Thursday, May 20, 2010

On past lives and old friends

I'm 48 years old.  For the past 2 years, I've been a stay at home kitty mom, and for the 4 years before that, I worked as an insurance adminstrator, running my husband's business.  However, from the time I got my first job in L&D at age 19,  until we moved back home in 2003, I worked full-time as a nurse, moving from obstetrics to critical care and then to the emergency room and flight nursing, with a seven year stint in nursing management thrown in for good measure.  In total 22 years as a nurse.  I met a lot of great people.

In a lot of ways, it seems like a different life.  Not better or worse, at least not in totality . . . I mean I certainly don't miss the brutal hours and physical work, but I have to admit to occasionally missing the blood, guts and adrenaline.  But, on days like today, what I find I miss is the people I came to know, and shared such an affinity with, in the trenches of healthcare. 

People like J. Alan Baker.  I first met Alan when he was working as a paramedic for Victoria EMS (way back in the day, when it was a seperate entity from the Fire Department) and I was a wet-behind-the-ears ICU nurse.  His sense of humor was torqued a little left of center, just like mine, and we got along great.  He did a stint as an ER tech, and I got to know him better, and always enjoyed his humor and compassion.  He went on to marry a fellow ER nurse, Debbie Binford-Baker, and for the better part of the last 20 years, they had a great love affair.  Alan became a college faculty member, teaching for years in the EMS program at VC.  He touched even more lives there, and everyone who had him as an instructor was a better medic because of him.   Including me.

We went our seperate ways and fell out of touch . . . I moved to San Antonio to work with AirLife.  Alan and Debbie relocated back to New Mexico, where she was originally from, and he went to work for PHI (Petroleum Helicopters, Inc) as a flight medic, and eventually their training coordinator.  I have no doubt he touched and saved many lives there, too.  The last time I saw Alan was about 3-4 years ago, a casual run-in at the mall.  I wish I had seen him since.

Alan died unexpectedly Wednesday morning.  He was only 52.  And the world is surely a poorer place for his passing.

So while I used to sign my name Leslie Bennetsen-Hurley, RN BSN CCRN CFRN CEN, EMT-P, and now I'm just plain 'Leslie', I think today, I'd like to sign as 'your friend' . . . because the people you come to know, even when you lose touch, still hold a place in your heart.

May all God's angels carry you gently Home, Alan.  You will be missed.
Your Friend,

1 comment:

  1. Lovely thoughts, Leslie, about the people who pass through our lives. And you're right, the alphabet soup in our professional signatures means nothing to those we hold dear. Thoughts and prayers for you and Alan's family...

    Your friend,