I was at the grocery store yesterday with my grandmother and the girls. She wanted t0 stop and pick up a few bagels. We were debating over cream cheese, when I saw an elderly man pass out next to the butter.
I must admit I kind of freaked out. It was not pretty. It looked like he was having a seizure of some kind, and when he had fallen, his back was a little arched and he fell directly onto the back of his head.
The first thing I did was call 911 along with another lady who was standing there. Then I went over to the man. He was clenched up all over - eyes, teeth, hands, and his arm was spasming. Blood was pouring out of the back of his head and pooling all over the floor. I took one look, jumped up and grabbed Gwennie and Emma and told them to turn around and stay out of the way, and that an ambulence was coming. I went back to the man. He was jerking a little, but then he started breathing again very laboredly - gurgling almost. I thought he was going to die right there in front of me.
I had absolutely no idea what to do. I took his pulse, which didn't tell me anything other than that he had one, and basically just tried to keep him still. I wanted to try to stop the bleeding in his head, but the other side of my brain was telling me not to move anyone with a head injury. I simply didn't know what to do. I was praying like an broke televangelist. It just didn't seem like the moment to question the nature of God.
My grandmother was actually very calm. She kept talking to the man and telling him stay still and that help was coming even though he couldn't hear. She also directed the idiot managers to call for anyone in the store with medical experience. A few people came over with a first aid kit, which seemed ludicrously inadequate given the amount of blood on the floor.
The man seemed like he was starting to come to. He opened his eyes and started moving, not in a spasmodic fashion like before, but as if he were trying to get something out of his pocket. We thought maybe he had some medication or someting in there, so I checked it for him. All I got were his keys and some change. We checked to see if he was wearing a medical bracelet or necklace, but he wasn't.
He was becoming more agitated and he kept trying to lift his head. Obviously, he couldn't do what he wanted and it kept hitting the floor again. That was terrifying. I told the first aid ladies who were wearing gloves to put some of the paper towels they'd opened under his head. They told me that they weren't supposed to elevate his head, and I said, "yeah, but he keeps smashing it into the floor. He's going to hurt himself worse." The next time he lifted his head they put a roll of paper towels underneath. I wasn't sure if that was the right thing to do, but I just couldn't see the sense in letting him hit his head over and over.
About that time, the EMTs showed up, and I went back over to Gwennie and Emma. They were hugging each tightly and shivering. We were in the refrigerated section after all. I felt badly that I'd made them stand in the cold. I would have understood if they'd moved toward the aisles, but there was probably that note in my voice that compelled the strictest obedience.
I gave them hugs and told them that it was going to be okay, that the ambulence was there now, and that I was proud of them for doing exactly as I said.
I felt stupid and useless. I suppose I should have just called 911 and gotten the kids out of there. It wasn't as if I had any idea what to do, and I probably needlessly exposed them to trauma. Neither of them wanted to talk about it.
I hope the man is okay, but I think there is a good possibility he didn't make it, or at least won't make it too much longer. But I don't really know anything.
So I'm exhausted today, since I didn't sleep well last night. I'm hoping I can catch a nap after lunch.