In the two months of volunteering, I have experienced and learnt a lot, creating memories to last a lifetime. I found my first month to be extremely exhilarating! Every little thing excited me, like the siren, and thinking it would be fun to carry the equipment, oxygen, chair and 100kg patients all at once. Language barrier was a constant struggle for me and definitely my biggest challenge! And not just with the patients. I was walking into one of the hospitals when security looked at me and said “Mda delet”(MDA THE door), of course not processing what she said I smiled, nodded, faked laughed and kept walking. 5 minutes later ding, “I’m so sorry”, I told her, “Hebrew is not my first language”. Shuts door.
My second month was more about mastering the ins and out such as taking blood pressure in a moving ambulance and the time to arrive in the morning at Share’e Zedek to get shoko besakit (=Chocolate milk in a plastic bag). For some of us, we were lucky enough to experience a shift on a Natan (MICU). On my Natan shift, I saw death for the first time. I also helped assist with CPR by administrating the breaths. Whilst you get another view of the incredible things MDA does, my favorite stories have occurred in the Lavan (regular ambulance).
One of the hardest parts for me is not knowing the outcomes of patients. Once they are safely transferred to a bed in the hospital, we walk and never see them again.
In my first week, I had a 30-year-old mother who was dehydrated and lying still and unresponsive. She was semi-conscious the entire time, her eyes were fluttering, chest was rising with breathing and her heart was beating. We took her to hospital, and during the ride had to insert an IV drip.
The next call I received required us to take someone new to the same hospital. I was able to see the woman we had taken prior, that she was still unresponsive an hour later, her IV drip finished and her dad very stressed. I felt bad that I had to see him go through that pain. Coincidently enough, our third call returned us there and this time she had been able to communicate which meant she was on the path to recovery.
However, real life does not always have “happily ever afters” In MDA you never know what case you will get next or how you will react in certain situations. Two days later, my ambulance was called to a suicide. I saw a woman on the floor covered in blood, foaming at the mouth with material tied around her neck (intending to suffocate herself) and a deep stab in the stomach. Everything was happening so quickly and it is important that you emotionally detach yourself and pay critical attention to what is being asked. I was required to give oxygen and get a blanket. When I went to her room to look for a blanket, I saw blood on the walls. Whilst the medics were cutting the material around her neck, the Bat Sherut and I were checking the body for wounds. The driver then threw the keys to me to get the bed out of the ambulance. On my way to the car, I recognized the father from 2 days ago, and I wanted to ask him how his daughter was, but I knew it was not the right time. THANKFULLY, I did not, because turns out the patient was the same girl! We rushed her to the emergency room. In the ambulance she was struggling to talk and in a lot of pain. Later that day, the surgeons told us she was on the path to recovery.
Mda thank you for the most incredible 2 months. You gave me memories and friendships to last a lifetime. If I could sum you up in one sentence, it would “Ani Lo mevenah ivrit”(I do not understand Hebrew). So maybe see you later.