The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020 53 were in the waiting vehicles and could be loaded aboard the helicopter immediately. They agreed to load them up. Both male patients had many broken bones and had been given morphine to calm the pain. Neither responded to me nor gave signs of consciousness. I walked over to check on Kathey-Lee, who had been strapped to a gurney and was nestled into a large neck brace. Her face was black and blue, and she had contusions running up to the line of her wavy red hair. She responded to my greeting with a sober sense of humor that made me realize she hadn’t touched the morphine I had sent up to the clinic. We exchanged stories of our longest night and news of our colleagues. As the stretcher bearers carried her to the helicopter, I asked Kathey-Lee why she hadn’t taken any morphine. “At a time like this, I want to be the one making the decisions!” she replied. The helicopter crew wanted to leave, but they wanted to take the injured military officer with them, and he hadn’t shown up. I asked if we should pre-position another patient in the event the injured colonel didn’t make it to the airfield in time. When they agreed, I sent for the young American woman who had come to the embassy with a head injury the night before; but it took a few minutes to find her. The crew chief said they didn’t have a medic on board, and that in view of the serious injuries of the three embassy personnel, they needed to depart immediately. Even if the other patient were there, it was unlikely they would be able to take her due to weight considerations, he said. Just then a vehicle pulled up and the young woman got out. She was in bad shape and walked slowly. When the flight crew saw her, they realized they couldn’t leave her behind. They helped her to the helicopter and strapped her in a back seat. The crew chief turned to me and promised to return for more patients in the afternoon. u I rejoined Steve Lesniak and his long gun on the knoll next to the embassy. The helicopter lifted gracefully off the dusty soccer field as we stood and watched till it disappeared out of sight. The long night of Jan. 12 was over, but our work had just begun. n