I daresay emergency services workers have seen it all, or at least they think they have, until they get that next strange call — whether it’s a fake call from someone who just wants an ambulance ride, or a person with a strange sexual fetish that when carried out, just didn’t go the way he wanted.
But More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie is more than a compilation of funny stories. It gets at the very heart of what it is to be an EMT, a paramedic, a nurse, or a doctor. It is a heroic, exhausting, and emotionally traumatic calling. Other people’s trauma can become the emergency worker’s trauma, even though the workers try very hard not to let these situations affect them. As Sherry points out, “Rule #1: People Die. Rule #2: Medics cannot change rule #1. (But boy, do we try!”)
Having this kind of job means a love-hate relationship with the role. You love the people you work with, and you love helping the patients, but you hate to see people die. Still, you are addicted to trauma; you can’t get wanting to save everyone out of your system. The last section of the book is told by a Hurricane Katrina Military Responder, who makes the point that many of the workers who responded to Hurricane Katrina came away feeling disappointed because they couldn’t do more. Emergency services workers want to keep the world safe. It’s impossible, but they want to try anyway.
At the end of the book is a mini-interview with the author. Sherry sums things up best, I think, when she is asked, “Why did you write this book?” She talks about people’s reactions when she tells them what she does for a living and then states:
“What they do not realize until it happens to them is that trauma affects someone who is loved and cherished, and lives are forever changed. I want people to see the world for a moment through my eyes, to walk with me through the broken glass, to sit next to me and hold the hand of the injured or dying, to fight against death thinking that sometimes we just might have the power to win those battles. And then I want them to see the complete lunacy of it all and laugh.”