SO, last night I was out on a walk with Marcus and realized I had forgotten something at my house and that I needed to go back and get it. He didn’t have his wallet on him so went went to his apartment before we went to my place. That changed our course a second time. He wasn’t planning on getting gas until the next morning but, since we were out, we stopped at the Hess on the corner of Broad and Belvidere. I was sitting in the car while he was at the pump when a man walk up to the cashier in her little bulletproof, glass box. He just stands there and stares at her while she repeatedly asks things like, “What can I help you with?” and “Are you okay?” He just stood and stared. Then, he tries to slide is bag of trash through the little tray you use to slide the cashier money. She is justifiably confused and assumes he wants her to throw it away. Then he starts to stutter absolutely nonsense words and begins to waver in his stance. The man that was standing behind him in line at the time perceived this as shenanigans and walked away. Then, the man began to slowly stumble backwards, stopped, and then fell backwards onto the concrete with his skull breaking his fall. You could hear it break. This was the obvious time to jump into action, so Marcus and I ran over. The clerk freak out and ran outside of her booth. Marcus called 911 and I tried my best to use the nursing knowledge I have thus far to address the situation. I felt for a pulse because that felt like the apparent preliminary thing to do. Surprisingly, he had a pulse, was breathing, and his eyes were open. So, I knew I didn’t need to do CPR. Whew. The emanating doom at this time was the fact that there was literally a giant pool of blood coming out of the back of his head. His head was resting in a puddle three times the size of his head. Admittedly, I was terrified because I didn’t know how much he would lose before the paramedics showed up and I had nothing to stop the bleeding. Luckily, a passerby showed up and gave us a pillow she had from her car and we put that underneath him in a feeble attempt to stop the flow. Then, the man came to a bit and tried to get up multiple times and I had to force him down. I said the things I could think of like, “Can you tell me your name?” “You’ve fallen and hit your head but an ambulance is on the way.” “We are going to take care of you.” I tried to communicate with him the best that I could because the dispatcher on the phone with Marcus wanted to know things like if he was a diabetic. No good. Fortunately, the ambulance showed up quickly and the paramedics wrapped his head in gauze and saw that he was able to squeeze their hands and raise his legs. Good, good things. He began to regain his speech and was able to answer their questions about where his wanted to go. The paramedics told us that they didn’t need anything from us and that we could go.
Marcus and I got in the car and I suddenly felt like I had been hit with a ton of bricks. All of the composure that I had maintained disappeared and I cried like a baby. That was the first out-of-a-hospital-real-life medical emergency I had ever been that responsible for. I felt ill-equipped and as though I wouldn’t have known what to do if something had gone worse than that. I called my mom and she told me that I did everything that I could have there and then, but of course she said that. I just wonder if I had gotten out of the car sooner, if I could have broken his fall? Or if the man behind him hadn’t walked away? I just couldn’t tell initially if he was inebriated or suffering from a mental illness and didn’t want to assume anything and then make a situation volatile. From the opinions of the people that were there and the ones I have spoken to since then, he was probably on drugs and just fell out. That makes me feel so heavily sad. He was a man in his 60’s, alone, wandering around at night, and ended up in a pool of his own blood. I can’t stop thinking about him and what happened. I hope he heals. I pray that there wasn’t injury to his brain and I hope that whatever is plaguing him, be it mental illness or addiction, has had its stay and that things find a way of turning around for him.
As scary as last night was, I’m glad I was there; not because I was the superhero (because anyone could have done that) but I’m just glad it wasn’t just the cashier there by herself. I am also grateful that Marcus was there. I often go places alone and I am happy I had him there last night. He was so calm and informative with the dispatcher and I needed that.