Every year around this time Americans consider all the things in their lives for which they are thankful. November is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. We spend time with friends and family. We eat. And we give thanks.
I'm no different than any other American. This time of year, I give thanks to God. Mostly, I'm thankful for the usual things: family, friends, a home, a job. And this year, I'm thankful The Wild Rose Press published two more of my books. I'm also thankful that on November 28, I'll celebrate my forth anniversary of my last radiation treatment for breast cancer. I'm now one year closer to that five year survival mark. I'm alive. But today at work, I realized once again just how suddenly life can end.
Besides being an author, I've been a radiologic technologist for almost thirty years. Six years ago, I got my certification in mammography.
On most days, I work in the mammography area of the x-ray department. But it's not unusual for me to help out in diagnostic radiology, taking routine and trauma x-rays when things get busy. Today was no different.
After releasing my last mammogram patient before lunch, a trauma came into the ER. There had been a head-on collision in the county with casualties, and Lifeflight was on the way. So, I carried extra cassettes to the technologists who were already in the trauma room with the doctors, nurses, EMT's, lab and respiratory personnel. The portable x-ray machine was set up and ready to go, but the patient was in full code. She wasn't breathing and her heart had stopped.
As the doctors and nurses ran the code, x-ray set up, preparing to take the x-rays when the patient was stable. But the patient never stabilized. Her injuries were too severe. Internal injuries, a nearly severed left leg, the bone and tendons exposed. She never regained consciousness. I pray she never felt a thing.
The woman from the other car didn't make it either. She was transported to the ER with no identification--no name. No one knew who she was. She remained a Jane Doe for five hours after she died. And that just breaks my heart.
Two women, headed in opposite directions left home earlier that day never knowing their lives were about to end suddenly and tragically without warning. Had they fought with their husbands that morning? Yelled at their children? Would their sudden death cause guilt as well as sorrow? Were they ready to meet their maker?
A single driving mistake and two lives are lost forever.
My heart goes out to the family of both these women who died so suddenly and so tragically on such a beautiful fall day so close to the holidays. I'm thankful I've never had to endure so sudden a loss. And I pray to God I never do.