Things are slowly returning to normal here. Life is going on, the city is picking up and continuing, a little sadder but certainly no less vibrant for all that.
Getting a little distance, taking a deep breath.
A classmate of mine, Sara, an alumnus of Dawson, was on the trauma team last Wednesday when the gunman struck. She writes:
“My first patient was a pretty young girl who told us what happened, in disbelief that something like this could happen to her. She was very stable and stretchers were being wheeled in faster than we could count, so I left that patient with a physician and moved on to the next one.
“Two more stretchers came in, and I found myself the only physician/resident/student with a young man with severe injuries. I began to assess him, ABC’s; he told me his name, the place and date, and what happened. Dr. N. asked if I was the only treating physician, and when I answered yes and gave him the info so far, he came to join me. I began to listen to the patient’s breathing and feel his chest, when all of a sudden he stopped answering my questions. I looked at him and noticed his eyes weren’t focusing on anything or anyone, and all of a sudden he became unstable… The head Trauma staff …. told us to send him to the ambulance room for assessment and management because other patients were coming in (routine in a major multiple trauma, basic triage protocol – save who you can and then save who you maybe can). (ADDENDUM – he’s doing very well now)
“Right now I find myself feeling so guilty for loving to work in Trauma; I really do love this work because I am good at it and can help people. Yet to love Trauma seems as if I love to see people hurt – but this is so far from the case. I just feel, if people are going to get hurt I want to be able to be there to help them. But I feel horrible inside, like I asked for something like this to happen when I know that’s not fair to myself. I can’t help it though.
“And I keep thinking – wow, I went to Dawson. I loved it there, I still remember the place inside out. I can picture the scene without watching the news.”
For me, it was walking home from the hospital in the rain, coming to roadblock after roadblock, flashing police lights in the murk. I felt like I was in a war zone, but it was my neighbourhood. It was walking into the hospital the next morning and being challenged by a police officer as to what my business was there. It was the security stationed at the doors of the ICU, and the news crews swarming around the entrances to the hospital.
But you know, the streets have reopened. The city is coming back to itself. The students will return to Dawson hall tomorrow.
Our own little lives are taking over again.
I’m going to make a conscious effort to forget the name of the coward who was so desperate to be remembered for something and so detached from reality that randomly shooting a group of innocent young people seemed to him the right way to do it. Have you noticed that the Montreal Gazette has had the class to refuse to put the sick bastard on their front page, but has reserved the front page for Dawson and its students? Good job guys.
Back to reality, and I’m thanking my lucky stars I live in a place where an act like this is not political, and not an everyday occurence.