Funny how things happen as though they are answers to your life’s questions. If you are actually reading this and also read my last post, you might be so good as to remember my last post trying to accuse myself of letting bad things happen without stepping in to somehow help. Tonight I got a glimpse to what I actually would do. While I can’t say I actually made any difference, I can at least say I did do something and I’m not as big a douche as I feared. But let me tell you the story.
Earlier this evening, i had another one of my fits of conscience, allowing my social anxiety to override what I wanted to do. I was in a restaurant restroom and as I was about to leave, one of the waitresses came in and she seemed to be on a crying jag. I was too afraid to look more than a second for fear of being thought of as staring. Hopefully she just had allergies or a cold. I wanted so bad to ask her if she was ok and if I could do something for her. I at least wanted to say hi, an acknowledgement that I saw her somehow, and I couldn’t move my mouth. Instead I hurried outside.
Later, I am sitting in the living room with my mother just a livin’ when I hear Woman-Across-the-Hall screaming, “HELP ME! SOMEBODY HELP ME!”
Up from the couch and I spring out the door. There is Woman and she says her son’s having a seizure. I ask if she called 911 and she says she had tried but couldn’t get them, so I say I’ll call. So back into the apartment go I and cry out to my mom that Dude is having a seizure, she hadn’t heard Woman screaming, probably asleep in the recliner. So Mom goes over and I call from our phone. It rings 5 or 6 times before I fear I haven’t dialed the number right, so I hang up and call again. That old Public Enemy song is going through my head, “911 is a Joke.” Finally, someone answers (I guess holiday Friday nights are busy nights). I tell her about Dude having a seizure and the apartment number, at first forgetting to tell more of the address. She asks me if he’s conscious and if he’s ever had a seizure before, so I tell her to please hold on. It’s hard to get answers from Woman because she is in a state of total panic, bless her, but after asking loudly everyone I got that he was still seizing, and yes, he had a seizure before. Sure enough, there he was seizing to beat the band next to an overturned chair. My mom was a nurse for 30 something years and had the presence of mind to turn Dude on his side and fend off someone’s old-fashioned remedy of sticking a pen in his mouth.
Back I go, and then the dispatcher tells me to tell them to just move stuff out of his way, not to force anything into his mouth, and make sure he can breathe. She said I could call back on my cell if I wanted over there but I tell her I will just wait for the ambulance.
By now many of the neighbors have come over to see why Woman is jumping up and down and screaming for help. A young woman is calling 911 too. I tell everyone the paramedics are on the way. Now I see he’s up and sitting in a chair. The seizing is over, let the spewing all over the carpet begin. Woman is still in hysterics, but is wiping her son off with a towel. He is disoriented and no doubt frightened from his vomiting, his mother’s ministrations and wailing, and the many eyes looking at him. Woman’s cell phone rings and I ask if I should answer it. Not really getting an answer, I take the initiative. Someone asks for Woman and I ask if she might call him back. So the guy asks if she was able to get 911, that he had called. I tell him yes, that the paramedics are on the way.
After I hang up, I see Dude has got up and is repeating for people to leave him alone. He shakes his mom loose from him, my mom tries to gently take his arm and he shakes her loose too. “Mom,” I venture as if I know anything, “Let him go. He’ll be fine in here.” My reasoning is that he’s better off in his home than wandering outside at night addled, plus I fear he will fight my mom if confused.
He locks himself in the bathroom, not the ideal place for a dude apt to seize, but what can ya do? Besides, his mama is still in something like a fit herself, still repeatedly crying out for help and asking, “Oh, why won’t they come?” over and over, still jumping up and down to the point I almost expect her to begin clucking for good measure.
Then Woman’s other son, the one who looks a bit off, shows up and heads back toward the bathroom. Woman has eased down to the hall floor outside the apartment. If it were me I’d have left her sitting there due to her hysterics, hoping she would calm down, but some Samaritan helps her up. Now we hear the sirens and Mom suggests I go out and meet them so they go to the right place. Out I go, fat girl running, and a fire truck rolls up. I’m about to show the men where to go when I see the would-be patient coming outside, his mom tailing him. “It’s that gentleman there,” I say, pointing. Somehow they wrangle in the wobbly patient and everyone goes inside the building. At the door to the apartment, once the principal characters and paramedics are inside and we are looking in, A-Bit-Off comes to the door, says “We got it from here, thanks,” and closes all of us outside.
All of us neighbors head for our prospective apartments. Once my mom and I are in our home I head to the sink. While in Woman’s apartment I accidently touched a wet wash rag hanging on a chair at the dining room table. I fear that it was used in cleaning up Dude’s chunks, though Mother assures me it was only used to wipe the poor soul’s forehead. But I imagine spew particles clinging to that wash cloth. What if that spew has a disease like HIV hid in it? I think. Though I remembered reading vomit doesn’t have the disease in significant amounts unless there is visible blood, I decide to take no chances. I wash my hands altogether 4 times, alternating between soap and dishwashing liquid.
Out damn spot! Out I say! Mom stops me though as I look for the Clorox spray because I imagine it’s worth the sting on my hands to be certain of not getting a puke-born pathogen, but Mom assures me I’m ok. Guess I’m pretty “off” too in my way, huh? I’m usually not that much of a germ phobe, though. Usually.
At least I can reassure myself I won’t let something bad happen to someone if I can help it. Bravo and bully for me, but I am relieved.
(Post started Good Friday….finished Mediocre Monday.)