Him.

Published October 4, 2017 by Chloe Madison

News stories are emerging about him. Preliminary reports say it was a heart attack, pending a toxicology report from the coroner’s office. 

I have no one to talk to about this. I was trained to not discuss the gory details of medical calls with family and friends. They didn’t sign up for the job. They’re not prepared, nor equipped to handle gory recounting of details of death and dismemberment. Only in cases of mass incidents or the death of children, would we be offered a counseling session to talk things out. So I feel it would be wrong for me to try to talk to someone about this. It’s not fair to put this on friends or family. I understand that. I don’t even think I should tell my therapist- I don’t know that she could handle the whole story with all the gory details that are haunting me. I don’t think so. It’s driving me so mad that I thought about asking her to reschedule our appointment sooner because I can’t handle this anymore.

I’m pretty sure I carry this weight alone. And I guess that’s ok. 

Sleeping pills aren’t working. I haven’t slept well in days. Tonight, I’m going to take and do all I can just to sleep. Truthfully, I’m going to get as messed up as possible. I know that sounds incredibly immature, but I’m desperate for a respite here. 

I see him all the time. The disparity in how he was when he was alive to how I saw him when I spent all those hours with him…I just can’t get it out of my head. I mean, where do you put all of that anyway? Where does it belong? At any rate, I have no control over it. It comes to me constantly and I see him. 

I see his smile and remember him as he was talking with his son by the lake. Then I see his open mouth when he was dead…his teeth, his tongue lolled back, the blood…I hear the gurgling when he would receive breaths.

I can’t handle this right now. I feel like I should be able to, but I can’t. I want to run, to go away…I long to escape…it’s almost unbearable how much I want and need that. 

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I don’t know where God is.

Published October 2, 2017 by Chloe Madison

The only piece of good news is that I heard from Brian. I sent him the pictures and he said “it has helped a lot knowing there are so many good people here with me.” We live in the same city so I offered to meet up with him or talk with him any time he needs. I’ll check back frequently to make sure he’s ok. 

Vegas. I can’t even begin to imagine how tragic that has been for everyone– victims, families, survivors, first responders. I’m so angry that one person chose to destroy so many lives. I’m in awe of the stories of real heroes that have emerged of the many people that threw themselves on top of others to protect them. God bless them all. 

Today found out more about the suicide in my building. I didn’t know the man- had actually never seen him. He used a bunch of fentanyl patches. I’d never thought about that before. Looks especially potent when mixed with alcohol. That would be too easy.

 

I can’t stop seeing Jason’s face. I’ve stared at him in my pictures and in his photos from Facebook. He looks so alive and intelligent and sprightly. I keep thinking about how he looked all those hours that I was with him, lifeless, on the mountain.

I don’t know where God is in all of this.

I have this urgent and overwhelming need to escape. Like I need to walk away from everything…

Imploding

Published October 2, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Oh my God, I think I’m really going crazy. This is too much…

I found the man’s son, Brian, on Facebook. Before I messaged him, I wanted to make sure it was the right person. He’s smiling in all his FB pics, but I only saw him crying and yelling out in grief. So I looked at his friend’s list and found his dad. His name was Jason.

There he was. 

Living.

Breathing. Smiling. 

And then more pictures…he had more children! Brian was his adult son, but there are many, many pictures with two much younger children, a boy and a girl. 

I thought of them dealing with the loss of their father. And then it made me glad we worked on him for so long. We worked on him for these children. We tried. It just wasn’t meant to be. 

I cried and cried as I looked at him living his life. I kept telling him, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”  I pictured him as I saw him in death as I was trying to revive him.

And then I realized… At the time we were working on him, I knew I had seen them earlier that day, photographing sunrise at the lake. And sure enough, I checked my pictures and there they were. I took pictures of the lake and they were standing in front of me…so their backs were turned. But in one picture, Jason was talking to his son, Brian. You can see Jason’s face, as clear as day. 

At this point, I had already messaged Brian on FB, offering my condolences and offering to talk if/ when he needed. So I messaged him again, letting him know I’d found pics of him and his dad. I’m not sure he’s ready for that…but whenever he is, he might want those moments captured on film. I don’t know. 

What I do know is that this is devastating me. More than it should (?) The fact that he had young children tears me to pieces, but it makes me feel better about working on him so long. I feel like I’m not strong enough…I’m not in the right state of mind… to handle this right now. It’s imploding inside me.

His face

Published October 1, 2017 by Chloe Madison

I woke up seeing his face. I decided to stare at him for a while. My initial thought was to push him away…but I thought, why? He didn’t do anything wrong. And yesterday, I had stared at him for hours. His face is seared into my memory. 

The more I think about it, the more I realize we worked on him way, way too long. I’ll spare all the gory details, but those are what’s pointing me to the fact that we should have stopped sooner. But again, we only continued because of his son. 

It wasn’t so traumatizing that so many hours were spent with the deceased, it’s that I/ we worked on him for so long. That was and is what’s traumatizing. I’m not sure if that even makes sense.

It’s just messing with me now. The look on his face, his eyes, his mouth, the color and consistency of his body…his belly and ankles… the gurgling… hearing and seeing his grieving son…

Then there’s the fact that I wish it were me. At least there’d be no loss to this world…there’d be no grieving family…

Dead Inside

Published October 1, 2017 by Chloe Madison

I don’t even know where to begin. 

I was hiking in the mountains today. My only winter coat is my fire jacket so I was wearing it (though I’m no longer in the fire service) because it was freezing out. 

On my way back down the trail, a passerby saw I was wearing it and flagged me down in a panic. She said people were giving CPR to a guy on the trail and asked if I had any gear. I didn’t, but told her I’d go help. I ran, dragging my poor little dog behind me. 

When I arrived on scene, the man was DOA. There were already two MDs and a nurse on the scene, who were other fellow hikers who stopped to help. They were still performing CPR and I quickly realized it was simply to appease his adult son, who was still telling him, “C’mon, dad!” There were so many people who stopped to help…that I had to get in line to do chest compressions. People were taking turns working on him. That was amazing to see. It felt weird doing compressions on someone who already passed, but I guess we were doing all we could so his son would have more peace knowing everything possible was done to save his father. 

I volunteered to run down the mountain and assist with carrying up equipment/ stretcher to carry him out. Flight for life couldn’t land so he had to be carried down. 

I know we did all we could to help him. I saw the MD at the bottom of the mountain and told her she was amazing. She broke down and threw her arms around me, saying over and over, “You first responders are used to this! I’ve never done this before- I’m a family practitioner- I’ve never done this!” She went on to tell me how she didn’t know if what she did was right. I reassured her, saying how continuing CPR for a time was beneficial for his son and her calling it and stopping it when she did, was necessary. 

I was so impressed with humanity in this time of crisis for these two people. So many people stopped to help, so many took turns giving chest compressions: one MD had taken charge of the scene, the other MD helped with compressions and gave breaths, the nurse kept time and traded people out when they were tired, and another group of women consoled the son during all of this. Two other people ran either way on the trail yelling out for help, a third person ran all the way down to the ranger station for help, and another used some kind of emergency beacon he was carrying to summon emergency services. Another sweet girl took care of my dog while I gave compressions and when I ran down the trail and back up with emergency personnel.

It was heart wrenching to see the man’s son realize what was happening. I realized how fragile life is, how he didn’t know when he was eating breakfast this morning, that it would be his last. He had come to visit his son. And this is how it ended.

As I kneeled in the cold, wet mud giving compressions, I looked at the man’s face and into his eyes. Then I focused my attention on his chest and the compressions, thinking about my timing and about his son. 

Part of me thinks it was for nothing, but I know that us staying there and working on him helped his son cope a bit better. I feel so terrible for his son. I’ve already tried to find him on social media. I wanted to reach out and offer condolences or any other help he might need. I haven’t found him yet but I’ll continue to look. 

As I headed down the trail, I couldn’t help but cry. I thought how it would have been better if it was me who died and not that man. Almost immediately, I thought that I wouldn’t want all those people wasting time on me- trying to help revive me. The good thing is there would be no upset family member there having to deal with it.

I’ve been wandering around in a stupor since this occurred. 

I feel selfish for even telling my point of view on this. I guess I’m just trying to process.

a

Published September 27, 2017 by Chloe Madison

I’m trying so hard to be positive. And frankly, I think I’ve been doing a really good job of it lately. It is so difficult though. I feel like I’m pretending with even myself. I have no one here anyway. Today- I don’t know why- I just kept breaking down crying. I kept sucking it up, saying everything was fine….lying to myself. 

I’m doing what I can to distract myself…really going out of my way to do so. And yet, I find that self-medication is a daily occurrence. I feel a million miles away from everyone…from every thing. 

I feel like this will never end. I heard a Korn song today that said:

“It ain’t fading 

Man I gotta let it out

Am I crazy?

Screaming- nothing ever comes out

I keep feeling lost

I’ll never find my way out

I’m not thanking them

Unless the truth can pour out

Give me some courage

Beating me down now for some time

Are you laughing? Am I funny?

I hate inside,

I hate inside.

I’ll take this time

To let out what’s inside

Cause I will break

Sometimes I wish you’d die

Full of sorrow

You raped and stole my pride.

And all this hate is bottled up inside

My heart’s breaking

Man you really ripped it out

You take pleasure watching as

I claw my way out

The hurt rising

Soon it’s gonna tear my soul out

It’s not kosher feeling like I’m on my way out

Give me some courage

Beating me down now for some time

Are you laughing? Am I funny?

I hate inside,

I hate inside.

I’ll take this time

To let out what’s inside

Cause I will break

Sometimes I wish you’d die

Full of sorrow

You raped and stole my pride.

And all this hate is bottled up inside

Feeling the haze as they cut down my spine

Peeling your flesh like the way you’ve cut mine

Do you feel happy? You fucked up my mind

You’re going to pay this time!

I’ll take this time

To let out what’s inside

Cause I will break

Sometimes I wish you’d die

Full of sorrow

You raped and stole my pride.

And all this hate is bottled up inside”