There are too many things going on here. I can’t concentrate. I can’t hear. Why are people screaming? Shut up. Shut up.
I’m standing. Did I say that out loud? It’s quiet now. I sink back down. I don’t want to think about what I just saw.
“This is 911, please state the nature of your emergency”
I swallow a couple times, try to get out the right words. The noise is rising again.
“Hello? This is 911, please state the nature of your emergency”
“Hi,” somehow I get that out.
“Hello, what is the nature of your emergency?”
The repetitiveness is calming, the voice is soothing. I can do this.
“A man on the bus.” I gulp air. “He fell.” I pause again. “hit his head on a seat.” You can do this I tell myself again and blurt, “He’s bleeding and has broken ribs and I moved him.”
“Okay, what is your phone number so I can call you if we are disconnected.”
I close my eyes and spout the phone number.
“Where are you?”
“I don’t know,” I sob. “I’m on a bus, we’ve stopped at a lay by.”
“It will be okay. Where is he bleeding.”
“The head, I bandaged it,” my voice is shaky, “It wasn’t a deep cut, it seems to have stopped.”
“Good. Check his ribs, can you tell me which ones are broken?”
I feel the man’s chest again. He inhales sharply. “Seventh, right side.”
“Good. Do you know how to bandage a rib?”
I nod then hastily say “Yes.”
“Okay I want you to do that, and I need you to tell me where you are.”
“I don’t know,” I’m starting to cry again.
“Is there some there who does?”
I look up at the man with tattoos. I hold the phone to him. “They need to know where we are.”
He takes the phone and I turn back to the injured man. I do the best I can with the first aid stuff I’ve been given. It’s not much, but the seventh rib isn’t as bad as it could be. At least, he shouldn’t have suffered any internal injuries from being move; if I remember what I was taught correctly. I chickened out before I started my residency. There I’m done. He seems to be coming around. I pull out the pain killers and hand them to him.
“You.” I look up and see a woman dressed all in black. “You have medical training?”
“Not really,” I stammer. She looks at the bandaged man then back at me.
“Check everyone with injuries.”
“But.” She cuts off my protest with a wave of her hand. I stand, frozen to the spot at the chaos before me.