A trauma nurse friend of mine for over twenty years spoke about her job tonight. God knows what she has seen over the years that she’s never talked about. She loves her job. She just never goes into the gory details. She must have a heart and a spirit the size of the moon, the sun and the stars to internalize the horrors she has seen.
But, tonight she had to speak it. She had to tell what she had been a witness to, what she had to participate in out of duty- the amputation of both arms of a twenty-three-year old male. This college student hadn’t been in a car or an industrial accident. He was simply “partying, dude” with his buddies over spring break.
After several days of nonstop drinking and who knows what else, this young man’s friends decided it would be really funny to leave him kneeling, passed out in front of the toilet. They even shut the lid on his head and folded arms to add to the humor. Unfortunately, he stayed passed out and they stayed stoned for over fourteen hours.
When the young man was taken to the hospital, my friend, the doctors and staff were absolutely horrified: the tissue and blood vessels in his arms had necrotized—both arms had to be removed from above the elbow. Those familiar with amputation realize that one saving grace under such dire circumstances is to be able to keep a joint for prosthetic mobility—but not for this unfortunate Spring Break reveler.
“When I saw his (severed) arm on the table it made me sick,” my friend told me, with tears in her eyes and a quaver in her voice: This from the most stoic and devoted of nurses. The stupidity, the carelessness, the lack of adult discernment and the excuse to lose all moral and civilized restraint that has become Spring Break, is what made her sick.
The young man without arms is likely going to die—he’s in kidney failure on top of everything else. All in honor of an out-of-control college spring break that has become a monstrosity, a travesty of the once hallowed religious holiday that was the inspiration for this special week in the first place. Spring break was intended for students to go home to be with their families over Easter. To celebrate a resurrection with love and joy. It was about Easter hats and gloves for the ladies. The sweet poignant scent of fresh-cut lilies on altars. The childish delight of hunting for gaily decorated eggs, the family dinner of ham and potatoes.
A rare few go home on Spring Break (oh yes, it was originally Easter Break, but that was before the title offended certain parties). Too many students spend the week drinking, drugging and fornicating. One must salute the word "fornicating" : It so conjures up the mindless thrusting and grunting of unconscionable (party) animals.
Spring Break is about rape. It’s about boating accidents at popular lakes and beaches. It’s about morally and socially unacceptable and shameful behavior.
How many parents will see their topless daughters bumping, grinding and giving tongue on national TV this season? And watch their sons cursing, slobbering and being abusive? Far too many. Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring Easter back to this holiday. But, even an Easter miracle won’t bring that young man’s arms back. A miracle would be that his kidneys survive. And if they don’t? Then may a merciful God have pity on his partying soul.