you & me

Flight of the Winged Bird: When Heroes Need a Hero.

 

“Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.” ~ Victor Hugo

Today I heal.

The tones went off in the hangar at 1305 in the afternoon: “Heli launch, scene call”. The day was just a normal day in the life of a medical flight team, ready to respond. My nurse and I were assigned the helicopter at the beginning of our 24-hour shift that morning at 0800. We were jacked! We loved to work together! We knew each other’s moods, expectations, skills and communication style.

We are good friends and we love each other, always having each other’s back and best interest, two professionals doing a really tough, but amazing job. It was just me and my favorite partner and a cloudless day on the heli team. It was going to be fantastic! When he walked through the hangar doors that morning, our eyes met, and we started giggling with glee.

Medical flight teams are, if anything, routine in their approach to everything. When it comes to getting ready for business, we are all business. There is typically a team of nurse/respiratory therapist or nurse/paramedic assigned to the fixed wing and to the helicopter for the shift. Each team inventories their ship, restocking all items and checking the equipment to make sure it works.

This day was no different. We grabbed the folder and checked the helicopter, our monitor, and both bags that we carry to every patient, containing all of our life-saving necessities. Karma keeps us in check because if you forget to check it or stock it, it’s going to go haywire on you when you need it the most.

We did a little jig as we laid out our helmets, located our night vision goggles, and made sure we had chocolates, paperwork and our blood gas machine. No one wants to see us if we forget the chocolates. We got into our flight suits, fist-bumped each other, and waited.

Medical flight personnel are usually the elite in the healthcare field, Type A perfectionists who hold themselves and others to a higher standard, and they aren’t afraid to speak their mind. Most are required at least four years of ICU critical patient care experience to be considered for flight.

Let’s not forget the interview process, the grueling three-month orientation and the hazing. It’s a painful process that weeds out the weak and the lazy.

Flight teams consist of two individuals who rely on each other to make critical life-saving decisions without the presence of a physician.

They rely on their protocols, which call for a certain set of steps according to the situation, certain medications for certain situations, and the ability of both team members to calculate the drug dosages needed based on patient weight, in a matter of seconds, because seconds matter.

When a flight gets requested by a sending facility or the personnel on the ground at an accident, the request goes through central dispatch, which helps to determine which flight team is closest and most appropriate to respond. The emergent nature of the call changes when it’s interfacility, transporting the patient from one hospital to another.

The flight team hopes that the patient is probably already stable enough to ship, and that they are in the care of a physician who has arranged the flight. We all just hold on to our butts for a scene call.

Scene calls can be just about anything, from locating a lost person, to a drowning victim, burn victim, gunshot victim, motorcycle wreck, car wreck, pedestrian-vs-semi, brand new baby to elderly patient, and everything in between.

When the tones go off, the teams run for their gear, and based on the very limited report from dispatch, they might have time to grab the extra gear they think they might need, like thermal blankets, blood, and warmed fluids. Then they hope like hell dispatch got the info right. From tones to lift, 10 minutes.

That day we did what we do best. When the tones went off, we high-fived and headed for the ship at a fast clip, bags already loaded, helmets in hand and remote radios clipped on the front of our flight suits so that we could speak to the pilot while away from the ship. The pilot started the rotors and we checked for start problems. We’re good to go!

Then he asked, “Bags, belts, paperwork, skids? Clear right? Clear left?” Check, check, and triple check! I shouldn’t have to tell you that every call involves adrenaline. We are junkies! In most cases, someone has bought a flight because they’re trying to die. But scene calls involve the unknown. We don’t know which rescue personnel is already at the scene, if any, or their experience level.

We don’t know if there will be blowing dust or snow, wires, trees, fences, migratory birds, or flipped-out family members trying to rush the ship because they’ve lost their minds with shock and grief. All of which can result in a ship gone down and loss of life. Half the time the coordinates are more than a little off and it’s a game of hide-and-seek finding a victim in heavy timber or a sprawling town.

Let me tell you about medical flight pilots. They are mostly military-trained, but not always. They are however, always deeply invested in the safety and well-being of their crew and the patients. They are highly skilled, cool as a cucumber, and look great in a flight suit! They are meticulous in their flight planning, weather checks, and safety at liftoff and landing.

They expect their crew members to be trained well and know what they’re doing around the aircraft, so as to not get anyone killed. There is little room for error.

The Bell 407 is a wicked bird in its configuration. The tail rotors are open, meaning anyone who stumbles close enough is going to be history.

The main rotors overhead slant slightly towards the ground on the front, limiting the crew to approaching the left-side loading doors from the 3:00 and 9:00 positions, period! This means eyes out at all times for anyone approaching the ship when it’s sitting on the ground, spooled up and hot.

The seating arrangements in this ship are less than ideal. The nurse sits in the rear, right forward facing seat. The RT or paramedic sits in the rear left, forward-facing seat, at the head of the patient. The pilot is in the front, right seat, with the patient’s feet secured in a little foot bag (very little, more of a joke really) directly off the pilot’s left elbow, and within two feet of the controls on the front and overhead panels.

With patients more than six feet tall, it becomes a bit problematic, not impossible, but a very tight squeeze. The patient must be fully prepared with monitor leads, cuffs and probes on and IV’s running and in place before loading and liftoff, because there is just no way to fix those things in flight… unless you’re a flying monkey.

When the tones went off, so did our pagers, saying “Scene call, high-speed MVA, launch”. That was it. We didn’t know if our patient was male, female, adult or pediatric. We didn’t know if they had a suspected spinal injury or were bleeding to death. What we did know is that it was a car wreck and we were only five minutes out when we lifted, no time to talk and prepare for the worst.

I should’ve known we were in for it when I couldn’t get the visor down on my helmet, it was the first in a series of things that were going to go to hell.

As we flew over the scene and established radio contact with emergency personnel on the ground, my heart flipped and my partner and pilot both muttered, “Holy shit!” What we saw on the two-lane highway below was horrific. We had three gnarled vehicles, a quarter mile of debris, multiple rescue vehicles, law enforcement, fire trucks, people running everywhere, and seven victims.

What we had between us and a safe landing were approximately 200 geese and pelicans circling in panic from one riparian area to the other on each side of the highway. By the way, it only takes one bird of that size to take down a helicopter. It took about seven minutes to convince the birds to leave the scene and let us land, in the meantime we surveyed the damage and we made a plan.

We knew one thing, this was bad and our patient was going to be trying to die.

Our amazing, top-gun pilot came in fast, swung the tail around and put the heli down on the yellow lines, with the ship facing the accident. When we off-loaded, we left it hot, rotors spinning, we were in a hurry! I off-loaded left, my nurse right, and he walked around the front of the heli with his hand on the bubble so he wouldn’t have a head-meets-rotor experience.

He met me at the left door and we grabbed our two trauma bags and the stretcher, and left our helmets on so that we could talk to our pilot. As we approached the first victim on the ground, we were asked if we can take two… always a bad sign.

What we found was a male victim with his face and the top of his head caved in, large chunks of flesh missing from his right arm, scalp laid back, blood everywhere, debris everywhere, lying next to a chunk of metal that couldn’t have possibly been a car. The patient was agonal breathing, so paramedics were working hard to put in an artificial airway.

They had already established peripheral access by placing an interosseous line in his right tibia. I opened the bags and laid out what we needed. My partner placed an IV in his left forearm while I drilled another IO into his left tibia and hung a pressure bag with IV fluids on the IV in his arm. This man was bleeding out, we needed fluids in and fast! My partner stapled the head wound closed and packed with gauze.

The paramedics and firemen reported what they knew, helped us secure the patient on our stretcher, and the six of us headed for the heli. As we approached the ship, I kept an eye on everyone and breathed for the patient with a bag attached to his ET tube, all while making sure no one went south of the loading door and got tangled up with the rotor as we tried to load a 6’2”, 220 lb male into a flying bread box.

Once we were loaded and all checks called for liftoff, we lifted en route to a hospital 30 minutes away, the closest facility that could take a head injury of this nature. That’s when all the things we did right still insisted on going wrong.

For starters, the patient was so tall that I had to have the stretcher in the rearmost position, meaning his head was between my knees and his feet were perilously close to the pilot and the controls. The patient was sedated and I was still bagging him with the intention to place him on the ventilator, but that would require precious minutes.

My partner was furiously hanging IV fluids and preparing a sedation drip to keep our patient comfortable and still. Meanwhile, the blood from his head wound started to profusely drip from his head, down my legs, onto my feet and into my lap. My triage priority just changed. I got more gauze and attempted to pack the head wound to stop the bleeding. No bueno!

I grabbed a thermal blanket to provide more material to soak up the blood and to protect myself. I checked the monitor and found him to have a dangerously high heart rate, he was bleeding out and his body was trying to compensate.

I checked his IV site to find it no longer functional, which meant only one thing, I was going to have to get the pressure bag and fluids off his left arm and attach it to the IO access in his shin.

There was a very narrow space approximately two feet by two feet for me to crawl through to access his shins, so I stripped off my helmet and crawled the length of our patient. My pelvis was lying on his chest when I reached his IO in his right leg to attach the pressure bag. At this point, he woke up and attempted to sit up, pulling seat belts off and shoving me hard up against the ceiling.

I’m a very tiny but tough 5’5” and 117 lbs of ninja, but I was no match for an intubated, head injury patient gone wild in our flying bread box. He started to kick out of the foot bag that was keeping his feet off the controls. Our pilot was looking around wildly and talking with my nurse about what was going to happen next, we needed to land or he was going to kick the controls and we were going down!

We were flying over mountainous, heavily timbered terrain, and there was no place to quickly land. We would not likely survive a crash. I couldn’t hear my partner or the pilot with my helmet off, but I started yelling for drugs, we needed to knock this guy out! All I could hear was rotors roaring. It didn’t matter how fast we moved, we were already behind the curve ball with this guy.

My nurse drew up sedation and then paralytics as I tried to hold him down from my position with my head at his knees and his head by my ankles. I was losing the war. I slammed the drugs into his IO and it seemed like the longest 30 seconds of my life as they took affect and paralyzed him. When he finally quit fighting, I was eye to eye with my pilot and we exchanged a look, “Oh my god.”

I crawled backwards, dragging myself through the blood field and trying to get back to the safety of my seat. I was a cool tool and resumed my position bagging the patient, my partner mixing meds and radioing ahead for extra blood and personnel at the pad. He continued to bleed all over me, but he was no longer trying to take us down. We were five minutes out.

When we landed and pulled the patient from the ship, blood spilled from the wrap I had managed to place around his head wound and splashed on the skids. I bagged him as we descended the ramp and headed into the ER. I could only speculate what I might look like because as we walked into the busy ER, people stopped talking and watched me with mouths wide open.

I had two bloody handprints on my white helmet, blood soaked through my vest, flight suit and t-shirt, and soaked into my socks. My knee-high, black leather, White’s work boots were stained completely red with blood. My partner later told me that I “looked like Jackie Kennedy in the back of the limo.” I looked like I was the trauma.

I maintained my dignity and kept my cool until we transferred him to the ED gurney and an ECG lead popped off his chest, spraying blood into my right eye. I ripped off my gloves and said, “I’ve had a blood exposure to my eye. Can someone please help me?” The patient was safely out of my hands, and I was now a patient. I lost my shit.

I went into shock as they rushed me to the eyewash station and practically drowned me trying to help me. As the water ran down my hair and onto my shoulders, the floor turned red around me as water met blood and gravity did its thing. I stood there in a widening bright red pool and I fell apart. As the ED staff worked on our patient, a quiet little blonde angel went to work saving me.

She took me to the women’s changing room and calmly talked me into taking my flight suit off. When I saw myself in the mirror, I got a huge lump in my throat and lost my voice as tears streamed down my face. “I need you to take your suit off, it’s okay, I’ll help you.” I could hear her talking, but it sounded hollow. Outside the door my partner was knocking frantically, “Is she ok? Can I talk to her?”

I was stripped down to my bra and panties, with blood staining my arms and legs. I answered the door and our eyes met. He looked me up and down and said, “Holy shit.” I whispered, “I’ll be okay, I’ll be right out.” And then I let my little blonde angel wipe the blood off my body and dress me in surgical scrubs.

As soon as I was dressed, I pulled my act roughly together and headed for the bloody stretcher in the foyer. They tried to check me into the ED to start my blood testing, but I needed to function. I was having none of that! In my mind, I was back in charge of my life and saying, “Back off, people, I’ve got shit to do!” So I headed for the stretcher, and started to rip the cushions off as blood pooled around it on the floor.

I cleaned. As I scrubbed, inside I was scrubbing myself clean in my mind. It really wasn’t working! People followed me out and started to silently help me clean. 45 minutes later, I looked up to see people just staring helplessly at me. When I couldn’t find another drop of blood on the stretcher, I went to my designated ED room and waited for someone to come test my blood as my donor got his tested too.

I sat there for an hour, getting tested, answering questions, waiting. My nurse and pilot never left my side. My partner wrapped me in his arms and whispered in my ear, “You’re my fucking hero.”

When my blood was drawn, wild horses couldn’t hold me one more minute. I rushed out the door to start the hour-and-a-half process of cleaning the inside of the ship so that we could lift and return to base. I had seen a lot of blood in my life, but never had any of us seen what we’d seen that day. When we lifted, I tried to convince myself that we had left that disaster behind us.

The half hour flight back to base was uncharacteristically silent. We were all reflecting.

When we landed, the fixed wing pilot and crew came out to meet us on the pad. They grabbed gear, asked us what we needed for supplies, and started asking questions. “Stop!” I screamed in my mind, “I left this back there!”

We called in the mechanics and started the decontamination process as they ripped out the sled and seats to get the blood out of all the places no one could see. They complained about how bloody it was. We had already invested more than two hours cleaning the ship.

As I left the heli sitting on its ramp on the tarmac, I got the call I was waiting for.

The doctor who had tested me was solemn on the other end, “I’ve got good news and bad news.” My mouth turned to cotton. “Give me the good news first, please.” “He doesn’t have HIV.” I breathed. “But he does have Hep C?” I asked. “He does have Hep C. I’m sorry.” I grilled him and he assured me my chance of eye exposure and transmission was negligible.

Easy for you to say, Doc, did you not see that I was bathed in his blood like Rambo? I turned to walk back in the hangar and caught the eye of my partner. I raised my hand to him in the shape of a C. We both started to cry. I was surrounded by my crew as they hugged me and loved me.

As the ship was being deep cleaned, another medical flight team landed. We walked out to help them off-load an isolette. The paramedics who were on our scene call earlier were there to transport them to the hospital. When they saw me, they strode towards me quickly, both needing news on our patient, “Did he make it? What’s the prognosis?” I felt the thoughts go from them to me and back again.

The trauma and the enormity of the scene was still ashen on their faces. None of us would be forgetting what we saw. I thought of the blood, the glass, the shards of metal, the body parts on the highway… I embraced the paramedic who intubated our patient and whispered quietly in his ear, “Hep C positive, my friend.”

He held on to me, but pulled back and looked me in the eye. “You’re kidding me, aren’t you?” I shook my head no. Our boys on the ground had been kneeling in glass and metal and blood. Their exposures were blood to blood and more dangerous than mine. Had I not been exposed, they likely never would’ve felt the need to be tested, because they never would’ve known.

I call that divine intervention, but then again, the whole damned flight had been divine intervention.

My partner called our base manager and my 24-hour shift ended at 12, due to my uh… emotional state. Medical flight teams need to be focused and not distracted about personal matters. I was mildly distracted. My pilot and I met at the crew house and out came the whiskey. Six hours after our ordeal, he looked at me and said, “Can I tell you something?” I nodded.

He looked me in the eye and said, “I’m still shaking. If you hadn’t done what you did, we would not be here.”

That flight was the perfect storm. Everything we did right still went wrong. But three days later, our patient was off the ventilator, awake, telling others what led to the accident, and asking about me. He remembered my voice. He was going to be okay. I was going to require a bit more time.

My method for coping is talking about the trauma, going over it, step by step, crying, thinking, evaluating, and then talking about it some more. For three weeks, I couldn’t complete the story without crying and tasting the smell of blood in my mouth.

As I prepared for six months of repeated testing for Hep C and HIV, I relied on my company, and they abandoned me. I relied on my crew, and only two knew where I had been and what I had seen. The flight company I worked for fell far short of knowing how to support a crew member with trauma. Go figure, they knew how to save a life, but not a soul.

As my first month of testing approached, I started asking for assistance on how to get it done, whom to call, what if it’s positive? No answer. Not once did my manager ask how I was doing, was there any extra help that I needed, or even to talk about the flight with me. Instead, they pulled the flight up for review and told me I could’ve done better.

Excuse me? Our patient is alive and well. I’m alive but I’m not well. The trauma that had happened to me became insult to injury. This rock-star flight RT hung up her flight suit. It just happened to be the same day as one of my nurses. He had lost a three-year old from a car wreck and experienced the same loss of respect and support.

I am strong, resilient, proud, capable, intelligent and extremely good at what I do. I give selflessly of myself in all areas of my life. I recognize people in need, and I act! I would give my life gladly to save a stranger, and I nearly had. But who was going to save me?

I healed to the best of my ability by journaling, talking to my peers about the flight, and communicating with the umbrella company that managed my flight company, addressing what had happened on the flight and how they could better support people like me. I was initiating positive changes for the crew I had left behind, because it was something I could do in a situation where I felt helpless.

On the outside I was making progress, but silent and suffering on the inside, not so much.

If the scene wasn’t bad enough, the flight was worse. If the flight wasn’t bad enough, the exposure was worse. If the exposure wasn’t bad enough, the treatment I received at the hands of my flight company was worse. Trauma after trauma after trauma, and then I gave up the job of my dreams. One that I was damned good at.

I fell into darkness.

As I went about my life, I continued to function as I always do, but I felt the light go out of my eyes. I started sleeping more and caring less. The person who was always there for others was still there for others, but started to believe there was no one there for her. As I kept on keeping on, I started planning my exit from my personal hell. I went about my life as I planned my own death.

I observed it from my perch above myself, and it looked okay, acceptable, maybe even a little pleasant. The more I thought about it, the more I thought to myself, “Isn’t anyone going to save me? No? Not savable then. Okay.” Then I got to the point where that didn’t matter either, it was perfectly acceptable to the one in charge, and that was me. Oh, wow! Something I was in control of again! Nice!

Regarding suicide and other such stupid shit… it’s the easy way out.

I continued to function for others. I began night shift at a large hospital as a staff respiratory therapist, completed my court contracts as a guardian ad litem, and continued to exercise and smile, but the light was fading out of me. I gave what I had left inside to complete the tasks at hand, didn’t accept any new contracts, and started contacting people I hadn’t talked to in a while just to touch base, aka say goodbye.

I’ve always been the go-to girl when someone is in need of a reminder of their worth. If someone needs a reason to live, they come to me or someone sends them to me. Over the years, I’ve counseled many teens and adults, strangers and friends back from the ledge with unfaltering love for them.

One day I got a message from a woman I hardly knew, “My son is in trouble, I heard you can help?” I had answered her, “I’d love to.” We exchanged numbers and this young man of 19 started to pour out his feelings to this total stranger. For days we talked and texted. He made me a promise. He said he wouldn’t take his own life. I had convinced him that he mattered, because he did.

A year later, I heard from him again. “I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for you.”

And here I was, having nearly lost my life to save a stranger, having saved my crew, my ship, and my patient, having counseled many souls about how much they mattered… wondering if I mattered to anyone.

“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight
awhile on boughs too slight,
feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings,
knowing she hath wings.” ~ Victor Hugo

I continued to make my plans. I was calm, cool, collected, and found them to be completely acceptable. Yet not one soul knew I was even struggling. After all, I’m the one who holds up the rest, how could I possibly need holding up?

I was lying in bed, reading, when I got a text from one of my very closest friends. “Hey, a guy I know is missing. He left a suicide note for his kids. I guess he’s in a dark place, but no one knew. Everyone is trying to find him. I don’t know him well, but he needs to talk to someone. Can I give him your number?” My response, “Of course.”

He copied me on the text he sent to this man, it read, “I know you need to talk, here’s the number of my friend, she can help. She has a relationship with God, like none I’ve ever seen. Please reach out to her.” I didn’t know who to feel more sorry for, the poor guy who was supposed to reach out to me, or the poor blind bastard who was sending him to me for help.

The next afternoon, as I was on the treadmill, my mind in a numb fog of just barely functioning in my state of acceptance, I received another text from my friend. “They found him, he’s okay. Did he reach out to you?” I replied, “No.” He went on, “Well, I hope he will, I think you can help him.”

At this point, the light inside me flickered, and I replied, “I think it’s great that you are tuned in to saving a man you barely know, when the woman you call your best friend is in the same dark place that he is.” A flash of anger inside me. Wow, emotion, that feels kinda good! Been awhile.

“What do you mean?” he asked. I answered, “I’ve been planning my own death for two weeks now. Can you please tell me who is going to save me?”

His response baffled me, “Did you learn anything from this?” I replied, “No, was I supposed to?” And then he said, “I did. I learned that if my earthbound angel can go to that place, then anyone can.” I wanted to scream! I felt my inner fire flicker.

Then I said it, “All of my adult life, I have put the world before myself. I have loved perfectly, strangers, family, friends. I never fail to recognize someone in need. But not one fucking person can see me drowning? Tell me, who is going to save me?”

I was pissed! For the first time in weeks, I felt alive. Now to keep it that way.

I called my lifelong friend, “Doc, I need meds, I’m not doing so hot.” We talked about the flight. We talked about my plans to end my life. We made plans to save my life. I did a personal inventory. I asked myself, “Who is this secret safe with?” I needed to bring it to the light to battle the dark. As I spoke the words aloud again, they lost their power over me, and I started to understand.

I finally understood how others felt when they came to me, wanting to know if they mattered to anyone. They spoke the words and the words lost their grip. They didn’t have anyone to trust the words to, so they trusted them to me.

How had I gotten there again? Again? Yes, I had been there before, 12 years earlier. When I was recently divorced, with two young kids, I had found myself a single mom, and gone back to college to attain a career that could pay the bills. I was working two jobs and going to school full-time. It was too much. I found myself unable to get off the couch, hallucinating, sinking into despair.

Thank God for my dear friend Shelly. I had called her to take the kids for the night. She knew something was wrong. When she laid eyes on me, she immediately jumped to action, got me the help I needed, and most important of all, she saw my darkness and threw me a lifeline. I didn’t know about depression, but she did. She had been there, and someone had thrown her a lifeline. It was my turn.

As I said, I had been the lifeline to many, including my own son. Three years earlier, when he was 18, he sat me down one morning and said, “We gotta talk. I’ve been wanting to die, and I’ve put some serious thought into how I’m going to do it. I need some help, Mom.” My heart sank. My beautiful, amazing, charismatic, loved-by-everybody son, wanted out. I looked him in the eye. Time to come clean on a few things.

“I’ve been where you are, son.” He looked at me, questions all over his face, “When, Mom?” So we talked. By the end of the day, he was on medication, and we kept each other’s secret as we pulled him back from the ledge. My son wanting to die made me realize that I could never go there again.

How can you pull your own flesh and blood back from the abyss and extract a promise from them that they’ll never go there again, and then go there yourself? And yet, that is exactly where I found myself… again.

As the meds kicked in, the fog cleared. I was able to process the trauma again, but this time with a soft edge around it. I didn’t have the feeling that I was drowning and reaching for non-existent hands. I saw my own hands again, reaching to save myself.

Here’s the funny thing about depression… no, I’m sorry, there’s nothing funny about depression. It sucks. It’s insidious. It makes even the strongest, most sane, most productive, amazing people, sink into a heap of despair. It is the lie in your head that you don’t matter to anyone… not even yourself, especially not to yourself. It is a chemical imbalance in your brain.

It is not a flaw in your being, but it convinces you that it is. It speaks softly in the darkness and becomes your close friend as you shut everyone else out.

So today I heal. I’m taking personal inventory. I’m listening to the inner voice that tells me I’m necessary. I tell the people whom I love that I love them. I tell the people whom I meet that they are important, that we’ve met for a reason. I tell them that God sees them, because He does.

My son and I met for coffee, in the only spare 10 minutes that we had for each other in two months, then begrudgingly said goodbye too soon. 10 minutes was not enough. We walked to our cars in the pouring rain, nose parked to nose in the parking lot. We sat behind our steering wheels and glanced up for a final wave. He motioned with his head to the car parked beside me.

I looked over and saw a young woman slumped over her steering wheel crying, with two little girls in the back seat. My son knows me well. He knows I can’t watch another person suffering and not offer to help. I got out of my car and walked around to the driver’s door. I tapped on the glass. She looked up, startled, and rolled her window down just enough to hear what I had to say.

I said, “It looks like you could use a hug?” She flew out of the car and into my arms. She told me her life story in two minutes. It was a sad story. I said, “Can I tell you something?” She nodded. “God sees you. Help is on the way.” She started to cry again and choked out, “How do you know?” I replied, “Because He sent me here to tell you so.”

I got back in my car and looked up to meet the eyes of my son. We stared at each other, wanting more time. “I love you,” he mouthed. I started to cry. It was my turn to know that God sees me.

***

Polly Cavill is a native Montanan ranch kid, currently running amok, writing stories and music, and saving lives as the gypsy respiratory therapist that she is, going where the wind and Angels take her. She is deeply passionate about being humane in a changing world, and advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves. She knows that sharing her stories is the only way to open this world up to a new way of thinking, in hopes of creating a better world for all.

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