Around 2:00 P.M. the usual monotony that I had grown accustomed to each day at work was disrupted by the clamor of nurses, paramedics, and ER technicians. They were quickly escorting an unconscious patient extended upon a gurney into room eight where he would soon be placed onto a hospital bed. I could tell by the looks on everyone’s faces that something particularly serious was taking place, and I was right; this was a code blue. This patient’s breathing and heart had stopped, but as I was contemplating all of this they were gone. They had taken him into the room and the door had been shut almost immediately. I had no real reason to go into that room working only as a nursing assistant, but I was compelled to anyway out of interest and curiosity. When I opened the door and stepped into the room, CPR was being administered by the technicians and nurses and air was being directly pumped into the patient’s lungs through a tube. I watched this ritual for a good fifteen to twenty minutes, but it seemed to take so much longer. When the doctor pronounced the man dead, I felt exhausted. Later I learned that the man in room eight was only a twenty-one year old construction worker who had planned on getting married in two months.
Only a few weeks after that I experienced the reality of death again. Another code blue had arrived, but this time it was just a child. A six-year-old boy had been found drowning in a pool while at day care and by the time he was rushed to the emergency room it was much too late to save him. As I thought of how unfair this life can be and just how undeserving this child was of death I became both incensed and depressed.
I’ve never been one to look on the bright side of things. I’ve always been pretty cynical and paranoid, but after experiencing death while working in the ER, I became aware of just how bleak my perception of life had become. I was terrified of believing in the temporary and unknown and afraid of becoming too attached to my family and friends because I wouldn’t be able to rely on them forever to provide some kind of stability in my life.
After witnessing the construction worker’s death I wondered whether I’d live long enough to get married or if I’d even make it to twenty-one years of age. I thought about how his dreams and aspirations would never be realized and how my own potential could just as easily be snuffed out at any moment. The child’s passing was even more disillusioning because while the construction worker had lived long enough to dream of future goals, this six-year old boy probably couldn’t have imagined life away from his parents; He had barely lived. Both of these incidents opened my eyes to how temporal life really is. I know that everyone experiences fear and doubt, but if you let these feelings prevent you from doing the things you want, you’re not really living. To truly live is to take risks and to constantly move forward despite how afraid or uncertain you are because life is too short to stay in one place.
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