Why Am I a Nurse?
In 1994, I was an Army Medic at a desolate post in Northern California. We were in the middle of nowhere, and the nearest hospital was an hour away. Our post had a clinic with two medics on duty and a doctor on call. One night a civilian drove her husband, who was having chest pains, to our restricted post.
The gate sergeant had to get approval from the doctor to let them through the gates. A military police escort drove them to our clinic, we hooked him up to our 10 lead, and voila, we discovered that he was having an MI.
Doc made some calls and told us that the nearest hospital in Reno will take him, but there’s no transportation. “He will either make it or not. But you guys are it,” he told us.
We got permission to leave the post, woke up the crew to cover for us while we were out, and took off for Reno in the middle of the night with lights and sirens blaring.
We dropped them off at the hospital and headed back, unsure of what that man’s fate would be.
A month later, a woman arrived at our post and asked our captain to see us. She asked if we remembered her. “Sorry, no,” we said.
She replied, “No matter. You saved my life.”
We were perplexed because we hadn’t worked on a woman at all. “Maybe you have us confused,” we said. But she smiled and before I knew it, she was hugging me. And tearing up.
“My husband was having a heart attack and you took him to Reno in the middle of the night,” she said. “He’s my life. The last thing I have in the world. Without him I would be all alone.”
Her husband was a civilian at the time, but he had been in the military and like most of us, he retired near the base to work.
That memory has stuck with me for almost 30 years. It’s why I became a nurse. And I still love my job.
Jorge Ramirez, RN, works as a travel nurse.