Friday, December 2, 2011

Breaking Dawn & Real Life Emergencies

My daughter and I took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to see Breaking Dawn. While there, something happened to make me pause and acknowledge The Warrior Series hits closer to home than I previously realized.

We were sitting in the middle of the pitch-black and completely packed theatre and watching Renesmee’s birth, an especially bloody scene.  Suddenly, a voice overpowered the action holding our attention.  The words uttered were those you never want to hear…ones that instantaneously pump adrenaline through your veins.  “SOMEBODY CALL 911!”  Without delay, I popped up, looked back, and saw several people standing.  Before I could move, my daughter said, “Go help, Mom!”
It’s been years since I’ve performed hands-on patient care, but jumping into action was second nature for me because of the time I spent in ICUs.  I rushed to the top of the theatre, squeezing past people still sitting in their chairs like the movie was more important.  “I’m a nurse, please excuse me,” I said passing each movie-goer.  Realizing the critical nature of what was happening, they finally began rising and clearing the area. 
At the end of the row and against the wall, I found a twenty-four-year-old man who was no larger than a very young teenage boy.  He was pale, clammy, and sinking down into his seat and toward the floor.  I grabbed his wrist and – frightening me more than anything – found his pulse so weak and thready it was almost nonexistent. 

Worried about what I had just blindly encountered and mentally preparing for the worst, I heard a woman behind me say, “I’m a pediatrician.  Let’s get his legs elevated.”  I immediately followed her instructions.  We lifted the arms on several of the movie seats and spread him out.  I knelt on a chair and held his legs as high as possible. 
All around, I heard people making the 911 calls, asking questions of the man’s mother, and conveying the information back to the operators.  She told the messengers her son had been known to pass out when the doctor’s office drew his blood.  Everyone instantly assumed the bloody scene had elicited this man’s reaction, one eerily similar to Bella’s in Twilight when she was exposed to bloody finger pricks. 

While waiting for the ambulance, I rubbed the young man’s legs, wordlessly assuring him he would be fine.   After a few minutes, the pediatrician confirmed the boy’s pulse was getting stronger, and he began looking better. Before EMS arrived, my newest friend (one whose name I’ll never know, but a man I’ll never forget), said, “I think I’ve ruined vampire movies for myself.”  Everyone’s anxiety was quickly relieved with his ability to make a joke and poke fun at himself at a time when an entire theatre of people was standing over him and staring him down.
Afterwards, my daughter – joking – looked at me and said, “I’m never going anywhere with you again.  This happens every time.”  I stared at her trying to understand what she meant.  Then, it occurred to me she was not literally right, but she was correct that I had been involved in similiar situations on numerous occasions…and she was present for a few of them.

Last Christmas, she and I were shopping when a woman collapsed to the ground right in front of us.  As soon as she fell, a door slammed onto her ankle.  Checking on her and trying to decide what needed to be done, I found that she was a diabetic who had not eaten after injecting her insulin.  After she was stable, I offered to drive her to the emergency room.  She refused, but we did not leave her side until we knew she had someone to make sure she was safe.
A few months before that, I was driving home from work.  I was on the feeder road – in the middle of Houston – talking to my husband on the phone and letting him know I was on my way. From the corner of my eye I saw something in an abandoned parking lot that was surreal.  A grown man had a small boy on the ground beating him with a belt.  Protecting himself from the very violent lashes, the boy curled in a ball.  When he did, the man began kicking him. 

My instincts took control.  I stopped in the middle of the road, laid down on the horn, rolled the window down, and began screaming for the man to stop beating the boy.  Fortunately, he stopped.  I waited where I was (unable to make it to the parking lot from my location), hung up with my husband, and called 911.  The man made some threats geared toward hurting me, picked the boy up, threw him in the car, and dared me to follow him.  I provided the license plate number to the police, but they called back later and told me they had not located the car, man, or boy.
While I have been involved in many other unexpected emergencies involving coaches, friends, and co-workers, the most memorable incident happened while my family and I were out having dinner.  A hysterical woman rushed into our dining room, “DOES ANYONE KNOW CPR?”  As soon as the words were out of her mouth, I jumped up, handed my son over, and followed her to the next room.  There, I found her husband in cardiac arrest.  One of the restaurant’s workers joined me in performing CPR while the wife knelt by us and begged us not to give up…for us save him.  After several minutes, we were successful in getting his heart beating again.  EMS took over when they arrived, and I was escorted back to my dining room. 

I may never know the exact outcome of most of these situations, but I’ll forever be grateful God embedded a passion in my heart to step up and help those who can’t help themselves.  While I’m in no way glad that these emergencies happened, I realize now that every action, reaction, and emotion encountered during these crisis have become critical parts of my books.  I’ve come to learn, writing about them allows me to process the incident and sort through the powerful emotions which are stirred up afterwards.  Despite my formal training and experience. 
Feel free to share with me some of your own heroic experiences.  Also, let me know if you would mind if I change your version up a bit in order to use it in a future Warrior Series book (if ever a scene arrives where it would fit perfectly).