flashback to 2002, i was a house orderly at a local hospital. i had to service all needs for the hospital from 7pm to 330am. so many times did i get paged to the er. and always a quick response. i loved it down there. always something to do, i was new and eager to learn and help. as the orderly i was responsible for delivering off hours food, transport, ekg's, running various items where needed, medical records, and cpr in the event of a code.
my first code was pretty much in my first week still in orientation with a preceptor. my shift was just about over, i was paged and ran down to the er. i saw what was going on, announced my presence and stepped up. i remember cracking a few ribs on this person's hard barrel-shaped chest. three or four times we got a rhythm with a pulse, and ultimately did that patient pass. i was devastated. this wasn't supposed to happen. i respond, i step up, i compress, i help, i save. that's what was advertised to me, "help save lives".
i'd never seen a dead body, much less touched one. the others stopped what they were doing, cleaned up a few things and left myself and the primary nurse in the room. i stepped out and sat on the floor against the wall. Jane came up to me and saw my face and read my mind. her words in verbatim were "when something like this happens, we act quickly and do what we can. but ultimately if it is their time, it is their time. just know that we did everything possible to prevent this from happening. when you get home, you should think about whether this is something you want to and can do. and if it is, we'd be glad to have your help."
the next day i was early for my shift.