Monday, September 19, 2011
Man, am I behind. I’m writing about Monday. Let’s get caught up.
I’m used to being at work and having people pass out.
I worked at a blood center for seven years. I saw a lot of people go down. It comes on so quickly for people. They go from feeling a little out of it to on the floor in no time. The worst was probably at a camp in Southern Missouri. A guy donated and seemed fine, then he got up and started walking. Most often when someone is going down their knees buckle and they just kind of go down in a heap with their knees hitting first and the rest of the body following. It’s not all that dramatic once you get used to seeing it. This particular guy straight passed out while he was walking…on a concrete floor…he didn’t crumple…he swan dived forward. The first thing to hit was his face, while all the good break-your-fall extremities softly followed behind.
It was an awful noise.
It was a mix between a thud and a splat. It was a splud. It was a thlat.
Specifically, it was his chin that hit first, that was the part that was bleeding. From the poor guy’s perspective, he was happily walking one moment, and cradled in the lap of a nurse the next, unable to figure out where he was, while his chin was inexplicably screaming in pain.
I helped with a lot of people that were about to pass out or feeling faint, or had gently passed out, but this was out of my realm. I think I just said, “Ooooohh!” like I had witnessed a gruesome death in a movie. I thought, “Someone should help him.” Luckily, the more grizzled nurses had seen a lot, so they weren’t phased.
Normally, if someone goes down it is important to follow these steps.
1. Wake them up.
2. Tell them where they are.
3. Reassure them that it is going to be okay and nothing to worry about.
4. Keep them laid on the floor, while putting their feet up on a chair.
5. Get them a cold rag if they need it (they’re often hot and woozy).
6. Explain to them that you singlehandedly saved their life.
7. Call someone over with a wheelchair thing to take them to a recovery bed.
8. Attend to them while they recover, really driving home the point that you are their hero.
I hadn’t had someone pass out while at my place of employment for a long time. Then, it happened yesterday. An older woman was sitting at a table waiting while her daughter learned how to use a computer. I walk nearby and notice everyone staring while she laid on the floor. I thought, “This is in my realm of expertise! Yes, everyone else here knows computers better than me, but I know this.” Before I could help, another guy was helping her out. He followed steps 1-3, but instead of putting her feet up on a chair and leaving her prone, he was sitting her up. Mistake. And, instead of explaining that he saved her life, he stayed in the reassurance step, completely blowing a golden opportunity, from a woman who appeared to be wealthy.
I looked for a wheelchair thingy, but could find none. In it’s place was a cavalcade of mall cops and firefighters. Instead of horses in this cavalcade, the mall cops rode Segways, while the firefighters pretended to care. I wanted to hold up my hands and tell them, “Guys, guys, this is under control, I worked at the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks.” Instead, I ended up fielding a question from a firefighter who wanted to know how much it would be to fix a cracked screen on his phone.
The point is, it’s safe to pass out around me, I’m an expert…sometimes.
*I am required under a lifelong contract that I signed to my blood lords to mention that passing out after donating blood is statistically very rare, and most often occurs when donors haven’t eaten enough or had enough to drink.