Friday, September 16, 2005

The Fall of Oscar Medina

I was walking from the bus stop to my new employer's new office and I saw an old man in a long brown coat struggling along a fence. He was walking and holding himself upright with the fence and shaking pretty thoroughly. My previously plotted trajectory took me within a foot of his and I asked him if he was okay when I got within an arm's reach. I think this is a pretty stupid question given his obvious state of non-okayness. I am new to the neighborhood and figured that he could just be perusing the borders of his yard from the outside while overdressed for the heat and humidity and striken by the shakes, but that would be stupid. Anyway, he replied in a timid voice that he was hurt and that he had fallen. I asked him if he needed some help and he proceeded to take a slow motion fall backwards and I was only able to catch him and ease him onto the concrete and the massive line of ants crossing said concrete. I thought that he might be a little demented but then he held his hands up and it appeared that he had indeed taken a tumble. As I was talking with him another older man walked up and I asked him if he knew the fallen gent. The second man said that he had seen the fallen in the area but didn't know him by name. I remembered my First Aid merit badge stuff and asked the fallen his name.

He said, "My name is Oscar Medina." "Can I call someone for you?" I can honestly say that I have never felt more like I was not helping the situation with these moronic questions. How about an ambulance, dipshit? I yelled at myself in my head. So Senor Medina tells me a phone number, but no one answers. He gives me a second number, meanwhile the ants are crawling all over him and the sun is roasting all of us. The second number is answered by a latina and we discuss the facts of the situation and she leaves the phone on the counter and I figure that is the end of the conversation. We, the old men and I, stand, or sit, around like three idiots with our thumbs up each other's butts and try to silently determine Senor Medina's options. I asked him if anyhting hurt, but he kept syaing nothing hurt unless I specifically asked if a body part hurt. He would then say that specific part did hurt. I figured that he was a little out of it. He reminded me of my grandmother before she died and she was gone in the brain.

Up the street come three determined, tiny latinas of several ages. I swear neither of them came up to my waist and they immediately took control of our dumb asses. They spoke with Senor Medina and tried to lift him and get him down the street. With my help, we got him up, but not very far. We got him sitting down on some stairs on the next yard and there was much discussion in high speed spanish (is there any other kind?) and one of the latinas took off. Then the older woman took off. Then the old man took off. Then the youngest latina left me with Senor Medina. I stood up and tried to shield the man from the sun. I looked pretty weird, holding my bag up over his head to provide shade.

Finally, the youngest latina and the eldest come running back with a cup of water for Senor Medina. Then the eldest ran off again. I had no idea what was going on at this point because we weren't in a restaraunt and all of my spanish is vocabularly strictly limited to cooking and serving. So I once again had my thumb up my butt and was back to asking moronic questions. The young latina came back and then I heard a fire truck siren.

I don't know if this is standard, but in DC the firemen show up first and stabilize the patient. They pulled up and asked me if I called an ambulance. I replied, "Yes. He fell down and can't walk or support his weight." I should have told them his name, I suppose but I still had my thumb wedged seriously all the way up into the base of my skull. I could not have been less useful. The three latinas were all buzzing around as the firemen got out their gear to take his pressure and ask him about medications he may be taking. The eldest latina managed to discover that he is taking two medications for prostate something or other. As the firemen took firm control, I did the only thing I could think would possibly be useful. I pulled out one of my cards and gave it to the eldest latina. She told me that she owned the hair salon around the corner. I said thanks for the help and told Senor Medina that I hope he felt better. He waved at me and said thank you from behind his oxygen mask.

I suppose I don't need to further state how much of an idiot I was, given that last exchange. Anyway, end result of the whole thing is that Senor Medina is something around eighty years old and broke his hip. He was an accountant for the hair salon and apparently has no family in the area, except for Coco and her girls at the salon. In order to further reinforce my lack of a clue, I am taking Senor Medina some flowers tomorrow at the hospital which is down the street from my office.


Lindsey said...

Awwwww. You are so sweet! I know what you mean about feeling helpless in those situations but you did more than a lot of people would have. How many people had already walked by him and not bothered to stop? You did great!

Chuckles said...

Well, only one person walked by and he hadn't fallen yet. He was just stumbling at that point.