Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Blue (10/08/09)
TITLE: An Intimate Kiss
By Debbie Roome
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The seagulls’ cries intensify and through the rushing wind, I realise someone is wailing and screaming for help. Adrenaline surges as I pound across the beach, eyes searching, heart racing. It’s a woman, stumbling across the sand, a child limp in her arms. “Help him, please!” She thrusts him towards me. “He fell in the sea! I couldn’t get him out!”
I fall on my knees, conscious that I’m bereft of my support team and the security of the ER. There’s no technology here, no one shouting code blue, no one pushing the crash cart into the cubicle.
The child’s face is dusky like the blue of the stormy ocean, his lips a mottled bruise. I shove my cell phone towards the woman. “Call 911!” The child is motionless as I check his airway, tilt his head back, feel for a pulse in his neck. This is the first time I’ve done CPR outside of a medical environment. As I press my mouth over his and pinch his nose shut, I block off thoughts of Aids and disease. Breathe, compress. My hand forces his sternum down, causing his blood to move and circulate.
The mother is wailing next to us and the rawness of her emotion urges me on. In the ER I’m shielded from this pain by glass partitions and thick curtains. Come on, boy. I breathe and compress, breathe and compress, my lips forming a seal, an intimate kiss as I pour my life into his body. You’ve got to live. Your mother needs you.
He coughs and liquid erupts, salty water and bile streaming over his chin and neck. I turn him on his side, wiping his face with my shirt. Then he’s still again, deathly blue, his finger-beds navy, eyes sunken shadows.
I suddenly want to save this child more than anything. Breathe, compress. I get the rhythm going again, pouring everything I am into his body. This is so much more personal than working in the ER. The mother is quieter now, sobbing as she watches for further signs of life.
After a couple more minutes, he coughs again and then the miracle happens. He sucks in a breath. And then another and another. I sit back on my haunches and watch as blue skin suffuses with pink. As dark shadows melt away and life returns. It’s a physical demonstration of rebirth; a child given a second chance.
In the distance, sirens howl as the mother gathers her son into her arms. He’s crying now, soft mewling sobs that blend with the circling seagulls.
I lie back in the sand, drained, exhausted, staggered at the emotions within. I poured my breath into his body and now he lives again.
After a long moment, I look up at the heavens. “Is that how it is for You?” I ask. “Is that how you feel about us?”
A small still voice whispers in my soul. “A thousand times over.”
The story is fiction but I once performed CPR on a 15 month old with no pulse or breath. After five minutes he started breathing and the pink literally washed away the blue. It changed my life forever.
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