Monday, July 31, 2006

Please Drink Your Water Today, Chiklits

Another busy rush hour on the train headed out to O'Hare. You get a lot of people and a lot of luggage packed on that train on Monday mornings just shy of 8am.

I was holding onto one of the poles by the door, and this little woman was standing on the other side of the pole, holding on just beneath me. She rested her head on the pole; no big deal, it's early, people get tired. Then she brought her head up again, then thumped it back on the pole. Not rested. Thumped. She did that twice. I turned off my ipod and started paying more attention to her. The binder she was carrying started to slip from her grip. She didn't seem to notice.

When the binder fell onto the floor and she made no move to go after it, I grabbed her wrist and asked her if she was OK.

She didn't respond. Me being me, and wearing my own medical ID bracelet, I checked her wrists for an ID, and didn't find any.

The last person who passed out in front of me on the train had an epileptic seizure and started foaming at the mouth.

Jenn is always telling me the horror stories about people who need help in cities. You can cry out in a room full of 100 people, and quite often, nobody does anything. You can get raped right next to the Art Museum downtown in broad daylight, and nobody will do anything (yes, that's happened before). You get pretty anesthesized in cities. You get used to lots of people. And the way you get used to being with so many people is to respect their space, even if something seems a little off.

Because Jenn is always telling me these stories, I tend to act a little more quickly than other people in crowded places when it looks like somebody's in trouble. When the guy who had the seizure fell out of his seat, I was the first one to get up and ask him if he was all right, and the one who yelled at the person in the back of the train to hit the emergency button to alert the train operator.

So, after asking this woman three times if she was all right and not getting a response, I turned around and hit the emergency button again. And then everybody started moving. One guy gave up his seat and him and another person got her to sit down. A very hot guy crossed from the other side of the car, announced that he was an EMT, and squatted down next to her and started trying to get her to talk.

I told the train operator we had somebody passing out in car 3056 (this is important to tell them; I learned this the last time somebody passed out on me) who might be going into a seizure (she had no medical ID, and I was going off past experience).

Having her sit down helped, and the EMT got her some water. I offered her hard candy (cause, of course, I have those for my own episodes), but she was coming out of it.

Turns out she was overheated. If I had to guess, I'd say she likely hadn't had breakfast either, and that likely didn't help.

By the time the train stopped, she was coherent again, and the EMT was hitting on her. It was very cute.

In any case, after an overheated weekend and a week that's setting up to be in the triple digits, it was a good reminder to stay cool, and drink a lot of juice.

Though passing out on a train is apparently a great way to meet hot EMTs...

2 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

kate.d. said...

you know, it's funny, i was going to post today about how i saw someone get hit by a cab yesterday while i was at the gym. well, i saw the immediate aftermath of someone being hit by a cab, which was a clusterfuck of traffic (someone lying in the road, you know), and about 12 people all looking at the same spot, with cell phones to their ears.

while it was kinda stomach-churning to slowly deduce what was going on (and the fact that it took 10 minutes for the ambulance to get there wasn't terribly comforting either), i was actually heartened by how many random people stopped to help. even after it was obvious 911 had been called, half a dozen people stayed around the person, other people fanned out to get cars out of the way and start directing traffic, etc.

i was kinda like, wow. and they say people won't help you out in the city.

then again, i guess it's all a matter of time and place...

Kameron Hurley said...

A lot of it is that somebody's gotta make the first move. Once somebody starts moving, other people are likely to get into motion. It's why they say that if you're in trouble in a city, pick one person in the crowd and *ask them* to help you. Not just a random shouting into space, but an individual, because then that individual feels responsible for your welfare, and once they move, everybody's going to kick in.

It's like waking everybody up from some kind of hazy dream.