Apr 17, 2012

I Panicked

I walked into Subway to grab some lunch before heading to work, late, after yesterday's morning appointments. I walked past two men. They looked about in their 30s, Hispanic, wearing matching red, long sleeve shirts and hats. They were laborers of some sort. We acknowledged each other in a friendly manner as I passed them and strolled in to buy a sandwich.

When I came out of Subway, I saw one of the men standing, looking at his toes. His body language was completely different. I heard a woman say "How did he go down? Was it fast? Slowly?" She was kneeling. The other man was on his back. She had put his head in her lap. His body was lifeless, yet still holding his bagged up sandwich. His eyes were open.

I heard another bystander on the phone with 911.

I panicked.

It didn't come from wanting to step in and offer help but didn't know what to do. I first was frightened when I saw the man's open eyes. Then, as I heard the woman being so calm and stepping in, I assumed she was a nurse and felt comfort that someone knew what to do. But then, this feeling came over me that I knew I couldn't do what she was doing. I wouldn't be able to stay calm, and step in and handle a situation like this.

I'm starting to breathe heavily now. While it reads that I was standing there, watching this, assessing my feelings, I wasn't. This happened in just a few seconds as I walked by. I started crying before I reached my car.

This man was seemingly fine one minute, then on the ground, unresponsive, the next. It immediately turned into a "what if" situation. What if that were someone close to me? Would I be able to handle the situation? Life seemed so fragile to me at that moment, and I panicked.

As I sat in my car, trying to calm down and keep from hyperventilating, a firetruck showed up. This helped put me slightly at ease and the blood that rushed to my head was beginning to recede. I managed to dial the emotions down enough that I could safely drive to work.

My drive was only about five or seven minutes; not long enough to completely calm down and recompose myself. Luckily, I work with women who are understanding and that I can generally talk to about things affecting me.

They saw my red nose and eyes and thought they had given me their colds. They offered me Adavan, and told distracting stories while slouched down in my desk chair, trying to regain my breath. I drank my iced tea from Subway as if I had just finished running a quick mile. In a short time, I was feeling back to normal and ready to get back to my normal work day.

This was written in participation The Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Oh, my word! I wrote about panic this week, too, but wow! I don't think I would be fit to go back to work after something like that.