Like the Fish

It would have been better if she was what I expected. It would have been a lot easier if she was some drunk, crazy, screaming meanie, filled with booze and hate, fighting with some other girls about whatever it is they fight about. It would have been just another call if she just cooperated, and was obnoxious, and demanding and thought the world revolved around her, and ignored me and paid more attention to her phone. That would have made it easy.

But it wasn't easy.

She was adorable, and sober, and dressed for a night dancing with her boyfriend. She was worried that her mom would be mad that she got hurt. She wasn't drunk, she didn't even drink. She was in the line of fire, that's all. The wrong place at the wrong time. She was in the way when a drunk, crazy, screaming meanie threw a bottle, and her face broke the intended path,and more glass started to fly, and fists and kicks started, and when it ended her beautiful face was sliced up, and her teeth were broken, and her eyeball gouged, and a four inch laceration bled from the top of her breast and soaked her dress with blood.

I wish she hadn't smiled through the mask of blood, and then winced with pain when the jagged edges of her skin moved, and her lip separated when I asked her her name.

And most of all, I wish she hadn't told me with another painful smile that her name is Marlin. Marlin, like the fish, she said, and asked me if her face would be okay.


  • Pat Blackman/Grandma Muggle says:

    We live in hope Michael. It would be wonderful if today’s medical “miracles” are able to help her. Sometimes miracles do happen don’t they?
    She sounds like a brave and thoughtful young lady. As for her mother being mad because she got hurt? Not so. When she was 16 Erin was afraid I’d be angry because our car was “demolished” when the axle broke and separated while while she was driving it. “Stuff” happens. All I could think about when I got to the emergency room was, “is she alright?” That accident ended her dream of becoming a firefighter but it didn’t end her. As you know, she found a way to be a part of the FD in other ways. A documentary, ride alongs on so many apparatus, being friends with so many of the men and women on the department and now? A dispatcher for the Scituate Fire and police department. 🙂

    Hopefully this young lady will have her dream too someday. As I said before. We live in hope.

    One thing of which I am sure, she was taken care of very well at the outset and that gives her a better chance of having a pretty good outcome. And, if prayers help, (and I believe they do) she has mine and those of many others.

    Thanks for being who you are Michael. I am so proud of all of my fire department friends. I do (of course) have certain “favorites.” 😉
    PS, Rick is doing a little better. As he says “Working on it.”

  • Mel says:

    There is still some good left in this world.

  • tbone says:

    I just wonder what it will take for the morons at city licensing to realize the city night life is out if control. The cops do their best but it is insanity downcity at night. Mike, please try and remember, its the runs like this, with normal unassuming patients that you can have more impact than you think. Its helpful to think these people are who we want to be ready to help.

  • queenie says:

    Saw your interview on aol – the story about the junkie phone booth and the woman who gave birth. . . .  wow.  This is a tough calling for you, my friend!  Thank you for your work and your quiet heroic attempts to stay sane in the face of much insanity.  
    Blessings on you and your work.

    • I saw the interview as well. Chilling. I don't know how you can do what you do, and see what you see, every day and still continue to go on. It takes a special kind of person to do your particular job and you appear to be that kind of person. I applaud you and all EMT's. Good job! I have added a link to your blog on my blog. Hope that's OK!

  • Mr618 says:

    Damn.  Just… damn.
    But I'd be willing to bet you gritted your teeth, did what you had to do, told her you would take good care of her, and did your best.
    And I would also bet that your being the one who responded made a crappy situation just a little bit better.

  • JoeEMT799 says:

    Plastics, Plastics, Plastics! : (
    These kids just don't know how dangerous these places are. Its sad when the innocent ones get caught by the idiots! 

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