Monday, September 14, 2009

Props to the Flight Crew (no pun intended, I'm sure...)

So I've been visiting up in Whitefish for a while, and I have met some truly extraordinary people while I'm up here. They are the flight medics that fly for ALERT in Whitefish. These people work nights as nurses and medics, a 12 hour shift in the ER, waiting for the call that means its time to fly.

Once or twice a night, if they are lucky (or you are not), they fire up the helicopter and go save someone who is badly injured, and fly them as far out as Spokane sometimes.

I've had the privilege of hanging out with Mike and his flight partner Steve, and their best friend Karen in the last few days. And I must give props where they are due... the gelling, the whole gleam of understanding of the two hour challenge comes from these people.

When you work nights, and you work seven nights in a row, you have a choice. You can sleep till five, then get ready for work and head in, having no life outside of your upsidedown schedule, or, you can be like Karen. You can get up at two, launch your creekboat, and go kyaking for a few hours by yourself before you go into work. You can be like Steve, and go get a couple of sky diving jumps in. (Really. I'm serious. For real. He gets up early to go jump out of planes. So does his fiancee, who is also a nurse.) You can be like Mike, and go skate the bowl in the skatepark with your kids for a few hours.

You can choose to live a life. Yes, they get three hours less sleep than is recommended, and yes, that is hard on their bodies. But they also aren't dead. They aren't wandering through their lives wishing they could have a life. They make the choice to feel alive and it infects their demeanor at work. And I had the opportunity to see this, as well, because I stopped by the hospital at one in the morning to say hi the other night.

So thank you, Whitefish ALERT medical flight team, I'm impressed, and inspired, and grateful for how you live your life, and how you care for your patients, and your families. You guys make me want to do it better.


Jo said...

May we never meet them on a business call...

Quin said...

These are some of the greatest people that you never hope to meet, and if you do you can be assured your in some of the most skilled hands that exist.

a said...

I have to say, you guys are both right. Everything I've heard while I've been up there is about how incredibly competent and on the ball these people are, and not just their medical skills, but their ability to care compassionately for someone in a terrifying situation. I'm beyond impressed.