One day in 1998, I called my mom, as I still do, the morning after my first bad flight as a Medic in the U.S. Army. The training accident made the Associated Press ticker and the front page of at least two papers as far away as Florida and Michigan.
He was 19 years old, engaged and a father. I was left alone with him as another flight medic and the flight physician prepped to transfer him to the ER at a level one trauma center in San Bernardino County. His heart, beating strongly about 85 times a minute, sped up to the mid 100s and almost instantly slow down to nothing. The monitor squiggles stopped.
At the time I didn’t realize that was the classic response for a heart no longer controlled by the brainstem. His brain herniated. The young soldier died right in front of me and there was nothing I could do.
I will never forget that afternoon as long as I live.
Lansing State Journal, 20 June 1998
“Emily, you need to never do anything else with your life,” was my mother’s response. At 24 years old, I understood to my soul that she was right.
Orlando Sentinel, 20 June 1998
Seven years passed between my last mission as a flight medic and my first mission as a flight nurse. Never once during those intervening years did I lose track of what mom said to me that morning. Never once did I forget that soldier, my first patient.
Over the past four years, sharing my life through this blog has been a natural extension of who I am. Being able to now write about my life as a flight nurse has brought everything full circle.
Thanks to the many of you whom have taken the time to ask me about becoming a flight nurse. Your questions have motivated me to attempt another long term goal, writing a book. For now, it will be saved here as part of my blog: a multi-media version of both who I am and what being a flight nurse is all about.