Caroline Green '09 | Feb. 18, 2014 | Notre Dame Magazine
Her lifeless blue eyes gazed upwards to the heavens, a view obstructed by the vinyl ceiling tiles of her hospital room. She was still and quiet as, well, death. I stared at her for a few seconds but quickly realized I couldn’t entertain any sort of existential thoughts because they would cause me to turn sharply towards the door to her room, proceed swiftly to the automatic doors of the hospital, hurl myself into my gray Toyota Corolla, and drive 28 hours until the next door I ran through was the one leading to my childhood bedroom.
I knew what had to be done, not that I’d actually done it before. I approached my patient and placed my stethoscope on her immobile chest. I left it there for well over a minute, an eternity. I swore I heard a heartbeat and re-started the 60 second count twice. I stared at her chest for any sign of breathing — dear God, did she just move? I re-started that count three times. Pulses — absent. Corneal reflexes — absent. I looked at the watch I had bought just before my internship. It had very prominent second hand tick marks that I thought would be helpful for checking pulses and counting respirations.