Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word




            Having read about Rosie O’Donnell having a heart attack, and how she took an aspirin directly afterward, apparently saving her life, I started carrying a couple of aspirins in my backpack a couple of weeks ago. My reasoning is that I have absolutely no idea what to do in case of a medical emergency, other than apply pressure and call 911, but if I happened upon someone having a heart attack I could offer an aspirin in the form of treatment. Mostly to assuage any guilt I may have about not being able to help them.

            I finally saw an opportunity that my aspirin may come in handy as I headed up Washington toward the train station this morning. A man stood on the sidewalk across the street, while a thin woman sat on the sidewalk at his feet. He was obviously concerned, as she swayed back and forth then fell over. I stopped to watch, and he appeared to be calling 911. The woman sat up and the man bent over her, so I trotted across the street to ask if they needed assistance, prepared to fumble in my backpack for the life-saving aspirin.

            The man immediately asked if I had any water, I replied I did not, but asked if I should call an ambulance. He directed me to an office building on the corner, saying water was all she needed. His breath smelled of alcohol and upon closer inspection the woman’s eyes were dilated and she seemed incoherent. She definitely was not afflicted with anything my aspirin could help. I headed over to get them some water, and as I looked back the woman was up and they were walking down the street as if nothing were wrong.

            I went on my way, disappointed I didn’t get to save a life, but relieved that I didn’t have to save a life.

            I was headed down to the newspaper office to do a profile interview. The office is in a sketchy part of town, with the free clinic and several homeless shelters bordering the block. As I wandered down Stout Street I though again that my aspirin may be needed. I came across a man who was slumped over against a building, his backpack and belongings scattered around him on the sidewalk. My first response was to offer assistance, but as I got closer it occurred to me that perhaps he had just fallen asleep.

            If I were homeless, and finally fell into a deep sleep, I think I’d be pretty upset if somebody woke me up. I walked past him a few feet, but stopped and looked back. What is he were sick? What if he were passed out? What if he were dead? I tried to watch his chest to see if he was breathing, but panicked when I thought of him waking up to find me staring at him. I really didn’t know what to do. I hated to leave him in case he needed help, but hated to wake him and draw him back into the lousy world of being homeless on the street.

            I decided to walk on, the office was only a block away. I stood on the sidewalk in front, talking to one of the vendors as we waited for the doors to be unlocked. I kept watching the sleeping/dead/sick man, and finally expressed my concerns to the vendor I was talking to. He was not the least concerned, and warned me to leave him where he was.

            “He’s high as a kite. He was arguing with himself just a little while ago. You’re best just to leave him where he lies.”

            So, no chance to offer my aspirin, but I’m definitely going to take the chance to ask some of the homeless vendors at the paper what proper protocol is to determine if someone is just sleeping or needs help.

October 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment