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More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie: My Life as a Nurse Paramedic
Sherry Jones Mayo
Modern History Press (2021)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (04/2021)
A thoughtful look at the lives of emergency service personnel
More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie by Sherry Jones Mayo is an incredibly thoughtful, eloquent, and revealing life documentation of how emergency service personnel do what they do, their highs and lows. These are the law enforcers, trauma nurses, firefighters, military, and paramilitary, those in corrections and public health. The author succinctly brings out how those professionals have to strike a balance between their family at home and their second family, which is work.
The book thrusts the reader into a life filled with so many dimensions and perspectives of how emergency respondents live, the encounters they have, and how life-changing some of these encounters are. Written from the other side of the coin by a paramedic, the tales are familiar and endearing. Author Sherry Jones Mayo showcases real-life experiences from first-hand responders, both emotional and hard-hitting, but the author employs relief to the reader by adding humor to the stories.
As a reader, “More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie” gives an illuminating realization of the heroism of emergency service professionals, their devotion and commitment to saving lives. One prime example the book covers is Hurricane Katrina, the burden it placed on the first responders of the crisis and the delays experienced.
No one is born ready or prepared for all emergencies. The author notes that what is important is having an alternative plan. Notable is the fact that the book also addresses topics such as dealing with grief, healing, and living in hope of a better tomorrow.
All things considered, this book is finely written and it is easy to grasp the attention of even a non-professional outside the medical field. The author also provides a lexicon at the end of the book for readers to reference throughout their reading. “More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie” by Sherry Jones Mayo would be a wonderful eye-opener for someone who wants to start a career in the field of firefighting, law enforcement and the medical field.
Why you are uniquely qualified to write this book?
I can tell these stories because I have lived them and know the difference between dramatic representations and real life. Like many, I grew up watching the EMS and ER shows on television that focused on the hero aspect, providing predictable outcomes, and an unrealistic percentage of happy endings. Although television and movie depictions are more factual these days, the truth about how the emergency worker feels remains mostly hidden. My slant is in telling another side of the story: what responders think and feel during calls, how they internalize tragedy, what happens after the call, and how our world turns upside down when the patient is someone we love.
Why did you write this book?
When I tell people what I do, they focus on the gory side of life, like those who cannot look away from the scene of a bad accident. What they do not realize until it happens to them is that trauma affects someone who is loved and cherished, and lives are forever changed. I want people to see the world for a moment through my eyes, to walk with me through the broken glass, to sit next to me and hold the hand of the injured or dying, to fight against death thinking that sometimes we just might have the power to win those battles. And then I want them to see the complete lunacy of it all and laugh.
What do you think readers will get out of it?
I am hoping that readers will see emergency service workers in a new light and realize we are human, too. We have our own challenges, pains, and sorrows. We have had surgeries, major illnesses, broken bones, and our share of emotional scars. We have been in accidents, our backs are killing us from lifting, and our feet ache after shifts that last from 12 to 24 hours, often without a break. We also realize the importance of last words, how sometimes the sound of an “I love you” has to last a lifetime.