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Westport 10/9

I've always thought of myself as kind of a squeamish person. I don't pass out at the sight of blood or a needle, but I don't exactly shrug and go on my merry way, either. I often look away during gory movies and TV shows, especially nowadays when the grossest and bloodiest sights can be seen on regular old prime-time dramas. As for needles, getting an injection of any kind always takes a deliberate act of will for me, a moment at which I say to myself that it wouldn't really be quite the thing to dissolve into a puddle of jelly or, alternatively, to run screaming out of the room.

You'll begin to see my reason for sharing this information when I tell you this week in EMT class we move on from studying medical issues to learning how to deal with trauma. Looking ahead in the textbook, I see chapter headings like "Bleeding and Soft Tissue Trauma," "Burns," "Musculoskeletal Trauma," "Eye, Face, and Neck Trauma," and "Spinal Column and Spinal Cord Trauma." Head, chest, and abdominal traumas each get their own chapters. The section starts with a "Trauma Overview" covering topics such as "mass and velocity," "impacts," "vehicle collisions," "falls," "penetrating injuries," and "blast injuries."

So how, you might ask, is a squeamish person like myself going to deal with all this? I've known since joining the fire department and the ambulance squad I was going to see some pretty terrible things. I haven't seen them yet, but it's only a matter of time. It's scary. How do I know that I'll be able to cope?

Well, I don't, but I do have some good reasons for thinking it. The best reason of all is I'm not alone. I'm part of a team, and I so have a whole lot of help - from the thorough training I'm getting now to the unfailingly supportive presence of my more experienced brothers and sisters. Without that support, I wouldn't be able to do this. With it, I can - and so, maybe, can you. I hope you'll think about it.

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