Customer Relationship Management Software

CRM Software?

Posted in Other Writing on February 16, 2010 by medic61

She used to yearn for silence; she tried a professional career in CRM software systems, however, she felt the quiet helped her clear her mind. She’d go for long trail rides on her horse in the field behind her school, and she’d only hear the padding of his hooves on the soft ground, or the juicy scrunching noises he made when he stopped for grass. She loved how the birds chirping sounded like yellow, and the chewing sounded like green. She loved how the breeze blowing sounded like blue, and how it all sounded calm.

Quiet moments were few and far between, and the only times she felt at peace. No one was yelling or arguing; no one was crying.

But when she grew up, she found that silence was the enemy. It followed after she admitted her feelings to that boy who sat in front of her in geometry. Silence came when she put her report card down on the table. The quiet was everywhere whenever she spoke her mind.

So she fell asleep with the television blaring, and listened to music while she studied. She’d call the first person in her phone book on the short drive home so she wouldn’t be alone with her silence. She grew to learn that the quiet moments were where she lost her sanity.

(I have no way to finish this, but it’s a start, and I felt like putting it up would maybe push me to finish it. Maybe not. But like I said, I’m going for quantity over quality right now.)

The Screaming Bridge

Posted in Miscellaneous, Other Writing on February 14, 2010 by medic61

I talked once about a bridge that we often drive under on our way to a call. When we run lights and siren, the sound echoes off the bridge; it’s one of my most favorite things ever. Last spring, I wrote a poem about it, and I figured I’d share it here. I’m really trying to post more (and more often), because I think that with more quantity, I’ll find more inspiration, and I’ll produce quality posts. Thank you, again, for always bearing with me and supporting me the way you all do. Anyway, without further ado, here is “The Screaming Bridge.”

——————————————–

Crumbling at the corners, the bridge stands alone against the sapphire night,
between me and the sick.
The siren wails, urging me forward.

I remember the screams.
As the bridge approaches, the lights ricochet off every facet,
the siren wavers, hesitating at the height of its pitch.

The bridge screams back.

Obituary, or, The Death of a Muse

Posted in Miscellaneous, Other Writing on February 3, 2010 by medic61

In early March, the muse was injured whilst crossing the street. It’s unfortunate, really, as she was only a few years old, just now starting to blossom into that shaky adolescence where she might have one day realized her potential. She was struck down as she was hurrying back home with an armful of daisies and a paper bag full of clementines. The scene was one of chaos, as passersby didn’t know whether to try and save the muse, the flowers, or the fruit.

She remained in the street, struggling for several months until she finally met her untimely end. Trying several times (in vain) to get back on her feet, her body finally gave up, much to the dismay of the few kind medics trying to save her.

One anonymous medic was quoted as saying, “it’s too bad she died, she was kind of pretty.” Another, when asked about his feelings on her death, said, “wait, who?” It is clear that she will be missed by all.

She is survived by her author, who can be heard cursing as she paces around the house. Her author remembers her simply as “a timid voice who loved to wake me at all hours of the night to put pen to paper or fingers to keys.”

In lieu of flowers, it is asked that you please send inspiration (or money) to ontheclockblog@gmail.com. A memorial service will be held right here, right now.

Fireworks

Posted in Other Writing on October 16, 2009 by medic61

It’s been a long time coming, but I guess you kind of forgot about that. At first you waited, wanting it, begging for the release. It never came, so you moved on. Hurt piled on top of hurt. Boyfriends and teachers, parents, strangers and friends–they all added to the pain. Secrets, lies and thinly veiled normalcy became just another facet of your strange, twisted life. But with every lie, every disappointment, you pushed it deeper into your heart, farther out of reach.

You didn’t turn to anything for help. No drugs or alcohol, but you kind of wish you had. If you turned to an addiction, then you could admit something was wrong. Instead, though, you stuck with what you thought was best–ignoring it. That worked (for a while, that is) and you felt grateful that people could ask “how are you,” and you could say “great,” and no one would second guess you. No one would treat you like the broken girl you are.

But suddenly you find yourself in an airplane, several thousand feet above the ground. 7F, the window seat in the middle left, looking over the wing; it’s your favorite. You sit next to a stranger twice your size, so you scoot closer to the window.

Earphones in, shade up, you watch the world go by. The 7:27 direct to Albany carries you through the Philadelphia night sky. Below, you see a football game where some high school is about to lose their homecoming. They unknowingly shoot off fireworks, and little green and red tufts explode below you; you never knew anything that huge could be that small.

And then it hits you. For the first time in years, you’re alone. No one knows you in the sky or on the ground below you. No one knows your story, your heartache. No one knows the hole that has carved itself out of your soul. Not even those fireworks can touch you.

So then it comes. Waves of tears wash over you, and you are born again. Sobs explode from your chest like the fireworks below. Sadness and grief start filling in that hole, pain replaced by acceptance. You’ll never understand the pain, but now you acknowledge it. 7E looks over at you strangely, pushing himself farther toward the aisle. Fuck him. Fuck them all, this isn’t about them, this is about you. Tears drop onto your shirt, washing it of the filth, and you smile.

As the explosions fade from view, you breathe deeply.

Strangers

Posted in Other Writing on January 15, 2009 by medic61

“There’s something to be said for the novelty of strangers,” I think to myself as I skim the pages in my battered and abused book. I’ve read the words many times before; I don’t need to focus to take them in. By now they’ve patterned themselves on the wall of my heart.

“After all, every friend I ever had was once a stranger. Every person I’ve ever loved was just an anonymous face at one point in time. When I meet someone, who knows if they could be my next close friend, the one great love of my life, or just another person whose presence I’ll forget with the passing of time. I wonder if that girl I chatted with at McDonalds will remember my name, or if the man I talked to while scheduling a doctor’s appointment will remember the joke he made.”

My fingers turn over another page in the book, as calloused fingertips avoid another paper cut. My eyes track the underlined, annotated, highlighted, and circled words on the page, but my mind continues on its tangent.

“But it’s so weird the way every life I come into contact with changes my course indefinitely. Every smile I see, every word I hear, every time I’m ignored; it all matters. It all causes me to think a specific thought which causes me to somehow take a specific action which causes the rest of my thoughts and actions to unfold. I depend completely on every tiny thing that happens for the way my life is right now. Change just one thing, and the outcome is different.”

My head hurts. I can’t decide if it’s the thoughts I’m thinking, the cold air on my shoulders, or the fact that my eyes are reading words my brain doesn’t even acknowledge. Another page turns as if beyond my control, and my ears tune out the television droning on in front of me.

I mull over six degrees of separation.  How I know a guy who dated a girl who’s related to a cast member of Scrubs.  And how then I’m connected to that cast member and all of his friends.  Everyone who is so far is really so close.

I wonder how lives would be different if it weren’t Drew, Eric and I who responded to a call. What if another crew went? Would that change whether someone lived or died? What would it alter in the grand scheme of things?

I bite my lip absentmindedly in curiosity and frustration, and it starts to bleed.

“Oh hell,” I mutter under my breath as I pull out some chapstick to remedy the situation. My eyes are still locked on the book, though I taste iron between my teeth and mint on my lips.

“Ms. Montgomery?”
“Mmm…hmm?” I look up as I clamp a book mark onto the page. It doesn’t really matter much, since I could pick up anywhere and be happy, but I stand on ceremony.
“Your car’s ready, Sam.”
“Oh! So soon!?”
“Yep,” he nods as he hands over my keys.
“Thanks so much!”
“Not a problem. You have a good day and a safe drive back to school!”

I take my keys and go to pay.

——————————————————————————-
Post-script: Sorry it’s not an EMS story; I haven’t run a call since I was in the hospital. Grr! I just felt the need to write so I just wrote a little half-true story about my day. But I promise to bring you fun and exciting Sam/Drew/Eric stories soon! Also, would you please be so kind as to vote for On the Clock here? Voting ends soon! Thank you :)

Beep.

Posted in Other Writing on December 18, 2008 by medic61

Several thoughts crossed my mind as I stared up at the ceiling at three in the morning. The first was, Please, God, don’t let me throw up. The second was Why do I feel nauseated all of a sudden? I didn’t have time to consider the third, because I had switched my focus to making it to the bathroom in time in order to avoid decorating myself with vomit.

It had been a while since I had thrown up.  I forgot that feeling of a complete lack of control that came along with it.  Resting my head on the toilet seat I knew to be crawling with my own bacteria, I pushed sweaty hair off my face.  “Food poisoning,” I said aloud to no one in particular.

Pulling a phenergan from my “chronic migraine” stash, I grimaced as I tried to swallow it.  Just thirty minutes, and the nausea will be gone. I laid back down in bed, closed my eyes, and waited for sleep to come.

Five o’clock comes fast when you haven’t been sleeping well to begin with.  I rolled over from my side to my back and stared at that familiar place on the ceiling.  No, I assured myself, you aren’t going to throw up again. I bargained with God.  I counted backwards from 100.  I tried not to think of food.  But I found my face inches from 2000-Flushes-blue water within seconds.  My body felt like it was trying to squeeze the very life out of me as it got rid of whatever toxins were plaguing it.

I’ll feel better now, I reminded myself, throwing up makes the nausea go away. I tried to ignore the fact that I had already taken nausea medication as I put a thermometer under my tongue.

Beep.
“101.5,” I sighed, defeated.  It was obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep again as I went to the fridge for some water.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate I could hear my dad saying.  I poured a glass and sipped it slowly.  I took some tylenol for my fever, and waited.  My stomach churned in adamant disagreement.  Thirty seconds later, I was face-to-face with my familiar friend once again.  That worked well, my brain chimed in sarcastically.

I was supposed to take my roommate out for coffee so we could study for exams.  Then, I was going to be my boyfriend’s date to a wedding.  I really wanted to do both of these things, but as I considered my options, my thoughts were interrupted.

Beep.
The thermometer showed me “102.8,” and I knew it wasn’t happening.  I knocked on her door quietly and jumped when she responded.

“Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I’m not going to be able to take us out today…I’ve been throwing up, and I have a pretty significant fever, not to mention the fact that I keep almost passing out whenever I stand up.”

I hadn’t addressed that issue in my mind yet.  Every time I stood up, I felt a little faint and saw the world closing in around me.  I’d sit right back down, but I still felt woozy.  I knew this wasn’t good, but I refused to let it get me down.

Beep.
“Hey Mom, I know you’re at church right now, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m a little sick.  I’ve got a fever of 102.8, and I’m throwing up regularly.  I’ve taken tylenol and phenergan but can’t keep anything down.  Could you call me back with some suggestions?”

I curled back into my comforter and tried to get comfortable.  My stomach developed a really bad pain in the upper right quadrant, but seeing how it was paired with a sharp left-shoulder pain, I brushed it off as gas.  I shook violently, the fever beginning to consume me.

Beep.
“Hey Mom, it’s me again.  I know you’re still in church, but I just wanted to update you.  I’m feeling really, really bad right now, and I’m concerned by how fast I got so sick.  Just give me a call back when you get this?  Thanks.”

I tried to close my eyes.  I tried to crawl to the bathroom every time the nausea overcame me, but the orthostatic changes were too much.  I dragged a trash can next to my bed and tried to situate it so I could just aim and be okay.

I began to notice that things weren’t making sense.  I saw people in my room that I knew couldn’t be there, like my Dad.  I carried on a conversation with him about Physics, until I realized that he was in Antarctica and there was no way he could be sitting on the foot of my bed.

Beep.
“Mom. It’s me. I’m…I’m really having a hard time thinking right now.  Can you please call me back…and…and just tell me what to do?  I…I’m so sick, Mom.”

Hit by a wave of lucidity, I called the church.

“H-hello?”
“Yes? Can I help you?”
“I need to speak to my mom…this is Sam Montgomery.”
“Oh hi, Sam. Your mom is in church right now.”
“Right, right…I’m really sick…can you please have her call me back?”
“Sam, hang on a second, okay? I’m going to go get her and she’ll call you right back.”
“Okay thank you.”

I let my head fall against my hand and tried to save the conversation for the mother who was about to call me on the phone, not the one standing in my doorway.

“Sam, it’s Mom. I just got your messages. My phone was on silent.”
“Mmm, mmhmm,” I murmured.
“You need to go to the urgent care center, okay? Like…five minutes ago.”
“Urgent care. Got it.”

I stood up and hit the ground, not realizing I had blacked out completely until I addressed the fact that I was staring at the legs of my chair.

Right, I confirmed to myself, so I’m not driving there. I grabbed my phone and called the first person I could think of, who was in another city at the time.

“Sam, let me get my girlfriend on the phone and she can take you, okay?”
“Okay.”

Beep.
I had missed her call. Too preoccupied with the feel of the carpet on my face, I had completely missed the phone vibrating and singing in my palm.

I got her back on the phone, and she told me that she could give me a ride there, but had food in the oven so she couldn’t stay with me. That was fine by me, I knew I could figure out how to get back at a later time, I just needed to be there immediately. We arranged to meet outside.

Using the wall as support, I made it from my room to the door. I opened the door and let it close as I leaned up against the wall. The universe started spinning again as it darkened, so I let myself find a place on the floor. I crawled to the elevator and put my face on the cold floor.

Maybe I just won’t get out of this elevator. The floor is so nice and cool on my warm face. Perhaps I can just die here? Then I won’t have to hurt and hallucinate and vomit and shake. That would be better, I think. Sam. Get up. Go to the car. You’re stronger than that.

Beep.
The door chimed in the urgent care center as my friend helped me to the desk.

“I hope you feel better, okay? Let me know if you need anything.”
“Thank you so, so much.”

I wrote my name down quickly, my hand shaking the cursive of my round letters. I set my things down in the first chair I saw as I dashed toward the bathroom. After throwing up bile, I stood up to walk back to the chair. Spinning darkness made its way into my head again, and I awoke to find myself in a wheelchair.

“Can you hear me?”
“H-huh?”

Beep.
“Oh…oh, my.”
“W-what? What’s going on?”
“Ma’am, your blood pressure is 70/30. Let me go get the doctor.”

“Mmm. Right. Does this hurt?”
“Yes, yeah, um, could you not do that please,” I protested as I squirmed under his hand.
“Something’s not right.” I looked at him suspiciously from under my glasses.
“I realize that.” I tried not to sound too sarcastic.
“Yeah, we’re not letting you go home. You have to go to the hospital right now.”

I groaned as I sat up. A black curtain was making its way into my peripheral vision, so I quickly put my head back down.

“You didn’t drive here, right? Who can we call for you? Do we need to call the ambulance?”
“God no,” I groaned as I imagined some of my favorite medics coming to scoop me off this boring brown table.
“Well you need to get to the hospital somehow.”
“Liz,” I said, “call Liz. I can talk…just please dial for me. Her number is in my phone.”

“I’m on my way,” she said. No hesitation. No questions. Just a promise to be there for me when I needed her most. I wasn’t sure if I could love another human being more at that moment in time.

Beep.
The chime greeted us as she wheeled me into the emergency room. I flashed an employee badge at the security guard and he eyed me strangely.

“Sick, not working this time,” I observed with a smile.
“Welcome to…oh…Sam…whoa-ho-ho, hold on here.”
“Do I look that bad?”
“Like shit,” my favorite greeter observed.
“Well damn, there goes my hope for charming some young doctor into falling in love with the ill lab tech.”
“Like you had a chance anyway,” she winked.

I was in the triage area before I could finish laughing.

Beep.
“102.5″ flashed urgently on the screen as the nurse pulled the thermometer from my mouth.
“See, that’s not a good thing, Sam,” she said as she put a cuff around my arm and a pulse oximiter on my finger.
“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

Beep.
The monitor was screaming at her.
“Your blood pressure is dangerously low, Sam.” I looked over and saw a number, but I wasn’t sure what it was denoting.
“Sorry, what is it?”
“72/30,” she said in a hushed voice, “and your heart is beating 160 times a minute.”
“Um…”
“Yeah.”

She coded me as an orange in the system. Orange is one step under red, I thought as I worried myself further, and red is one step under…well…you don’t want to be red.

They put me in a room and tried to sneakily park a crash cart outside. I could see it from my bed. It was peering at me from the door jamb, creepily eying me from afar. As if I didn’t know what that meant. As if I hadn’t seen them used before. The defibrillator perched precariously on top, like it was just one big shock away from falling off completely.

“Not cool,” I sighed under my breath.

Beep. Beep. Beep.
The monitor was alarming noisily, not shutting up for an instant.
Hey, somebody! This girl’s heart is about to explode it’s beating so fast! Her blood pressure is dangerously low! Hey! Hey, guys!
I could see a little monitor dancing around, shaking its arms frantically. I shook my head clear of the delusion. My fever was spiking and the hallucinations were coming back with avengeance. I felt a heavy hand jostle my shoulder.

“Sam, it’s Matt.”
“Oh hi, Matt,” I said through a little smile.
“Sam, I need you to cough for me.”
“What?”
“Stimulate that vagus nerve okay?”

I coughed as he massaged my carotid artery. I saw the number on the monitor drop a little bit and sighed.

“Not good enough, sweetpea.”
“I tried,” I said with a mock whine.
“I know you did pumpkin. Need any medicine?” He pointed to my wrist. I looked at it, puzzled.
“I have an IV?”
“Yeah…I started it about an hour ago? The lab tech missed twice already?” He pointed at the two antecubital bandages I was sporting.
“What?”
“Yes, Sam…you’ve gotten some IV phenergan and morphine already. Twice, I think.”
“And saline, apparently,” I said as I pointed to the bag.
“Are you okay? Let me get the nurse.”

Beep.
I was awakened by the noise of someone scanning my hospital bracelet. I looked up and saw a large pair of scrubs standing upright.

“We’ve got a bed ready for you upstairs.”
“What?”
“You’re being admitted, Sam.”

I rubbed my eyes hard, and when I opened them, I saw Matt standing next to me again, filling the scrubs I had just seen.

“Admitted?”
“Yeah, the doctor thinks you have an infection.”
“I saw the doctor?”
“Yeah?”
“How long have I been here?”
“About 4 hours.”
“And I can’t leave?”
“Sam…I’m just saying this because you’re my friend, and you’re obviously not up to speed on everything. Your blood pressure is low enough that if we let you go, you could die. You need fluid; you need medicine.”

I looked over at my phone. Missed calls and text messages flashed on the screen.

“Let me make a phone call before we go, okay?”
“Okay.”

Beep.
“Hey Mom. It’s me. Um, they’re admitting me. I’ll probably be out of here tomorrow, though, so don’t panic. They think I could have an infection. A-anyway, I’ll let you know more when I do.”

Adrian

Posted in Other Writing on November 28, 2008 by medic61

This entry is one or three in a perspectives, or “What It’s Like” theme. The idea is to show the sides of Asperger Syndrome from one who has it, or those whom love someone with it.   Please check out the other two at Building Common Ground and Teen Autism.

“Adrian,” I sigh as I push the hair matted by tears out of my face, “I don’t get why you don’t get this!”
“What is there to get? You went to give blood, your veins weren’t big enough, and so they turned you away. Am I right?”

He is right.  But he’s missing something major.  My god brother died of a rare form of cancer when I was eleven.  I know that there’s not much that I can do to help save a life, but that giving blood is one way.  I feel so indebted to those who tried to help save my god brother, that I want to do whatever I can to pay it forward.  When they told me I couldn’t donate, I was devastated.

“Yes, you’re right.”  I shoot him a look that could kill, but he seems to have missed it.
“I can see that it upsets you, but why don’t you just try hydrating or lifting weights or something?”
“I fully plan on it, Adrian,” I say as I spit his name out, “but it doesn’t change how hurt I am about it now.”

When I talk to him, it’s obvious that there’s some sort of disconnect.  He receives everything I’m saying, but something’s lost in translation.  He tries to kiss me, but I push him away with a sigh.  I’m not in the mood to kiss and make up yet.  I have to fume.

“Sam, why can’t you just move on?”
“Nevermind, it’s not important.”

It is important, but I’m just tired of feeling minimalized.

Time goes by, and I think back to that incident all the time.  I try to figure out if I wasn’t explaining myself fully, or if I should’ve said something differently.  I can see my facial expressions replaying over and over in my mind, and I know he should be getting it.

One day, a month or so later, I get a phone call from him.  He’s quiet on the line, and something isn’t right in his voice.

“So, guess what,” he offers as he trails off.
“Uh, what, I don’t know?” I sit in the driver’s seat of my car, having pulled over to talk to him. I grip the steering wheel nervously although I’m not quite sure why.
“I have Asperger Syndrome.” The air is dead for a while.
“Oh,” I say quietly after some hesitation.
“Yeah, so you know how like…you were so upset about the blood donation thing, and I didn’t get it?”
“Yeah.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll probably never quite get it. But I’m going to try, okay?”
“Okay. And…and let me know what I can do to be more clear.”
“Of course.”

We had a strange relationship after that, each one of us tiptoeing around the other, trying to figure out how to act. I don’t know if that’s why it ended so soon after it started, or if it just wasn’t meant to be. But regardless, he taught me so much about myself, about AS, and about relationships in general. I owe a lot to my inability to give blood.

Ben

Posted in Other Writing on September 21, 2008 by medic61

I promise I won’t embarrass you, Ben, honestly. Oh, by the way, I’ve named you “Ben.” I know you’re reading this, which is…why I’m writing this. So everyone else who’s reading it…just go along with my giddy stupidity for a while?

There are very few words, or strings of words, that can compel me to make some sort of involuntary noise. “There’s been an accident,” is an example. I will almost always gasp, cover my mouth, or say something intelligible.

“We need to talk,” is another string of words that makes me sigh or groan. I dread unexpected, awful things like these.

So when you looked at me in the dark, and knitted your brow, pursing your lips, I expected the worst.

“Hey Sam?” Your tone was puzzled, anxious, and it scared me.
“This isn’t going to work”, or maybe the overused “We need to talk,” is what I expected. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just gun shy, after hearing bad things come after that anxious tone.

That’s why I bit my lip tentatively before answering you with a simple, “hmmph?”

But then you surprised me. After taking me out to the beach, walking for hours with me in the cold wind, and treating me to dinner, I thought you couldn’t get much better. No one does those things anymore, do they? Opening car doors, walking between me and the curb; you do it all. I was surprised, flattered, and impressed.

“Too good to be true,” comes to mind. I’m glad it’s wrong, though. Ben, it’s so wrong.

So when you took my hand and I could feel your radial pulse beating wildly in my arm, I was scared. Why would you hold my hand when you were about to tell me that you were seeing someone else and it was getting serious, or that you just didn’t feel for me what you thought you did? I was prepared for it, though. It wouldn’t be the first time I had heard it.

But what you said shocked me. I couldn’t really speak. All I could do was make that involuntary noise, a little squeak in the back of my throat. I managed to force out the words “of course,” before squeaking again.

It was dorky, adorable, heart-warming, and perfect, the way you asked me if I’d be your girlfriend. I wouldn’t have it any other way; you know that.

Thank you, Ben, for showing me that they aren’t all the same, or maybe that you’re just different. Perhaps both. Regardless, I couldn’t be happier to be your girlfriend. …Officially.

And, uh, sorry if I’m embarrassing. It’s what I do.

Birthday

Posted in Other Writing on September 17, 2008 by medic61

“I don’t think I’m ready for you to go,” she says as she stands next to me in the dimly lit kitchen.
“Aw, you’ll be okay,” I say as I look at my feet.
“But what if you go to college, and some skanky girl tries to spread rumors about me or start a fight?”

I laugh and blink back some tears. I didn’t like the idea of her being alone with no one to look after her. I knew she could take care of herself, but I had been there these past few years to make sure no one messed with her.

“You’ll do great.”
“Aren’t you scared, Sam?”

And here I face my dilemma. Do I admit vulnerability for the sake of honesty, or do I bluff to stay strong in her eyes?

“Honestly…I’m terrified.”
“I would be too.”

She looks up at me with big, sad eyes. My heart breaks.

“Do you think you can come back for my birthday party?”
“I…I don’t think I’ll have a way to get back.”
“Oh. It won’t be the same without you.”
“I know, I’m sorry.”

And then I break down, my tears splashing down my shirt, exploding silently. She takes me in her arms, wrapping herself around me like some sort of comfort blanket.

“Oh, don’t cry, Sam, don’t cry,” she says as her own tears splash into my hair.
“I don’t want to go,” I sniffle into her shoulder.
“You’re going to do so great, you won’t miss this at all.”
“But I’ll be so new and scared and what if no one likes me?”
“Who won’t like you!? They’re stupid.”
“Come visit me?”
“Of course.”

And standing there, holding me in my kitchen, she comforts me the way I used to comfort her, and makes me feel like everything is going to be okay, the way I’ve always tried to do for her.

Happy Birthday, Paula. Sorry I’ve missed it for the third year in a row. I love you.

Where I Was

Posted in EMS, Other Writing on September 11, 2008 by medic61

I’ve finally gotten high school down. It’s my third week of my ninth grade year, and I think I finally have it. I’m twelve years old–a young age for my grade. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, though, and I feel like I belong two years ahead. “You act so mature for twelve,” they always say. I know I’m a mature girl, and I feel like I can handle anything, even high school.

After our long class of the day, we go to chapel to hear announcements. Then we go to our other classes, and depending on which class is fourth, we have first, second, or third lunch. I know who is in each lunch and which tables are friendly.

I know that when I get up, I will put on a black skirt that goes two inches past the end of my fingertips. I know that I’ll wear a collared shirt, some stockings, and high heels. Maybe I’ll change the color of my shirt, or wear something fun in my hair, but the basics are the same. I know that when I wake up, everything will be the same as the day before.

I know where my seat is. I don’t get to sit in a pew because of the way my last name falls in the seating chart. Instead, I’m right up front, my face inches away from the minister. We breathe in the same stale air every day, and he always pats my shoulder before he gets up to give a prayer. Sometimes, another student gives the prayer. Today it’s M.B., a girl I’ve sort of known for a while.

“M.B.,” he begins, “don’t worry about the prayer today. Two planes have struck the World Trade Center. I need to make an announcement.” He stands up without patting my shoulder and looks around at the students milling about towards their pews.

Time stops momentarily. I’m the only one who knows. No one else in this world knows what I know, I think to myself. I see my classmates’ smiling faces, my teachers laughing along with them. My heart feels heavy as my head spins. I process ideas in my head.

He said “cranes.” Yes, two cranes hit the Trade Center. This sounds stupid even inside my own head. Okay, so they were planes. It was an accident. Student pilots. Yeah. I satisfy myself with this, and say a quick prayer for the pilots and any injured.

The world starts spinning again, though I don’t acknowledge Meagan when she comes to take her seat on my left.

“Crabby, much?” She elbows me playfully, but I just watch the minister. He climbs the stairs to the pulpit slowly.

One. The wood creaks noisily underneath his foot.
Two. The stairs scream under him.
Three. They want him to hurry.
Four. Share this burden with someone else.

He clears his throat gently and his jaws open with the weight of the world trying to keep them shut.

“Students, teachers,” he pauses as he looks down to his feet. People look around uncomfortably, not knowing what’s keeping him.

“Forty-five minutes ago, a plane struck the World Trade Center. Shortly thereafter, another struck the tower next to it. We are unsure at this time whether or not this is terrorist related. We ask that you please carry on as usual today, however we will have CNN on in Ainsley Auditorium all day. We will keep you updated as we know more.”

And with that, he steps down from the pulpit, the stairs and I both relieved. Some people gasp, delayed. Others are slack-jawed, and still others seem to be asleep. No one moves. No one says anything. Finally, he looks up from his feet.

“You can go, I have absolutely nothing else to say, except to say may God save us.”

We stand up slowly, in little clumps of people. Some stay seated. Some pull out contraband cell phones and call their parents. Some cry.

I do what I do in crisis. I don’t cry. I don’t panic. I gather facts. I briskly walk to Ainsley Auditorium and park myself in front of that screen. I watch the planes hit over and over and feel my stomach drop a little further. I hear what they have to tell me. I see how the vertical lines of the towers look like prison bars, and how the people inside must think they are too.

And as I watch, the tower falls. It collapses in a pile, and I follow suit. I shake and cry and hold myself tight. My little legs jiggle wildly, and my sobs shake me violently.

Time passes as some friends join me to watch. We hold each others’ hands, and tears soak my collared shirt. I hear about the Pentagon and about Pennsylvania. I become less of a human and more of an entity as I learn more.

The rest of the day is a blur. I remember and retain absolutely nothing. I climb in the car at the end of the day and say very little to my mother. I know we both cry, but it’s in relative silence. I try to stay “strong” because I think that’s what she would want me to do. I don’t want her to see how vulnerable I am.

Yesterday, I was twelve years old. Today, I am twelve years old.

But today, nothing is the same.

—–

I never dreamed that on the same day seven years later, I’d be in an ambulance, sitting on the bench seat opposite Drew. I’m thinking these thoughts as he starts to say something.

“It’s September 11th.”
“Yeah.”
“Did you ever think you’d be in an ambulance…not as a patient?”
“No, not really.”
“I mean, fuck, Sam. We’re in an ambulance, you know?”
“Yeah, I know.”

I know that when I wake up every day, I’ll put on some jeans and a t-shirt before making my way to class. I know that my dishwasher is broken, so things need to be hand-washed.

I know when I go on shift, there’s a chance I could be called upon to help someone. Often times, I am. I know that something could happen where I will be asked to give everything I have in the effort to help other people.

I never imagined that I’d be holding my firefighter-pseudoboyfriend’s hand in his fire department as Brian Wilson remembers this day on the air.

I never thought I would be in this position. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I’ll always remember feeling so alone, so scared. I’ll always remember that realization that maybe I’m not so mature after all. I’ll always remember Father Phipps’s words. “I have absolutely nothing else to say, except may God save us.”

I will always remember.