And it’s time to head over to NGO forum to do the paperwork for the upcoming video in Ratanakiri, finally. Now here’s the rub: I’ve got too much work now, I think. I teach at two English schools, I’m editing Susan Hero (of course) and now I want to make this video for hire, a very important and timely doc about land alienation in the Northern Province of Ratanakiri.
What to do? Take a leap and quit the English teaching? Or try to juggle everything?
Also bidding for another video about a violent landgrabbing episode up in Poipet near the Thai border. If/when the money comes through, it’ll be like rain in the desert, I’ve been so starved for cash.
Amazingly, just framed my NYU diploma yesterday, first time in 13 years when I graduated. even though I think the NYU Film School degree was a waste of money (in light of its costs), I have it now and I might as well try to look impressive.
So there it is: in a cheesy Cambodian gold frame perched on top of a wicker shelf. I’m official now, important.
Now, let me finish the story of the guy in Sinnoukville, as you might recall, we’d just arrived at the hospital and we’d gotten him onto the gurney. Yet his eyes were still fixed open and unblinking, and the doctor –an old guy who seemed to be helping out “just for kicks”, alhtough he did have a white robe — seemed unsure as to what to do as he placed an oxygen mask on the blue guy’s face.
A crowd gathered, formed a thickening ring in the night.
I continued to do CPR as best I could, again, recalling the times I spent with Annie: recessa-Annie, the CPR training dummy back in my high school days.
“One and two and three and four and…”
The breath just rasberried out of him; it waas not catching, despite my labor, he was not breathing on his own , and his eyes remained fixed open. However, his shade of blue did seem to be lightening, as if the cells in his skin and body were finally receiving much-needed oxygen. So, perhapos his body, though inert and incapable of breathing, was still able to transport the oxygen thorugh his veins once we got it into him.
“Water–Gimme some water!”
I was thirtsy, plus I wanted to rinse my mouth, you never know, normally during artificial respiration they now use a big balloon thing, or a mouth shaped tube to blow through to protect against germs–I wanted to make sure I didn’t catch some weird bug from him.
Someone came with some water. I drank, poured it on my head, washed my face quickly between CPR breaths.
The old doctor placed the plastic breathing mask on the blue guy again, and seemed to fiddle with a knob on a nearby oxygen tank. Yet the guy wasn’t breathing–how could he breatht the oxygen if he had no power to breath?!
The old doctor waddled away, and I took a look at the fish-faced blue guy again, wearing the hopeless mask. I lifted the mask and blew a couple more breaths, replaced the mask, then conitnues with the CPR.
By now, another English speaking guy, an Indian hipster from the bar downstairs from the guesthouse where the guy originally was found, had arrived.
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Yea, here’s how you do CPR–“
I showed him, told him what to do, and decided this was our last and best chance. I’d take care of the breath, he’d do the heart.
The audience murmered at this new dramatic development. The event had grown more compelling, which in turn drew new onlookers.
“One and two and three–“
C’mon, c’mon…I started to feel like I was floating from the frantic effort…just an hour ago i was lounging on the bech with the lobster girl, and before that I was gently rocking in the boat at sea. I looked down again at the big, blu, blank face before me.
The guy did seem to be getting less blue, but his eyes were still open, dull, and he was not responding.
Finally, a “real” doctor, who actually wore a name badge and ID card around his neck, came out to investigate. He motioned for us to stop, brought out a flashlight, and shined it into the guy’s eyes.
There was no response. His pupils did not contract.
“S’lap Heuy” [He’d dead]
He flicked off his flashlight and strode away. I understood him, with my limited Khmer; the Indian guy and myself peeled away and followed the doctor, idly, like leaves caught in the wake of a passing car.
He had died. Or rather, he had always been dead, and we were unable to revive him.
Just at that moment, as if in cruel punctuation, the power went out at the hospital, leaving us all in shadows. The white, lumescent belly of the dead man glowed on his gurney in the corner.
“Can someone bring something to cover him with?”
I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was an old woman, the one who supplied me with the water earlier. She wanted her 500 riel for the water.
I gave it to her, then sat down next to a spindly old guy on a stone bench near the entrance to the hospital. The crowd still hovered, now in expectation of regarding the arrival of the wife and children–whose heartbreak I did not want to witness.
Someone gave me a cigarette, and I smoked. Yet i could not leave, since I had no whhels, and did not feel like finding my way back in the dark.
Thus, I did indeed witness the horrible heartbreaking cries of the dead man’s wife, the one who’d found him in the first place, who’d frantically sought our help.
I felt like I’d let her down, but I knew I’d tried.
“Kelly. K-e-l-l-y” She spelled the name for the doctor in between sobs, as he took the report.
Huh. So now I know his name.
I finally got a ride back to the beach with the fellow who’d come with me to the hospital in the first place, in the Toyota. He rode me back on a borrowed motorcycle. As we left, I could see the whole family standing around the pal body, gently massaging his arms as if in hopes of reviving him…