Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Don't Understand.

There are many things I don't understand.

I don't understand why I have to work late, and I don't get paid for it. No, that's a lie. It's because I dick around online checking blogs all fucking day when there's work to be done. At least I finish it.

I don't understand why people feel awkward around me, because I don't feel awkward, but I hear it. I can hear it in their eyes: You are awkward. Why are you like that?

I don't understand why people just stand there.

Today, I left work at seven, because like I said, I was dicking around all day. I'm walking towards the bus stop, and I see someone lying on the ground. Convulsing. He was having a seizure. I watched people step over him, make eye contact with each other and glancing sideways at the convulsing man.

So I fucking speed up and hustle over there. There are people waiting for the bus, standing there, trying not to stare. Ten, twelve feet away. What the hell is their problem? GET OVER THERE. HELP HIM.

And then? I hesitated.

Shame on me. Never hesitate, what am I doing? Get over there.

Reaching his side, I kneel down. He's obviously homeless, because I can smell it on him, and has a blanket next to him and a bag of some kind of crap (I should be a detective, with these mad skills). His face is covered in spit and saliva, and he's choking. On his tongue. I put my hand on his chest and his eyes snap open, he's shaking harder. Turn him on his side, and he starts coughing up all over his blanket.

I glare over at the bus stop commuters. "Hey, can someone call the paramedics?"

Blank stares.

"Excuse me, please, can someone call the paramedics?"

One pedestrian looks perplexed. "Oh, um, I don't know if I have my phone." She turns to the woman next to her. "Can you..."

"I don't know, what can I do?" She shrugs. "But we should do something."

Yeah, you should. Fuck you, assholes. I watched you watch him. My patience is wearing thin. "If you need a phone, you can use--"

"Do you need help? Is he okay?" It's one of the men I watched step over him. Homeless Man starts shaking again. I put my hand on his back. What the fuck do you do for a seizure? Shit. I can't remember. Goddammit. I should pay more attention.

"Does he look okay? Can you call 911?"

A security guard from the building runs over. "I saw from the window. The paramedics are on their way."

"Does anyone know what to do for a seizure?" I ask the gathering crowd. Some look disgusted. With good reason, this guy was a fucking mess. Slobbering like Hooch, shaking like a...I don't even know, something that fucking shakes, I don't know. Polaroid picture.


"Should he bite on something?"


"No, um...what you're doing. What you're doing is good."

This goes on for several minutes, with people standing around staring, Homeless Man coughing. I use his blanket to wipe off his face. Eventually he stops convulsing, and closes his eyes. Takes a deep breath. He looks at me, and I smile. He struggles to sit up, and I try to keep him on his side, but he's fucking adamant.

"It's okay. Just sit for awhile."

He freaks out. Jumps to his feet, and the crowd jumps back, gasping. I walk over to him and put my hand on his shoulder. "Sit down. It's all right."

He does this crazy shimmy, like a dog after a swim, and waddles to get his bearings. He looks at me, shakes his head. Points at me and smiles a little. Creepily, though, because he's got saliva smeared all over his face. Then he sighs, deeply, quickly, growling slightly. Does another dog shimmy, jumps twice, waves, and runs into traffic.

He weaves throughout the speeding cars, and they're honking. That bastard was nimble. He gets to the other side of the street, turns and waves at me again, and takes off at a run.

Well, now what the fuck do I do? All of his shit is there, the paramedics are on their way. And a crowd around me, sniggering, leaving. I can't even move, I just stand there and stare after him, and then I realize I'm crying.

I don't understand why nothing I do goes right.



Bluestreak said...

Rassles. Sigh.

Those people are assholes. And they left and felt all self-righteous, you know? Like "I knew that guy was just a drunk bum".

But you. You´re gold.

The most touching part of the story is that there was no self-righteousness in your reflection of what you did. Just defeat.

Kitty said...

Ah, humanity.

You did exactly what you are supposed to do for someone having a seizure. Give a damn and keep him from hitting his head.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with a junkie overdosing on the street in front of me. I called an ambulance, they got there pretty quick and gave him a shot of something that counteracted the heroin and brought him round.

He was furious with me for taking away his high. the ambulance officers had to restrain him from chasing me down the street. actually it was pretty funny. and I'd do it again if it'd save a life but hopefully I won't have to. we have "safe injecting rooms" in that area now.

anyway good on ya Rassles, you did the right thing babe. hold your head high

~Mountain Lover~ said...

Rassles, you're incredible. Fuck those other people. Seriously, you can't fucking call 9-1-1? It reminds me of that guy in Connecticut who was hit buy a car, and people kept driving by, ignoring him. Disgusting.

So what, he got up and ran away. What if he didn't? Those other people probably felt as guilty as hell, then when he was okay, they were relieved. Perhaps they would have ended up on the news, with the world saying they were disgusting.

Oh, and I dick around on the internet all day too. Now, if they would give me something interesting to do for once-since I'm a PARALEGAL instead of fucking filing maybe I would work. *sigh*

I wish I could work on my homework, but that's a bit more obvious than checking google reader and facebook 500 times an hour.

Feisty Democrat said...

What do you mean, nothing turned out right? You're not supposed to try to stop people from swallowing their tongue during a seizure. By not jamming something down his throat, you did the right thing. Seriously. He got up, didn't he? Sometimes shit happens. You reacted properly.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't go right? I think you were exactly right.

paperback reader said...

I don't understand how trying to help was the wrong thing.

Seizures come and go, and people who have them learn to recover quickly. Given the high rates of paranoid schizophrenia in the homeless population, any gathering of people and impending "the man" coming will engender a flight response. But even through a mental delusion, I'm sure the fact that somebody took the time to help him through - regardless of how effective - meant something to him.

You can't solve someone's life problems in five minutes. All you can do is try. And you did. Don't beat yourself up about it.

Rassles said...

Blues: Exactly. Another drunk bum. EXACTLY. I know they're assholes. I nearly started a fight with them, and I had to stop myself. How would that help the guy convulsing on the sidewalk?

Kitty: Thanks. I'm just wondering, you know, was it necessary? Was I overreacting? Because the guy was flailing around. Of course he was on something. But you know, when friends overdosed (thank god that doesn't happen anymore) I was always there...

Myra: See. People suck. And thanks.

Mount: They would have ended up on the news, all right, clamoring for attention and yapping about how they helped.

Math: I appreciate that. But it's just, I don't know. Fucking people, just walking by, pretending he didn't exist. It's rotten.

Mongo: I'm getting that impression.

Pistols: Yeah. I know. I should rationalize this. I'm just so pissed off at everyone else, and their apathy towards a situation that is physically happening in front of them, assaulting all five senses, impossible to miss. Do something.

Kitty said...

I don't think you were overreacting.

During my first year as a nurse I walked in on a patient having a fake seizure. I couldn't tell a real one from a fake one even though my father had had epilepsy.

My nursing supervisor showed me a trick to tell the difference. Take the knuckle on your index finger and grind it right in the middle of their breast bone. The fakers will grimmace, might even say "Stop!" while the person having a genuine grand mal won't feel it.

You tell a damn good story, Rassles.

Anonymous said...

I hope that if someday I am faced with a situation like this, I would react just as you did.

People being unwilling to even call 911 sends a chill down my spine.

Bimbo Baggins said...

I leave homeless people alone after I tried to give one my precious fried burrito (no, not my vagina) at the beach and he yelled at me and spit on me.

But if I saw someone, ANYONE in need of serious help, you can guaran-fucking-tee I would be there in a heartbeat.

I had a boyfriend once with epilepsy and when he would seize I had to make sure he stayed on his side, something soft under his head and stayed away from his hands and mouth (they get super human strength when they seize). It was scary and horrible every time.

Kitty said...

That superhuman strength thing is so true.

American in Sydney said...

RassleDazzles you should be feeling pretty proud. It's crazy that the jerks standing around you didn't do anything, frozen with stupidity???

Anonymous said...

you offered help. help sometimes saves lives, sometimes it's not necessary. but you don't know that beforehand, you only know it when someone is saved, or when someone dies, or when someone goes away okay. So you offered help and that's the right thing. Saving someone is another thing altogether. You are great.

karey m. said...

super psychic. i am cracking up.

thanks for leaving that comment on my site...incredibly kind words, really.

but i seem to have lost my words to comment on this one of's heartbreaking. but not. eh. i'm not going to sit here and try to get all thesaurus on you.

but what i want to tell you is that it makes me feel hopeful that there are people like you walking around out there.

which totally cancels out my feelings of supreme disgust that there are people like those douchebags at the bus stop out there.

Rassles said...

Kitty: Oh, that's a good trick. Next time I find a seizuring man, I'm doing that.

Franki: Thanks, and I hope you do too. More than that, though, I hope you never have to come across it in the first place.

DPH: I KNOW you would help them. You've got that about you.

Flora: It's fear. Fear of being judged, fear of being seen. Fear is powerful, and it makes people really fucking stupid.

Chloe and Karey: Wow. Thanks--to both of you.

Gypsy said...

Losing faith in humanity now. Except you.

Karin Mitchell said...

Its nice that you stayed and waited. I have seizures and it sucks when people try to restrain you. Superhuman strength thing is true and you just end up pulling a bunch of muscles. I pulled all of the muscles in my neck once b/c I had a seizure on a soccer field and someone thought it would be a GOOD idea to hold my head down.
Some people (me) can hardly move on their own afterwards and can also be very disoriented so its good that you waited to see.