Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption
Copyright © 2018-2019 Snowblind. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 16: Shunned
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Jared and Melanie both were confined to the ambulance base as they were on call for LifeFlight. Jared was trying to catch up on the never-ending pile of paper which seemed to multiply every time he turned his back to it. Jared was reviewing some applications for two positions which had been posted on the ambulance service website. Melanie walked into his office and sat down.
"Anything catch your eye on those applications, Jared?"
He sat back in his chair, exhaled a long breath and looked at his cousin. "Mel, I really am losing interest in the role as trainer for the base. Looking through these resumes and applications, I see about half are full of bullshit."
"You have so many skills which can be used especially being the trainer for all the young minds who work here."
"I know. Mel, life was so good when it was Liam and I working together all the time. I miss being with my partner, and I miss just being a paramedic."
Melanie sat down on the corner of Jared's desk. "Cuz, are you doing what you meant to do in life?"
"I just don't know, Mel." Jared stared at the desk in front of him for a long moment before continuing. "I don't like the office work."
The radio's on their hips warbled the lifeflight sequence. Both Melanie and Jared ran down the back hallway towards the back door leading to the helipad. As they exited the building, the two pilots were just getting into the machine. As Melanie and Jared got into the back seats of the helicopter, the turbine was beginning to wind up for a start.
"Dispatch, this is LifeFlight. We are winding up," said the pilot.
"LifeFlight, this is dispatch. Hospital at Centreville is requesting transport of 25-year-old male, overdose by alcohol, Tylenol and other OTC. Patient is unconscious after gastric lavage."
Melanie spoke into her headset, "That doesn't sound like an accident."
"I guess we'll find out," replied Jared as he watched the pilots.
The pilot was looking at the maps as the co-pilot acknowledged dispatch. He then got on the radio and said, "This is LifeFlight Med Evac Charlie, Charlie, Xray, Tango at the ambulance base, we are a medical helicopter. Lifting off and heading northeast at 1,500' to Centreville Hospital for emergency flight. All conflicting traffic advise immediately." He called it out two more times. It was evening so no conflicting was heard. The engines were revved, and the pilot lifted off.
"Jared, we are 45 minutes out to landing at Centreville," the navigator said.
"It's a way out, isn't it?' replied Jared.
"Three hours by road at high speed," the copilot answered.
"I'm not that familiar with that side of the city. As I recall it's more of a grain farm area out there," Jared stated.
The pilot jumped in, "My wife is from out that way. Farming community of about 2,500 in the area and 900 in town. They fought viciously when the government wanted to close the hospital a few years ago. It's a good town, they have some stores and a brand new school for k-12. Arena and lots of hockey teams in the winter along with a curling rink too. Lots of retired people but lots of young families, too."
"Sounds like a nice place to live," replied Jared.
"Well, the only problem with it is that they are fairly conservative in their politics and views. There are the usual mainline churches in town but the biggest two are Full Gospel and Seventh Day Adventist. My wife is from the United Church."
Melanie asked, "Pretty strict in their views?"
"Those two groups are. Don't get me wrong though. It's a fantastic town where if anyone needs help they all pitch in to help without reservation. It's a Ukrainian, Polish, and English town with a couple of Asian families, a dozen Filipino families, a couple dozen Metis and Indigenous families and even a couple of black South African families."
"Let me guess," started Jared. "They're the doctors?"
"Got that right. They are absolutely loved by the community, too. Just like most of western Canada, the towns all seem to have doctors from South Africa. They are very, very good at what they do and that country sure trains them well."
"I worked with a few on peacekeeping missions," Melanie added. "Some were trained as traumatologists and did their internships in the rough parts of Johannesburg in the various emergency departments."
"Kat's husband was originally from South Africa although he has absolutely no accent now," Jared threw out there.
"You mean you guys destroyed his perfect English and replaced it with Canadian," Melanie retorted.
The Co-pilot added, "Better than that damn American language."
"Or you Ozzies, James," the pilot said to the co-pilot. "When you get excited or been drinking I can't understand a word out of your mouth."
"Oh, like you Newfies are any better," the co-pilot quipped back.
Jared and Melanie were chuckling at the two up front poking fun at each other. The rest of the trip was quiet until they began their approach to the town. The helicopter made a circle around the town to identify the location of the hospital and the landing area. A message passed through to dispatch confirmed what the pilot was seeing below. The hospital had a lit landing pad directly behind it. The co-pilot went live on the aircraft radio system to speak locally to anyone flying within 100 km. "This is LifeFlight Med Evac Charlie, Charlie, Xray, Tango in the vicinity of Centreville dropping from 1,500' to 350'. Heading into Centreville Hospital landing pad for a landing, all conflicting traffic please notify." He repeated it again as the helicopter flew another circuit around the area. This final time, the pilot had switched on a series of high powered searchlights which illuminated anything on the ground within range. They had checked the landing information description and were coming in by the recommended north to south access for the pad.
"This is LifeFlight Med Evac Charlie, Charlie, Xray, Tango in the vicinity of Centreville final approach to landing pad at hospital. All conflicting traffic please advise." The co-pilot repeated it a second time, and when the helicopter landed he announced, "This is LifeFlight Med Evac Charlie, Charlie, Xray, Tango on the ground at Centreville Hospital."
Two people were running out from the emergency access doors of the hospital as the motor was cooling off. Jared and Melanie had jumped out of their seats and ran around back to open the doors and pull the stretcher full of equipment out. They met up with the two people who had run out, and they helped pull the equipment in through the doors.
The doctor met them in the hallway near the emergency treatment room.
"I'm happy to see you with that brand new helicopter," said the doctor as he shook both Melanie and Jared's hands.
"Pleasure to be here Doctor," replied Jared. "What have we got?"
The doctor showed them into his office and handed them a large envelope of photocopied documents and orders. "You have a 22-year-old male who I suspect attempted suicide by ingesting a 40-ounce bottle of vodka, Tylenol extra strength, Venlafaxine, and Sinequan. We did two gastric lavages and a lot of tablet debris came back up with it. Ran charcoal through him as well. The blood work is not appearing to be good. He may need dialysis or there may be kidney damage. We can't treat him here."
"How much of the meds do you think you got?" asked Melanie.
"I'm estimating 80% of it came back, but its just an estimation," replied the Doctor. "He's unconscious, we have him tubed, catheter in place, cardiac monitoring as well. There have been some PVC and irregularities; strips are in the envelope. There may be damage to the liver and kidney from the Tylenol levels let alone the other two drugs on top of it. He needs more than we can do for him here." The doctor looked distressed before speaking, "During his recovery, Sammy will need more help psychologically as well."
"Is that linked to the attempt?" asked Jared.
"Sammy or Samuel is a good kid who graduated from university, came back and started teaching at the high school he graduated from here in town." The doctor continued, "Earlier today, his mother who is a member of the Full Gospel Church publicly shunned him for being gay. The family refused to talk to him, the church members all act as if he doesn't exist and ignore him. That involves the kids at high school doing as their parents tell them and refusing to go to class. It has created quite a problem here in town and he decided that his disgrace was too much to live."
"Created a problem?" asked Jared.
"Yes, the two strict churches have reacted with the one shunning him and the other attacking his character along with his ability to do his job." The doctor looked quite upset but continued, "I know Sammy, and he's a good kid. I didn't realize being gay was still a bad thing in their minds. As a person of colour myself, it has taken them a long time to look beyond the skin. They treated me well but treated me differently. It's better now after years of educating them."
Jared turned to Mel, "Finish taking report, please. I would like a moment with the patient." Jared walked into the treatment room and was standing there thinking as he looked at the patient. A nurse walked in and saw Jared standing there. "Have you got everything you need for him?" she asked.
Jared turned to her, "I think so. My partner is just finishing report while I was checking the equipment and listening to him breathe."
"Listen to him breathe?"
Jared looked at her, "How long have you been a nurse?"
"Have you ever walked into a room and listened to the breathing, the sounds of the equipment, and opened yourself up to anything you might sense?"
She paused before answering, "I've never admitted it to anyone I do that but sometimes I can sense exactly what is going on with the patient."
"I do it all the time," Jared replied. "I find it sometimes helps when you add it to the usual signs and symptoms being displayed."
"I know you won't remember me Jared, but I've done a few of your Advanced Cardiac Life Support classes as well as Advanced Trauma Life Support."
"Your face is familiar but I'm sorry for not remembering your name."
"It doesn't matter. What is important is that I tell you that what you taught me has saved more lives here than you know."
Jared faced the nurse, "Thank you, Tonya. Your name did come back to me and I appreciate your comments."
The other door opened up and Mel came in with the doctor. Melanie and Jared worked together smoothly to transfer the patient over to their stretcher and equipment. They moved out the back door pushing the stretcher towards the helicopter.
They quickly got the stretcher in the back, and everyone strapped in. The helicopter rotors reached their speed quickly and the unit took off. Melanie was checking over the patient while Jared was double checking the equipment.
"He seems stable at the moment," stated Melanie.
Jared nodded to her and placed his hands onto Sammy's bare chest. "Creator, guide my hands to do your work." Quickly Jared began to travel through Samuel's body, but he was drawn to the kidneys. There had been damage to approximately 35% of the capacity of the organs, and the systemic problems were beginning to occur. The changes would be subtle at first but could progress quickly. Something as simple as the kidneys not removing potassium and build up occurring could cause abnormal heart rhythms. That may be the cause of the already witnessed cardiac problems. Additional symptoms will begin showing as the damage continues, or it may even reverse if treatment can be started quickly. Jared focused on the kidneys and began to rebuild the damaged areas to a level which would not be destructive or fatal. After the kidneys, he travelled through the liver and made a few minor adjustments to the tissue. Jared then entered the memories of the young man, drawing his spirit into the next world.
Sammy was blonde haired, blue eyes, 6' tall, naturally broad shouldered with a bit of extra weight at 240lbs. He was standing in the next world and looking around with panic to figure out where he was. Jared approached him.
"Hello Samuel, or do you prefer Sammy?"
"Where the hell am I?" he replied with a short tone.
Jared smiled and waved his hand. In front of him, two patio chairs appeared in front of them. "Have a seat, this may take a while."
Before moving, Sammy asked, "Am I dead?"
"No, you are not. At this moment, you're in a helicopter transporting you to the Breck Hospital for further treatment."
"Who are you?"
Jared carefully moved to a chair and sat down, indicating to Sammy to sit in the other one. He did so after a moment. "My name is Jared Bear, and I'm a paramedic and a Medicine Man for my tribe."
"How is this possible? I mean us talking like this. Am I in heaven, or hell?"
"Not everything is as simple as you've been taught, Sammy. This is what we call the middle world; it's neither what you would think or been taught is heaven or hell, or anything you could compare it to. It's a place of healing or transition to the next world. You are unconscious, and I summoned your spirit to this place so we could talk."
Sammy stared at Jared for a moment before saying, "I'm dead, aren't I."
"No, you're not." Jared reached out his hand towards Sammy and said, "Take my hand and you will see." Carefully, Sammy reached out and took Jared's hand. "You are going to see through my eyes, Sammy."
Jared closed his eyes and concentrated. When he opened his eyes he was looking at Sammy on the stretcher.
"Holy shit!" exclaimed Sammy.
Jared began to speak, "Sammy, you are in the back of a LifeFlight helicopter attached to more equipment than I could explain to you in the time of the flight." Jared looked up towards Melanie. "This is my cousin, a nurse and paramedic who works with me on the helicopter. She's doing another assessment and checking your vitals. Do you remember what happened, Sammy?" asked Jared as he disconnected his sight from the young man.
Sammy looked at Jared, and then the memories hit him. Rather coldly he stated very clearly, "I wanted to be dead so I took a bunch of pills and washed them down with vodka."
"Would you explain to me why you would do that?"
"Why would you care?"
"Its what I do, Samuel."
The young man looked at Jared for a moment before he began. "I graduated from the high school here and I always wanted to become a teacher. I went to university, got my degree and came back to teach."
"Congratulations on getting your degree Samuel, but, there has to be more to it than that."
The young man appeared to be absolutely emotionless as he looked at Jared. The aura around Sammy had waves of red, grey, orange and black. Jared was very concerned about the colours he was seeing. The black colour is consistent with illness or imminent death and the intense red colour was indicating fear and something to do with sexuality. The grey band was quite wide which indicated depression, sadness, and exhaustion.
Jared waved his hand in front of him, and the aura colours surrounding Samuel became obvious to him. The young man jumped out of the chair and stared at his hands. "What the hell?"
"I'm sharing with you one of the things I see when I look at someone. This aura tells me a lot about what is going on inside of you."
"These colours tell you about me?"
"Just at face value. The colours show me you wanted to die, you've been depressed, sad, your tired of your life and just burnt out. The colours also indicate to me a great fear regarding your sexuality."
Sammy stared at Jared but didn't say anything.
"Please, sit down. Let's talk."
The young man slowly sat down in the chair, never breaking eye contact with Jared while he did it.
"Let's go back to the questions you avoided; why did you want to be dead?"
"My mother found out I was gay and the church has a strong stand against homosexuality. She turned the kids against me and they refused to go to class and be taught by a gay teacher. My family is shunning me, the church members all act as if I don't exist and shun me as well. The kids at high school are doing as their parents tell them and refusing to go to class."
"So I see a few problems there, Samuel."
"Please, call me Sammy or Sam."
"Which do you prefer?"
"Depending on the circumstances, Sam."
"Sam, I see the first problem as your being shunned by your family."
The young man, stared at the ground as he answered, "I knew that was going to happen someday when they found out."
"Ok, the next problem is you're afraid for your job after all the work you did to get your degree."
"I could agree with that."
"You also have lost your entire support network of family, church, work. What about friends?"
"I didn't talk to any of them since this blew up. But they'll follow along with their parents. The town is pretty strict about honour thy parents."
"What about your friends from university?"
"I haven't talked to them since I decided to die."
"So you have nowhere to go to live, you've screwed up your career, lost your family and your town. Is that about it?"
"Do I need any more?"
"First of all, our ambulance base at one location shares a building with an LGBTQ2 Drop-in Shelter. They have apartments for people like you, at no cost."
Sam looked up at Jared. "I probably wouldn't qualify."
"You already have a room booked for as soon as we get you out of the hospital."
Sam replied with a suspicious tone, "Ok."
"Can't help you with the family thing at this point, but they have a team of counsellors there to help."
"The other part of the building is a law firm who donates their time to help LGBTQ2 people who have been wronged or to help them fight for their rights."
"This sounds too good to be true. I don't have much money and just the clothes I'm wearing."
"Something we've been looking for is another teacher who likes working with disadvantaged kids. The drop-in centre runs an accredited school to help the young people who have been abandoned, abused, or thrown out of their homes get an education. Many have special needs who do very, very well with special attention."
"Are they just gay kids?"
"They are LGBTQ2 kids; male, female and transgender. They are also native, white, black, or just poor kids who have a right to an education. The centre helps anyone who walks through the door that needs it."
"You have my attention."
"The first is we need to get you healthy. You will recover physically, Sam. Mentally and socially it will take some time but we have many people available to help you heal. One of the first ladies you will speak with is Amanda. Wonderful lady with a pure heart who is the social worker at the hospital."
"This is a lot for me to take in and consider."
"Yes, it is. You need to know a couple of things, Sam. The first is that Grandfather has often told me that I tried too hard to move trees when a wiser man would walk around them. Think of your problems as trees. We need you not to move the trees, but with the help of professionals, to walk around them."
"When you say it that way Jared, it doesn't sound as insurmountable."
"I agree. Many elders have given me advice, some of which is: Walk tall as the trees. Never be disgraced by who you are. You are perfect, the way the Creator made you."
"The church tells me I'm an abomination."
"The church can say whatever it wants, Sam. The Creator of all made you the way are, and he loves you. Humans wrote the words in the books being used."
The young man was thinking as he said, "Maybe."
"Something else you need to think about is to seek strength not to be greater than your brother but to fight your greatest enemy... yourself. It's not the school board, your family or the church you are fighting. It's what you think of yourself, and what you have allowed them to do to you."
Sam hesitated before he answered, "There is some truth to that."
"The last bit of wisdom for you is that a man must make his own arrows. Sammy, we can't give you the answers. But, what we can do is help you through every step of the problem and teach you to make your own arrows."
"Jared, I'm beginning to believe you."
"That's good. It's not going to be easy at times but there are so many friends you haven't met yet to help you."
"Why do you care?"
"It's what I do. People who have taken the wrong path in life like you sometimes need to be redirected to the right way to achieve their potential."
"Will I see you around or you going to disappear?"
"We have a base in the same building the LGBTQ2 centre is in, and many who work there are my family. I will be around or if you need me, just call out my name. I will be there."
The young man looked at Jared for a long moment before saying, "I actually believe you."
"It's time to go back to the real world now' Sammy."
"It's so peaceful here. I feel safe."
"It will be there as well, Sam. We will all work with you to make sure you can build your own arrows."
The two men stood, and Jared gave Sam a hug.
"Peace be with you, Sam."
Jared was back in the helicopter where Melanie was completing the paperwork on the patient. She looked up at Jared. "So? How'd it go?"
"Zane will be expecting him and Sammy will need to meet Jesse too. He will do alright."
"That's good. We're 10 minutes out and as usual, I've had to do all the work while you wander around in the middle world."
"But that's why I hired my beautiful and smart cousin. To make sure everything is done that I miss."
"You are so smooth, but it damn well works everytime. Now, get strapped in so we can land."
End of Chapter Sixteen
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