Wednesday, 20 March 2013

It Casts a Grim Shadow

I haven’t written anything for a while because I’ve been feeling a bit stressed and despondent; although I can be brutally honest here up to a point, I still feel I have to be careful what I say given that what I say is out in the public domain.  I was also hoping to bring news about bunkhouse funding; perhaps next month.

Today has been one of those days that stops you in your tracks and makes you re-evaluate what’s important and what’s not really worth stressing over.  One of the contractors working on the new temporary hostel accommodation collapsed unconscious and fell into a hole he’d been digging; as the second person on the scene I felt totally helpless – no clue what to do.  He looked in a bad way but his colleague and the Castle chef had him in the recovery position, so I went for help.  From there, everybody knew exactly what to do – the right people appeared on the scene, the air rescue helicopter was summoned and then ... an agonising wait.  The minutes stretched out excruciatingly into half an hour and still no tuk tuk tuk of approaching rotor blades.  The man on the ground came round and we all stood around trying not to crowd him, but unwilling to leave until we knew what was happening.  The helicopter came, paramedics took over in their maddeningly calm, unhurried way, everybody moved inside out of the cold; more waiting.  The helicopter left with our friend inside, we drank sweet tea and talked over and over about what happened.  Everybody did everything right; the systems in place for just this sort of thing swung into action, yet as the helicopter shrank steadily away from us, I think we all felt a bit helpless.

We don’t know if he’s going to be ok.  Nothing is quite the same.  The things that seemed so important when I woke up this morning don’t seem as pressing any more.  These contractors have been coming to the island off and on for a long time, they’ve become our friends.  It’s a terrible thing to see one of them so close to death, to be so closely reminded that it will come to all of us at some point – even to me.  Everybody did everything right, hopefully a life was saved today.  We are all shaken by it.  There’s nothing like a life or death situation for giving back perspective, but I’m glad it doesn’t happen very often.

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