Author: Maggie Cobian-Perez
Maggie is a rising 5th year student at UC Berkeley and a BSP Peer Advisor. Her non-traditional path and interest in literature fostered an early passion for the lives and stories of others, steering her towards a degree in English. She hopes to improve the health narratives of underserved communities in the future as a primary care physician.
The numbness came like a cold embrace, creeping slowly into the solace of his lungs and soul. A whisper of life escaped in a hard breath of exhalation. The encroaching winds of the unfaithful snowstorm were not to be trusted.
These were the final days of Francisco’s paramedic preceptor training. The calamity of the child reverberated throughout Shaver Lake, like the murmur of the first gush of spring across the icy river’s winter carcass. In the distance, stood the reflection of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, proudly poised against the menacing horizon of the challenge ahead.
The child had suffered a series of seizures-- Status Epilepticus. The fate of Francisco’s unconscious passenger now anxiously lied in his hands. So fragile was the pendulum of life.
He was pensive, but calm as he hurriedly placed the child onto the ambulance gurney. His sense of urgency was magnified by the stubborn pang of perspiration permeating into the abode of his eyes. Time raced against the velocity of the ambulance van; the premonition of defeat loomed in the distance.
They had radioed a helicopter, but the wrath of the snowstorm could not be quelled. Her relentless vehemence kicked up violent sheets of heavy snow, enveloping both the van and Francisco’s mind.
His eyes drifted towards the IV lines extending out of the child’s pallid hand. It was hard to believe that even after advanced life support training, all he could do for his passenger was breathe for him.
He slowly fixed his gaze on the rhythmic compression of his hands on the ambu-bag. On that long drive to the ER, all he could think about was getting through the next hour and a half without any further complications.
But what clamored louder was the ruminating thought that still lingered from his last day in paramedic school. Only 19 years old, as his pen inscribed the last morsels of knowledge onto his notebook, his conscience erupted with dissatisfaction, “Is this it”?
Francisco gave a long look through the ambulance windshield; the immaculate frost was beginning to give way. And it all became clear…