Reviewed by Jen Oliver-Rigsby for Reader Views (5/2021)
“More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie” is a collection of stories from real EMS, ER, paramilitary and firefighter responders telling their sides of dealing with traumatic cases. The stories range from veterinary to medical to behavioral health trauma. Each story discusses how the responder reacted to the trauma and sometimes a background to why they reacted the way that they did. Some readers who have never dealt with similar traumatic events may not understand how or why the responder reacted the way that they did…usually with humor, and might be offended by some of the stories.
As a former crisis worker, this reader can definitely identify with some of the stories and has used humor in order to cope with the ordeal. The story about the Captain will be one of those stories that will stick in my head for a while. The amount of respect that the responder used in “handling” this behavioral health patient was remarkable and appreciated by this reader. It was also a great learning experience for the two other responders. Dealing with behavioral health crises isn’t always an easy thing to do and this responder was spot on.
Almost everyone can relate to at least one story out of the several, even if it’s relating to Jones’ personal struggle when she had to put down her beloved 4 legged child. Especially since it was during such a difficult time in her life. Jones is honest when giving her stories and warns readers ahead of time that some of the stories might hit a cord that some readers might not be aware of. Jones shows the compassion that she has had for others over the several years that she has had in different traumatic careers.
Each story has value and anyone in the emergency field should pick up a copy and see how their own traumatic stories fit in. Compare how they handled it with others who have gone through similar situations. And understand that sometimes you need to find humor in life in order to deal with the ugliness of life. Finding humor in the worst-case scenario isn’t always a bad thing.
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More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie: My Life as a Nurse Paramedic 2nd Edition
Sherry Lynn Jones
Modern History Press (2021)
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.