Monday, September 22, 2008

If Only It Were That Easy

It was nearly 0900 when HM3 came to me and asked me if I had seen HM2 that morning.

"Why do you ask?"

"Well, his jacket is here and the light is on, but no one's seen him today. We've called his cell phone and it just rings and rings."

Dread consumed me. Today was the anniversary of LT Willman's death and it had been on my mind for the past week. "Do we have anyone we could send to his house?"

"We could have earlier, but now we're down staff."

"Let me see what I can do." I called his cell phone and it rang just as HM3 said. I found the recall bill with his landline phone and called it, saying I was worried about him and could he call back as soon as possible. I told the Department Head our HM2 was not available and I was going to call Base Security.

"Why not send one of the HNs?" he asked.

"Because if it's something bad, I don't want to wreck the corpsman."

I called Security and asked the Dispatch if they could send a patrolman to do a courtesy call for us. I explained that we had left messages on the HM2's cell phone and landline and HM2 was normally at work before all of us. I also explained that HM2 suffered from PTSD and his spouse was deployed. "Let me talk to the Watch Commander," she said. I waited on hold.

HM3 popped into the doorway. "HM2 just called. His dog knocked his cell phone off the table and he overslept." Relief flooded my brain and my shoulders relaxed. When the dispatch operator returned, I explained we didn't need their services after all.

When HM2 got into work, I sat down with him and talked to him about suicide. "You don't have to worry about me," he responded.

"But I do," I said. I told him about LT Willman and how he was the last person who anyone would have believed would die at his own hand. I still have his request for the PICC line course in a folder in my desk. Such a silly thing to hold on to. I used to drive by his house in the weeks following his death, looking at the yellow police tape barricading the doors. I told the psychiatrist that I did this. Why? he asked. I'm not sure, I said. I guess I believe that one of these times when I drive past, the yellow tape will be gone, and he'll be in his yard, waving and telling me, "No worries, ma'am."

No worries, ma'am.

Link to suicide screening for primary care clinics: Screening


Renee said...

Dear Mary,

Please email me.

I was a Navy Nurse with Eric in Oak Harbor. He was a dear person and I still miss him.
Thank you.

Renee Mercier

Mary K said...

I left a message on one of your email address is mary (at) theparkers (dot) org

Take care.