I cried. And not just the "wipe-away-a-tear" cry, but the downright "sniffling and holding onto my best friend for dear life" sort of cry. There's only one patient I have ever cried over before in my life, and she was a beautiful baby girl who had third degree burns and whose name the babysitter didn't even know.
Going to the call, I told Lee that I wondered if this would be a difficult call for me or not. It was the first domestic violence call that has happened to fall on my shift. I don't dwell on these things though, and I dismissed the thought as soon as I said it so I could focus on what I may or may not need to do, wondering what the injuries would be if any at all.
She stepped up into my ambulance, a girl around my age. Her blond hair matted with blood and dirt, her legs streaked with red that dripped onto her sneakers that in an unexpected way actually matched the cocktail dress she was wearing. Her friend was right behind her, demanding to know what her boyfriend did.
It was her arm and wrist that were sliced from the glass door. As I opened a bottle of sterile water, I rhetorically asked the cop if they were detaining the guy. I wasn't impressed with his answer and I informed him in no questionable terms that he had better hold on to that guy or I might just leave my ambulance to do so. Punk.
I was doing ok, but I could tell I had better shut the inner Rachel off quickly because my hands started to shake as I poured the water onto a towel. Soon enough, it was just her and I. We chatted and I wasted no time explaining to her that I left my marriage because of domestic abuse. She grabbed my hand and interrupted herself to tell me that she was really, really glad that I was the one with her because she needed to hear what I was telling her. She talked while I tied linen around her body in an attempt to keep her arm together. I told her to not move her arm, and to keep her wrist bent because any movement was causing her skin and fat to pull away from her body like nothing I have seen before. She thanked us over and over as she removed her ring.
I knew time was ticking before I started to feel again, so I quickly gave the nurse a report and got the signatures I needed after getting to the hospital. Lee caught me outside the patient's room and asked the dreaded question, if I was ok or not. I looked at him and I think he said "no" before I could say anything and then it just came crashing down. Somehow, I got outside...maybe without anyone noticing, or maybe with everyone noticing. I didn't really care. Somehow, the computer was moved out of my hands and to another location, and I buried my face into my arms. He held me while I couldn't say anything, then I curled myself into the passenger seat of the ambulance. I really just wanted to curl up in the ditch and die under the moonlight, moving on into Jesus' arms, never to experience pain again.
After I finished my paperwork, he came back and got the computer to finish getting what I needed so I wouldn't have to go inside. By that time, I was doing better though. In an attempt to console me, he told me that the boyfriend was indeed being detained and things were going to be worked out, and I got myself strong enough to move forward.
I said goodbye and good luck to her, watching as the doctor put stitch after stitch into her flesh. Then, I got back into my ambulance and we drove away...
I cried again as I wrote this. You see, I never bled and I have no physical scars, but I know the sound of things being broken. I understand what it's like to move yourself or your beloved little one out of the way quickly, before you are broken too. I still feel sick when I hear certain words or when some people get too close to me. I was not crying for her. She will get out of that relationship and she will be ok. I am ok, too, but sometimes it still hurts, and sometimes I get tired of being strong. Sometimes, I just want to beat the daylights out of him for everything I went through...but even that isn't what makes me cry.
Yes, I grieve what happened for so long. I grieve the fact that I believe in marriage and it was taken away from me. I grieve the thought that my children will not grow up in a home with both parents living in it. But this isn't what makes me weep. Lee told me at one point while I sat in the ambulance outside the hospital that this would never happen to me again, that no one would ever treat me like that again. I doubt he realized it, but that is exactly why I cry. I cry because I want to be worth someone's forever promise. I want to be safe and not have my guard up. I want to never, ever be hurt like that again. And I am afraid that the people who I know won't hurt me will walk out of my life and I will be left fighting for survival again. Completely illogical, I know, but my heart is still tender and I am only accepting a bright future from here on out in life. My standards are very high and I will not, will not be hurt again like that.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched; the flames will not even burn you.