lives would be changed forever. She was being carried out the door never to return Those children were standing at the crossroads that would likely shape the rest of their lives. AND I WAS THERE!. I was part of the whole thing. I was part of this gigantic hole that would change these poor children's lives forever.
It was one of the most soul shaking events of my life and after 20 years I can still feel it at times when my children are asleep and the house is quiet. What happened to those kids? Do they remember me? Over and over these thought run through my head.Sometimes I wish I knew. Sometimes, no.