A young woman enters nursing school in the early 70's, just as the feminist movement is gaining momentum and changing all the rules. Her nursing career takes her on a forty year journey from New York to Austalia, challenging her both personally and professionally in ways she never expected and introducing her to some of the most intriguing characters who ever entered a hospital.
The young man's limp body is dead weight. His teammates in the pool struggle to hoist him up as two lifeguards reach down to drag him onto the pool deck. He's pale, but breathing normally. The guards seem to have everything under control. Maybe I should at least offer to lend a hand?
"Need any help? I'm a nurse."
"No, we're okay," replies one of the young guards. "The paramedics are on the way."
"How's his pulse?" I ask.
Relieved, I turn away to join my class which is already warming up on the other side of the indoor pool. That's when I hear his breathing change. Turning back, I take a step closer.
I'm wondering if he could be postictal - unresponsive following a seizure. If that's the case, all we need to do is keep his airway open until the paramedics arrive. In the ER where I work, this would be just another routine day. But I'm not in the ER with the support of doctors, my fellow nurses and the high tech equipment I rely on. I'm at my neighborhood rec center, trying to guess why this teenager is unconscious.
Suddenly, the boy's color changes to dusky, faintly blue. I no longer see any rise and fall in his chest.