- by Dr Joji Mercier
The 4 am alarm comes too quickly. Fall out of bed and shrug sleep-leaden limbs into a crisp clean flight-suit. Brush teeth; wash face; feed the dogs. The flight bag stands ready, prepared the evening before with years of learned hacks and help-outs-in-a-tight-corner. Drive into the not-yet morning of the not-yet-summer darkness, towards the hanger, into a day which can hold anything: nursing the travel-coffee as it cheer-leads motivation into each cell.
The neon light of the crew-room never flatters the washed-out night-shift faces handing over the baton. Summary of stock used, replenished items, levels of on-board oxygen cylinders, battery-charge on the defibrillator and ventilator. Tones hushed, the transition of arriving and departing; of beginning and ending. The merging and separation of energies in the helicopter emergency medicine world: the coffee machine grinding out the whirring soundtrack to the choreographed interactions.