Life Is…a mystery
Julie and I are up in Glacier National Park this week. It is one of our favorite places on the planet, and as we passed the sign into the Park we both sighed deeply, and our shoulders relaxed. Even though there are a couple fires burning, we are loving being here and getting some much-needed R&R. The Rusted Scalpel is nearing its publication date, and there is always so much to do. I am so excited for everyone to read it. Each book has been a labor of love, but The Rusted Scalpel is especially near and dear to my heart. As you read the Author’s Note inside, you will know why.
I’ll write more about The Rusted Scalpel release soon, but I had to sit down at my keyboard and have some writing therapy time. A hard thing happened the other day, and I just need to put some thoughts down. Thank you for being a sympathetic ear!
The first day we were in the RV park, I saw a Park Ranger vehicle zoom into the area with its lights flashing and sirens blaring. It pulled next to a group of people down the way. Because Julie had worked in the park last summer, I knew we are far from medical care and decided to jog over and see if they needed some help.
Unfortunately, an elderly man had collapsed, and the group (which included his family) was administering basic first aid. As I introduced myself and knelt beside the man, I knew instantly we were in trouble. The Park Ranger gave me a quick history, but soon the patient stopped breathing, and when I felt for a pulse there was none. I started CPR and called out instructions. “Do we have an AED? Do we have a mask and ambu bag? Is the ambulance on the way?”
“Yes, yes and yes…but the ambulance is thirty minutes out.”
We got the AED pads on, continued chest compressions and rescue breathing. As another camper arrived, a full-time paramedic, we were able to insert an airway, but it was pretty clear this was not a battle we would win. The AED never could pick up a cardiac rhythm that was shockable…most likely meaning the man was in asystole. We continued resuscitation efforts for the thirty minutes, waiting for the ambulance to arrive. I’ll spare you all the details, as codes are never pretty. In Montana, they prefer to do “scoop and run” because the hospitals can be an hour or more away. They can start an IV and give medication on the run more efficiently than at the scene.
The man did not survive. Please send up a prayer for his family as they process and grieve.
The next day I talked to the manager of the RV park, and we were processing the awful scenario. These things are hard on people involved in medicine but even harder on those that are not. We discussed what other equipment the park might have on hand and other logistical issues. I reassured her that she and the staff did everything they could. We shared a hug and a few tears. As I was about to leave, she said, out of the blue.
“You know…” (She hesitated like I might not understand) “My brother-in-law was standing off from the scene, and he told me that part way through the resuscitation efforts, he literally saw a bright light fall over the group and with it, a comforting sense of peace.”
I say amen! Yes…life is a mystery and so is death. When the ambulance was leaving the wife of the man came up and hugged me tight and asked me if I thought he might survive. I shook my head, but I told her there is always hope. There is always hope.
My heart is saying yes…on both sides of heaven.
Here is a quote from The Rusted Scalpel:
He gave the villagers one more wave and one last glance. How he’d miss them. Life somehow felt like a continuous series of goodbyes. Where could one find hope through that pain? In the lesser comforts or a medicine bottle? No…we find it only in God’s promises, Nick thought. When we live in the hope of heaven and the renewal of all things, we know that the goodbyes are only temporary. We will see our loved ones again.
Love to you all…Tim