Wednesday, December 19, 2012


as news of Sandy Hook came in, I was feeling a sense of horror that most people could share, then I had my own memories added into what I imagined, and that made the whole incident. worse.  Memories of doing CPR on a baby while his mother was looking at me with desperate pleading eyes, and knowing that there was no hope.  The 7 year old that was malnourished and abused, when we cut away her clothing she looked like a Somali stick figure, and the bruises were painfully evident.  At first we couldn't get her to respond, then after we pushed pure dextros (sugar) into her blood she responded to painful stimuli by doing what's called flexation, where you flex all your limbs away from the pain.  This sign is one step away from brain death.  She died on the flight to Scott and White hospital.

And then there were the memories of Iraq.  By order of degree more painful, because they were both more brutal, and at the time I'd had less support.  Memories of an Apache strike that destroyed a family, and left a little girl holding her intestines.  Memories of a child's terror at my visage, covered in the blood of her countrymen that I had tried to save, and trying desperately to comfort her to, to say without words, that she was going to be ok.  Memories of bodies torn apart. 

The frantic mother who desperately wanted me to treat her son who was beyond my help.  His fingertips had been burned off, and his whole body covered in barely healed blisters, scaring from a fire that was caused by militias that poured him in gasoline and set him on fire.  The story itself left me feeling almost as bad as knowing all I could do was put kirlex on his wounds and send him to the hospital, which his mother could not afford. 

I remembered the boy who hand been taken by Sadam's men and was beaten so badly he was effectively retarded.  He would walk around barefoot on asphalt even when the temperature was 120 degrees out.  He was constantly drooling, and if he ever changed clothes I never saw it.  This boy bad made the simple mistake of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and now he was effectively unable to ever function as a human being ever again. 

I have a lot of memories.  A lot of good ones a lot of bad ones.  There's power in those memories, and I need to be wary of anything that will bring them back in full force.  If I do not talk about the shooting in Connecticut in any more than the basest ineffectual terms, it is because I can not afford personally or emotionally the horror associated with those events. I hope you all understand.


david said...

To a family member the death of a child in war must seem just as senseless as the loss of the kids at Sandy Hook was. Thanks for remembering those children who fall into the "collateral damage" column. They and their families deserve the respect of being remembered at the very least.

Lewis said...

I'm from Newtown, CT. I came across your blog on my journey to I don't even know where.
I've spent the last year searching and searching for the truth.
The observation you made above is one of the very few bits of wisdom I've been able to find in the vast wasteland of intellectual liberalism and blindly conservative politicking that has become the national discussion since that day in the Hook.
The reality of this day, more than a year after you shared the burden borne by your mind's eye, is that people have been duped. Not by conspiracy, not by partisan politics, but by themselves. America, Newtown in particular, has allowed this tragedy to become a pulpit of empty love. 'Love Wins', is the mantra that Newtown has adopted, while in the same breathe, accepting obscene amounts of money meant to 'heal' the community that suffered zero monetary loss to this violence. 'Love Wins', they say, as they accept a 50M$ check from the state of CT, while their neighbors in Bridgeport, Waterbury and New Britain have to go without school funding per state austerity measures. 'Love Wins' as they demand the town pull eminent-domain to procure the property of lifelong Newtown residents for driveway of their brand new Sandy Hook School. 'Love Wins' as they use this incident to push the political agenda of the president, while screaming rape at those who respond with opposition.
'Love Wins'.
Thank you again for your perspective and your thoughts have left me wishing only for the ability to somehow offer a part of my own memory to unburden part of yours. We know that those flashbacks are yours and yours alone, and that is why you are a hero...I also imagine that you'd never admit to that, but you are.
Nobody Wins. When children die, Nobody Wins.