Saturday, August 25, 2007

Brendan's Wreck.......

As Brendan slid to a stop in the oak duff at the corner of Nason Road and Cachagua Road:

His Dickie's were torn off as he bounced down the road with the brand new Aprilia on his back. He screamed and thrashed about. The first thing his hands found in the oak duff was a crack pipe.

Brendan's screams woke up Mother Hubbard. Mother is the much hated recluse who lives on the corner and saves any living creature. County Health shut her down for having too many lamas, rescued from some awful yuppie. She has dogs, cats, name it. Mother is used to screams in Cachagua....people fight and take drugs on that corner.

"Do you need help?"


Aw shit. Dial 911. Tell them to send the Cachagua Volunteers.

Mother dressed quickly and ran over. She saw Brendan thrashing around naked from the waist down with no skin left on his legs. She ran back to her house and grabbed a beautiful quilt, raced back and covered the kid and stayed with him until the Volunteers arrived.

Mother meanwhile did 18 months for GTA when she swiped a Camaro she saw in James' (our bartender's) yard that she thought no one would notice. Her son is a hot-rodder, you see. Do I need to spell out: Grand Theft: Auto?

The next guy to arrive was Mike Iverson: local, tree guy, groom of the wedding that is cancelled because I think Lazer Pahlnick is an asshole and Hillary Clinton is a whore. Mike is a sweet guy, and stayed until the Volunteers arrived. He called me nine times to make sure that everything is OK, and can he do anything at all for Brendan?

The Volunteers arrive: Jaime Del Valle, the retired gunsmith runs the scene. My heart is in my throat. I have had to save people, but I don't want to have to save my son. Jaime is the full package: wise, kind, fast, efficient, thorough. Funny, even. Jaime reassured Brendan that everything was cool.......settled his team, gave them directions, and continued to run through the scary stuff: "Can you move your toes? Can you feel this? What day is it? Who is President?"

"Some cock...."

The young people in our world work so hard, are so skilled, and so self-deprecating that they actually joke about serious injury. Just part of the game. These kids work with heavy machinery, pipes and wires and steel....tons of dirt and don't even mention the chemicals involved in the roadwork, the winemaking, the construction.....

Brendan is in so much pain that he can't straighten his legs. The Volunteers start to pile wrapped packages of emergency blankets under his legs to give him support. The fire chief goes: "Guys, those are really expensive......" Fuck you. I promise to return the blankets.

The EMT's arrive. The two crews waltz through the turnover of responsibility from the local guys to the EMT's. Brendan has lost 80% of the skin below his navel, including his dick, and is in serious pain. Mike full on righteous brother Cachagua style worker solidarity mode gave Bren a Vicodin one minute after the crash. Jaime can't do this, but tells him to ask the medics in the ambulance.

They continue the evaluation as they load him into the Carmel Valley ambulance. Meanwhile, the dumbass CHP's (California Highway Patrol for my New Zealand friends) sent the ambulance the long way extra fifteen minutes

. Someone asks Brendan a question. No answer.

"Can you hear me?"


"What did you say? Can you hear me?"


Matt, the EMT from Cadiz, and Jaime realize that Brendan, despite his pain, is pulling their chain. He is letting them know that he is OK....kind of. It is communicated in a language of work, solidarity, support, fitness, capability that none of the rest of us mere mortals understand. It is a response and a thank you rolled in one.


There are people that are bitter about the whole 911 firefighter hero deal. Hey, they have a job, they get paid, they do it. So what? Anne Coulter said something truly awful about the firefighters and EMT's that I forget.

Ignoring the fact that "911 Rudy Giuliani" knew about the inability of the fireguy's Motorola radios to communicate inside high-rises eight years before 911 and did nothing about it because of budget constraints......He still is running in the glow of the heroism of the real guys....

This kind of work by its very nature is heroic. These young people, and I include Jaime in this even though he is my in a dimension that is beyond the rest of us.

I pride myself in being able to work long hours, day after day, and still be able to solve complicated problems physically and mentally and still be unafraid to accept responsibility and get the job done. I work a hundred hours a week under huge stress, and I feel proud.

No. I am a pussy.

If I fuck up, the salmon is overcooked. And, despite my long hours, I am in control of my environment for the most part.

If these guys fuck up....someone dies. And they have no control whatsoever of their environment.

I watched Jaime take control of a chaotic accident scene....aided by his fellow volunteers who I am ashamed to not know the names.....fend off the douche bag bean counters.....and with supreme skill and even humor take care of his patient. And....hand him off to the EMT's who with equal skill, finesse, and the same humor.....finish the job and save the patient.

To be able to work calmly, efficiently and intelligently under that kind of question, these guys are heroes.

Jaime. Matt from Cadiz. The DuckBrew guys....all the rest of you. My story worked out fine, thanks to you.

My hat is off to you for the job that you do every day. My heart goes out to you for the stories that don't work out so fine.

Thank you is not strong enough.


Blogger INNER VOICES said...

"there is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer."

i don't remember where i heard it, but i agree with it and you. without them in the places where we live we sometimes wouldn't live.

i was hoping this story would turn out to be some sickened dream you had while recovering from dengue fever, but no... and holy shit! it seems its not. i hope it will all get better and not worse. I've got a batch of long ridge lightning in the still and will get some to you both. i wish there was more that could be done to help.

4:34 PM  
Blogger semi-savant said...

"The physician (medic) must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate".

Nice perspective on Brendan's incident (no accidents) Hope he recovers intact and speedily...
Jamie et al. are truly awesome but don't forget without those exquisitely prepared salmon entrees folks like us (messiah complexed) would/could not proceed!Thanks for all you do!

5:18 PM  
Blogger Tana Butler said...

I am just stunned and can barely move or breathe.

My God.

I do not know what to say. I cannot imagine the horror, or your anguish, and I pray with every cell in my being that your son recovers fully.

You are all in my prayers—prayers being that part of me that connects with everything I think of as holy (this good earth, the Good Spirit that connects us all).

9:07 PM  
Blogger brothaweed said...

Thanks for such recognition! You're right, Jaime is my hero also. Please give my regards to Brendan. Plus, I'll eat the "burnt salmon".

Matt from Cadiz.

9:04 PM  

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