A Thousand Naked Strangers
Probably Not What You're Thinking
"In a job where it's possible to scoop up a stranger's brain,
it's important to have levity. But after awhile, I lose the ability
to judge which stories to tell my friends and which go beyond the
limits of good taste. Death cracks inside jokes that only we
emergency workers--with our knowledge of the post-mortem human--will
ever laugh at."
September 11, 2001 had a way of changing many people's
priorities. In a nation suddenly at war many people wanted to be
tested. Legions began showing up at military recruiting offices.
Many of Kevin Hazzards friends who had gone to The Citadel with him
were in that line of work. He, however, opted for paramedical
training. Fortunately for readers he documented his journey from EMT
school on through years in his chosen field.
A Thousand Naked Strangers makes for a fascinating narrative.
But I gotta warn you right up front. If graphic descriptions of
blood, gore, and people's brains leaking out onto the pavement make
you spleeny (as we say in Maine) do not pick up the book. Don't even
finishing this review. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Some of those stories you'll hear are about:
*rescuing a person having multiple seizures in a decrepit homeless
shelter where onlookers get it the way and a a minister feels that the
patient needs to be prayed over;
*transporting three high school shooting victims to a hospital and
finding that the quietest and calmest has been shot in the kidney;
*participating in a mandated disaster preparedness in which anything
that could go wrong does;
and *delivering a seemingly still born baby who suddenly acquires a
There is, however, a depth beyond the incidents. Hazzard shares
his thoughts and feelings from the fear of doing the wrong thing at
the beginning of his practice through the ups and downs of working
closely with a partner in unpredictable life or death situations to
the end where he realizes he's burning out. Basically his narrative
is an enthralling adult coming of age story. I'd especially recommend
it to people in the field and their loved ones.
On a personal note Veazie had its first ever candidates' night where
we have three people running for two seats on both school committee
and town council. There were brochures printed up. We had to sit in
front of everyone, give speeches, and answer questions. Then we
mingled, talking to people and eating cookies. The high points for me
were oatmeal raisin cookies and getting to hold and rock a really
A great big shout out goes out to all the emergency medical people who
rush into situations most of us would do everything to avoid. You are
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