My experience with the “L” word.Posted: September 8, 2011
i was 27 and living in Sicily. i had been dating sonia for 4-5 months.
the absolute worst EMS call i have ever responded to, was as follows (in summation): the call was for “newborn in respiratory distress” secondary to anaphylaxis to formula. basically a 2 week old stopped breathing because it had ana allergic reation to formula. we got on scene and my partner (who was the senior EMT in the hospital) looked at me and said, “i can’t do this.” and walked to the front of the ambulance. when your partner taps out on a call (this is a RARE move btw….feel free to chime in Dogsquat.) you HAVE to take on the call. there was a look of absolute terror and helplessness on the father’s face. what followed was 20 minutes that passed in 15 seconds. the boy had a breathing rate of 13-14 breaths per minute (it should be about 100-120 per minute). the baby was cool to touch and i noticed mild cyanosis (starting to turn blue, means blood isn’t moving throughout the body). i was breathing for the baby with a bag-valve-mask, flicking his foot with my finger (tactile stimulation) and was giving him supplemental oxygen. fortunately, his condition had improved as we arrived to the ER. the doors were thrown open , and a team of about 4 people rushed the gurney out of the ambulance.
i don’t know how long i had been sitting in the captains chair. all i remember is one of the ER docs and the ER Dept Head escorting my upstairs to mental health. ALL EMT’s have a to go through a CISD (critical incdent stress debrief) after a traumatic call. i’d already done hundreds of calls, human dismemberment doesn’t move me. the hospital is pretty small so mental health knew all of us well. they sent me home after a about an hour of talking with me. i was THAT fucked up by the call.
sonia was living with me in between semesters at uni of catania. i walked in the door, and she didn’t even bother speaking. she walked over to me, hugged me, and led me to the living room. she put on “dumb and dumber”, and brought me a beer which i didn’t drink. she then informed me that i wasn’t cooking that evening (i had prepped food to cook), and she went across the street and got my favorite “pizza capriccosa”. i couldn’t eat. after she had eaten she sat behind me, and placed my head on her chest and she sang a song gently in sicialian. i guess at some point i fell asleep (she was rubbing my neck and head…..that puts me out everytime), because she was leading me to the bedroom. i laid down and fell asleep. next thing i remember she was on top of me, i think it was around 4am. she had opened the persionas (the shutters the protects windows in italy) and the moon light bathed the room. she looked stunning. serpentine and elegantly graceful, i felt like i was drunk. all i could concentrate on was her. we were lying in bed facing each other, and she finally asked me.
s- “danny, que fai oggi?” (what happened today?)
d-“un incidentne con un bebe’.” (an accident with a baby.)
s- “e serioso?” (was it serious.)
d- “in fatti, molto.” (yes, very).
as i explained what had happened she sprang up, covering her mouth. she looked horrified. “perche no me explicare pui presto?” (why didn’t you tell me sooner?). i replied, “e impossible a parlare al momento.” (it was impossible for me to speak at that time). i told her the child lived and is doing fine, but i could already see a tear in her eye. i pulled her to me and felt her tiny fingers clutching my arm. “mi dispiache danny.” (i’m sorry danny). i told her it was alright.
“ti amo danny.” (i love you danny). and without hesitation i answered her, “anche ti amo.” (i love you too). the words came from my mouth without me even thinking about it. and for the first time in my adult life, i actually meant it. i had NEVER said those 3 words to a gf before. and aside from beth, sonia is the only other woman i’ve said them to.