Title: Aid From Above
Author: Kurtis Bell
In Aid From Above, Kurtis Bell shares several stories of his experience as a flight nurse working on a medical helicopter. Covering a wide array of experiences, from traumas to joking around with his coworkers, this is a clear-cut, honest account of what it’s like to work in Bell’s field.
Bell’s tone throughout his memoir reads easily, like he’s sitting down and sharing his experiences over a cup of coffee with the reader. He doesn’t shy away from telling the truth. The gut-wrenching descriptions of some of the cases may be too much for some readers, but Bell warns in advance of this. The author can turn the story in a one-hundred-eighty-degree direction, often going from a moment of shock, loss, or sadness, to reminding himself and the reader that this is his job. Like any job, he might take it for granted, but working alongside a dedicated and fun-loving crew and knowing that he plays a part in saving lives reminds him and the reader that his job is an important one. Some parts of Bell’s memoir are especially moving, such as when he brings home how much his friends and family mean to him and how he’s reminded of this after experiencing a difficult case involving loss of life.
This memoir gives a glimpse into something most of us will never experience, and that glimpse is enough to intrigue, horrify, move, and instill a sense of pride. That the author can render a plethora of emotions from the reader, at times tears, laughter, and a simple loss of words, is a testimony to how well-crafted his memoir is. When an author can connect with the reader on multiple levels, the author has done his or her job. This draws the reader into the scenes. To feel, if only for a moment, that one is right alongside the flight crew as they fight to keep someone’s heart beating or try to insert an intubation tube is an exhilarating feeling.
While the honesty and raw words employed to share Bell’s experiences go far to deliver an exceptional memoir, a few instances of vulgarity may be off-putting to some readers. Although, to be fair, Bell admits at one point that he doesn’t filter what he says and knows he probably should. Knowing when too much is shared and not enough is a difficult balancing act, and crossing the line of what’s too vulgar is one of personal taste. Overall, these couple of minor instances do not detract from the stories.
Kurtis Bell’s memoir is an important read for anyone who is interested in knowing more about the medical industry, more specifically working as a flight nurse. In Aid From Above, the author breaks down the barriers between the fiction we see on TV in medical shows and the complex reality in an eye-opening, fresh way. Bell’s testimony gives a new appreciation for those working in the medical field, especially first responders.
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