basric: (Rain gif)
[personal profile] basric

I thought since I was already out of Trauma with my last entry, I would stay out with the U.S. Trauma Team for another entry. We were called to convene with the search and rescue teams to go to a small village in Mexico. This was the rainy season and an entire village had been covered by an avalanche of mud, trees, and jungle debris.

This was not our first rescue mission to Mexico for mud slide disasters but it was the deepest in the jungle we had ever gone. We gathered at our usual air force base in Texas. The search and rescue dogs surprisingly were with us since we traveled with Special Ops. Team for protection in a massive army helicopter.

We sat down at daybreak in a wide grassy meadow. I had the narcotics pack and as I jumped to the ground a hand shoved my head down and pushed me from beneath the deadly blades even then rising back into the sky. A soldier jerked my pack from my shoulders and before I could protest I found myself with a vest velcroed covering by back and chest that felt like it weighed as much as I did, then the pack was replaced. All of this happened is about sixty seconds.

A soldier, my soldier, my protector, turned me to face him grasped my straps and pulled me nose to nose, “I am responsible for your safety. You do what I say when I say it without question. No, just nod.” I nodded. He turned me and we got in line to follow the muddy path through the jungle. Rain fell in a steady stream. We crossed a rickety bridge with muddy water that rampaged several feet below. Two hours later saturated by the nonstop rain we arrived at the mudslide.

Our army had been there before us because massive tents were erected. Now we were in our element. We all had jobs, were good at them and in thirty minutes everything was set up to receive victims. I even managed to change into dry scrubs when a wet vest was dropped over my head and was fastened.

“You are never to be without this vest.”

“It’s wet. Now I’m wet,” lesser men had quailed at the look I gave him.

He just waited impassively until I sighed loudly, “What you say when you say it.” With that he plopped a helmet on my head.

The Mexican Army had not as yet reached the sight to assist, according to our guys a major bridge collapsed. We could expect no assistance from that front. We were alone.

Our soldiers were out digging through the mud, in previous slides there were hundreds of Mexican volunteers; however, this village boasted four-hundred and eighty-one residents and forty four of those were men who had been out on a hunt. They had returned and were also digging. The huts at the very base of the slide were flattened, most had been empty but two had elderly couples that were killed instantly.

With the three teams of recuse dogs at work, it wasn’t long before we began to get victims. Although the weight of the mud pushed the roofs down there apparently left enough space for victims to lay and wait for rescue. For six hours victims were brought to us, triaged, treated and released.

One of the rescue teams stood to go back out into the mud. The vested dog and her handler looked as weary as I felt but the headed back into the mud. “Her vest,” A nurse held it aloft. Where was her army guy? I sighed, grabbed it and ran after her. I just helped her fasten it and stepped away when I was hit in the back by a baseball. I dropped face down into the mud and as I tried to lift my head from the sucking muck, I was crushed by the weight of a 250 pound Special Op. all muscle and another fifty plus pounds of his gear. I was pushed deeper into the mud. From a long distance away I felt the dim pain of my left shoulder as it dislocated. A big hand curl around my face and lifted it clear for the rain to clear my face of mud. But my lungs had seized so I couldn’t draw a breath.

From far away I heard the pops but it wasn’t until the barrage of gunfire I understood what it meant. My eyes sealed by the mud were rinsed clear by the rain but by that time I felt the decline of my heart, the beats two, one, then nothing. I was clinically dead. I was told later my Special Ops. lifted me in my vest and the extra mud weight and carried me inside.

I was down fifteen minutes, I floated in darkness and bathed in peace until a bolt of lightning streaked through and replaced peace with searing pain. I’m not sure what was worse, being ripped from the peace into chaotic pain or the humiliation of being naked in front of people with which you work.

Some idiot removed my medic bracelet so I was given morphine which stopped my breathing again, but this time someone knew my medical history. And the doctor administered Narcan the drug which takes any narcotic from ninety to zero. Next I had the pleasure of the ball joint of my shoulder jerked back into its socket without pain medication, which my liver refuses to metabolize, I slipped into blessed unconsciousness. My x-ray showed I had a T-4 disk fracture and was not life threatening. So, I’d suffer with it until a return to the states. The Hematoma from shoulder blade to shoulder blade caused me the most pain in movement.

When consciousness returned some thoughtful person had gowned me and I had been pushed into a corner out of the way.

Everything buzzed around me, and I knew they were short-handed already. So with my right arm I sat, pain from a fractured T-4 disk in my back radiated between my shoulder blades with every breath. First, I swallowed three aspirin and 1200mg of Advil. I found a pair of scrubs and with little use of my left arm as possible managed to dress myself. I gritted my teeth as I snapped the top. I slipped unnoticed to the front of our busy tent where a woman was brought in who had delivered her baby in the cramped three by three space as the strength of her hut withheld the mud from her. She had snapped the cord before the afterbirth delivered and tied the cord, instead of it expelled by the uterus it remained inside. While our OB/GYN used a hand for a fishing expedition, Meanwhile, none of the nurses had been able to start an IV on the newborn.

While I truly hate working with children for my own sanity, I have worked N.I.C.U. and I learned how to place an IV in a newborn’s scalp. It hurt me like hell but I got it in with a small butterfly needle and IVF's with vitamins infused easily. The baby latched on to momma with a little encouragement.

I turned and walked into my Special Ops. who in turn walked me to the back and sat me down and plopped down beside me. He handed me a bottle of water. “Stay.”

“So,” I said to my guard, “You’re a Green Beret.”

“I am NOT A HAT. We are Special Ops.”

“I thought every branch had a Special Ops.”

“Every branch has its Special Forces; we all are experts in our own fields. You won’t find a Navy Seal guarding your asses. They are specialized forces with specialized missions. Even the Air Force has four branches but they are like the CIA of Special Forces. They do Intel work and training behind enemy lines. Just as Army Rangers have their expertise.”

“My apologizes.”

Suddenly he heard something and was up and gone. I made it to the front of the tent to see our Special Ops. as they faded into the jungle like ghosts. I looked around and almost all they victims had been seen most with bruises and a few broken arms. The husband came for our last patient the mother and his new son. The translator tried to get them to listen about how to take the antibiotics but he grabbed them and his arm around her waist, his son in his arms they hurried away. We automatically began to pack everything quickly into our packs,
Suddenly the Special Ops. returned, “Whatever isn’t packed stays. We move out now.”

“Wait, the tents, the refrigeration units.”

“Doctor, before the rebels sent a weak force thinking you were alone; women for their men, doctors to ransom and all your medications. When they did not return, they have now sent a strong force only four clicks away. We don’t move, we’ll be in a firefight and unable to guarantee your lives. Its time to run for your lives.

The sun was out now. Before the rain had been miserable but now the air was steamy. I live in the South so I know what humidity is, this wasn’t humidity steam rose from the ground and vegetation around us. Drenching our skin with thick sweat.

We scrambled through mud and breathing laborious, every time I felt myself slide his hand was there to steady me. Running was strenuous because the mud sucked at our shoes. I ground my teeth against the agony of my back and shoulder; however, I thought about how bad being hit with a bullet against a vest had hurt, then how much worse the pain of a bullet piercing skin and organs would be. That kept the discomfort bearable as I ran.

We came to the rickety bridge but now water rolled inches over the fragile planks. A rope passed back and wrapped around the medical staff but the Special Ops walked across on their own. My turn came and I felt his hands steady on my waist and though the dirty water and the occasional branch pulled at my legs and feet I never felt fear with him behind me even when my feet lost traction, he had me and settled me back on the planks.

We’d fled a hundred or so yards when an explosion rent the air. I didn’t need to be told our guys had blown the bridge. Still we didn’t slow. My breathing was hitching as I tried to breathe through the agony in my back. He stopped me and allowed others to pass. He removed my pack swinging it up over his shoulder with his own pack. I had no voice to protest. I forced myself own through the greyness at the edge of my vision because I knew if I fell he would carry me. I thought he’d saved me enough. I would do this for him.

A massive helicopter waited rotor swirling above. I was tossed inside followed by two other nurses. My Special Ops sat in the open doorway one foot hung out I assumed on the rung below. There were others, too, their weapons at the ready. We lifted up and banked a hard left and I marveled that the men at the door didn’t topple out to the ground.

We flew back to Texas. I had surgery in Houston where titanium replaced my thoracic disk. I would need some rehab back home. Never spoke of it to friends or family. Just said I fell. I took my rehab in mornings after work.

Overall we saved the village with a loss of only four, and they were casualties before we arrived. I never got to thank my Special Op. so if you write in LJIDOL or read it, thanks you are my hero.

People do not understand my calling. Even I don’t complexly understand my obsessive need to care for these disaster patients even at a danger to myself. At one time my husband understood, being s narcotic cops and doing undercover work. Amy girls were never left alone. We had a wonderful Nannie that filled in if our careers took us away at the same time and the girls loved her. So now only necessary people are told when I leave after the flack I got for Haiti and Chili.

At least this disaster had a happy ending and no dealing with politics. The true heroes are our military men and women who protect us using themselves as human shields to protects civilians. Bless them all.

Date: 2012-04-16 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YOU are truely remarkable....

Date: 2012-04-16 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No I am not. Crazy maybe, nut thanks.

Date: 2012-04-16 01:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OH. yes you are and that's the end of it!!!
Maybe a little crazy but nothing else...

Date: 2012-04-16 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Those Special Ops guys are a true blessing. The Disaster Nurses are a true blessing. I am glad you were all there together!!!

Date: 2012-04-16 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We may not have survived that mission without them. I certain;y feel blessed and say a prayer for them every night. All the men and women om our military. Thanks for your king comment.

Date: 2012-04-16 01:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As you know, I'm a Quaker, which pretty much by definition makes me an ardent pacifist. That said, I'm not blind to the fact that people just don't get along and will blow each other's brains out for a pittance.

It takes a very special kind of person to, eyes open, go into the profession of arms and recognize the kind of sacrifices it requires. I'm not entirely sure anyone does, but rather they find they're good at it and later discover what it truly means to do their work and find peace with it. Those are your Special Ops at the highest level, the only ones capable of performing the kind of missions required of them. I don't envy them, and I wish to fuck the violence geeks of the Internet would quit thinking because they play Call of Duty or some shit that they have any idea what that world is like.

You don't need me to tell you this, so I say this for your audience, but operators at the highest levels are every bit as skilled as your Attending in their art and know any given day may be their last and go with it, knowing that their only recognition may be a star on a wall. Nobody will tell their tales, ever.

I'm so very glad we can hear yours.

Date: 2012-04-16 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are very kind and I think its an insightful comment I hope those who read my entry read...about our Special Ops. not me. Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2012-04-16 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think this may be my favourite piece of yours - the writing itself is rather poetic in places - but I think what I like most about this is you're not afraid to take something so personal, such as a near-death experience, and share it with us but not in a way that means you wants us to pity you. You focused instead on the bravery of the men and women working around you and the plight of the avalanche victims. That takes guts and skill. Well done. (And I, for one, am glad you stuck around.)

Date: 2012-04-17 01:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My purpose was to showcase the skill and bravery of the men in Special Ops. I'm glad that came through. Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2012-04-17 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. This is so different from what you normally write. It had to have sucked having medical stuff done to you without pain meds! I can't even imagine.

Date: 2012-04-17 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's just a side bar--I've had major neck surgery without sedation. Not my fondest memory.I wanted the story to showcase the Special Ops. guys, but thank for commenting.

Date: 2012-04-17 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I knew if I fell he would carry me..." and so you continued on your own two feet.

I've never read a story of mutual self-sacrifice quite like this. It falls in the ranks of stories like Lord of the Rings, and is all the more powerful because it is your story.

Thank you for sharing this. You are a wonderful writer.

Date: 2012-04-18 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are very kind, thank you.

Date: 2012-04-17 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
God bless <3

Date: 2012-04-17 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2012-04-17 06:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow-- I guess it was inevitable that you would get hurt at some point, on one of these missions. But still, it must have been scary to have it happen.

And then annoying, and inconvenient, not to mention painful. If doctors make lousy patients, I'm sure nurses do too-- especially when help is needed, and they're stuck sitting there, looking at the unfulfilled need.

Another great adventure, and unexpectedly useful for the prompt!

Date: 2012-04-17 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I had hoped to showcase how skilled our special forces are when coming to protecting civilians under their protection. My injury was just a sidebar. And yes it was more irritating than anything else.

Thanks for commenting, I really do appreciate it.

Date: 2012-04-17 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow - this is fascinating! What was the situation in Mexico that armed forces were moving in on a village?

Date: 2012-04-17 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
All of us were there due to an entire mountain of mud covering a village. We always have some branch of the service with us when we go into a disaster area. That's one reason some governments refuse our help.

Actually our armed forces were there to protect us from the rebel forces. Though I think the only thing the rebels wanted was our antibiotics and kidnap victims to ransom from the US.

They didn't care we were there to help their people in a disaster. If not for the Special Ops that came with us we might not be alive today.

If you mean us waiting on the Mexican Army, every time in the past and since when these mudslides happen(why they build at the base of these hills I don't know)the Mexican Army assists with the rescue and we don't have rebel problems. This tine it was like the rebels knew they wouldn't be there.

Date: 2012-04-17 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad they were able to put you somewhat back together, as uncomfortable as it was.

Date: 2012-04-17 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was okay, I was hoping my entry was less about me and more about showcasing our military's Special Ops. But thanks for your kind words. Comments are always appreciated.

Date: 2012-04-17 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your tribute to the soldiers and their awesome work was just amazing.

The reason we are fretting about your injury (despite your protestations) is just because we have come to care for you over the course of reading your entries.

We don't think of you as someone who needs or wants sympathy.

Another great entry.

Date: 2012-04-17 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hesitated writing it because I was injured but I thought what the soldiers' role in our safety--let's face it they saved our butts was worth telling. However I thank you for your kind words.

Honestly being impulsive as I am. I have suffered through many injuries, all my own fault and you are right I don't need any sympathy. Now its actually amusing.

Thanks though. And thanks for commenting as you always are so kind to do.

Date: 2012-04-18 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not sure how long ago this happened to you. In the news, they usually describe the "Mexican Rebels" as "Drug Cartel Members", and I know there frequently is a relationship... but I've heard verified horror stories of religious nuts in Mexico caught committing human sacrifice in the name of their beliefs.

It amazes me that people still do such things in the modern day.

It amazes me more that you continue to walk into harms way to help people.

But I'm glad you continue to do what you do... and I'm glad you have folks to watch over you.

Potent and powerful, as always. Thanks for sharing.

Date: 2012-04-18 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for you kind comments and for taking time to make them.

Date: 2012-04-18 10:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was a great story - really tells the different roles everyone fills in those kinds of disasters. Thank goodness for those Special Ops people; I have the utmost respect and admiration for them. Also it's great that you and your husband had a nanny to jump in to help out when needed... those people are also wonderful, because without support at home, those serving overseas wouldn't be able to go and do the incredible jobs they do.

Great job this week (also, I loved your quake one - I realise I didn't get to comment on it but I read it and really enjoyed it, even though heartbreaking).

Date: 2012-04-18 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Date: 2012-04-18 02:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just knew you couldn't always go into so many disasters and rescue situations without getting hurt sometime. Thank goodness you were allright in the end. This entry really shined with the love of humans for other humans. I'm sure your HERO would say 'just doing my job, m'am,' with the same attitude that you have when you do yours. The people You care for and all of us that Our Guys protect can only be grateful and say thank you. Wonderful entry!

Date: 2012-04-18 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wanted to showcase our military men because I don't think we would have survived that time if we had depended on the Mexican military instead of our president sending Sp. Ops in with us.

thanks for the kind comment, as always. Much appreciated.

Date: 2012-04-19 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Our military men and women are absolutely heroes and people who should be thanked up and down for all they do on behalf of us. I don't believe our military personnel get half the thanks they deserve. But heroism is also for those who put themselves at risk on behalf of others... that includes you. So good on you for going through what you did to help others. You should be applauded for it.

Date: 2012-04-19 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. but I wrote it to showcase the Sp. Ops. These young men are truly heroes and I know that day and many others they saved my life. Thanks for commenting and seeing the main purpose of my entry.

Date: 2012-04-19 08:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for the hug, but I was trying moire to showcase the guys who saved our lives. But I will take all the hugs I can get.

Date: 2012-04-19 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Such a powerful tribute to this soldier and his kind... figures it would take a career Rangers Special Ops for you to have finally met your match. One of your best stories yet.

Date: 2012-04-19 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for your kind words an realizing this was a story about them, not me.(=

Date: 2012-04-19 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. What a wide variety of experiences you've had!

Date: 2012-04-19 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Adrenaline junkie is what my husband calls me.

Date: 2012-04-20 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow o.O I kept thinking, this reminds me of a TV show! Which is silly of me. Amazed that it's all really true, and glad there was a happy ending as well. I suddenly feel very sheltered!

Date: 2012-04-20 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Trauma dramas never do well on TV I have found, even with character development. I suppose it is because trauma is so much more brutal than shows about ERs. Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2012-04-20 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I guess because they have to tone it down so much, so that wimpy people like me can stand to watch. LOL.


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