Eye in the Sky
There is something majestic about the big, open Alberta sky on a cold blue bird day. The stillness. The big, beautiful blue sky. When I was on call with STARS, the element of weather played a significant part. Being part of the team that was able to make a difference when a difference was needed was so rewarding. However, the challenges we faced with cold and inclement weather were difficult.
I remember once flying to a scene (which required us to land on a highway) in the dead of Winter. It was cold and the windchill made it even colder. Our patient was trapped in their vehicle and needed to get out. As always the team discussed our strategy and what equipment was needed and what roles we needed to take. Being an emergency room nurse at the time I was used to working in the hospital, not trudging through knee deep snow in the ditch while carrying equipment.
The challenge became clear when our equipment and IV fluids started freezing. The oxygen tubing we were using was breaking and shattering in our hands because it was so cold. The gloves we wore to protect ourselves were frozen and latterly breaking into pieces. Quick decisions were needed and extrication was the first and foremost priority, which we were able to accomplish after some fast thinking on our feet.
Working in the hospital, patients always came to me neatly packaged by the paramedics so out in the field completing tasks quickly before hypothermia set in to the patients and the emergency crew was paramount. Quick decisions and quicker action helps save lives. And that right there is why I continued to fly for 10 years. When you can see that your contribution makes a real difference….it brings you back again and again!