anecdotes / Humanity / Uncategorized

Utterly Useless in a Crisis

We learn a lot about ourselves when faced with a crisis. Yesterday, I learned that I am no hero.

Let me set the scene for you:

We were in Walmart replacing the phone that I had dropped the day before. We hadn’t even intended to go to this particular Walmart,and in fact, were en route to another store when I remembered there was one closer. As we entered the store, something felt off. The hair wasn’t standing up on my neck or anything, but something just felt off. I shared this feeling with Derek, and he said, “Yeah, we’re in Walmart, nothing feels normal here.” I couldn’t argue with that, so I shrugged off the erie sensation. By doing so, did I shrug off my sixth sense?

I was just about to purchase my new phone when I heard a thud, followed by a crack. I quickly scanned the room and saw that a man had passed out just a few feet from where I was standing. I didn’t think. I simply rushed to his side, and then, I did nothing. I couldn’t call 911 because my phone was as useless as I was in that moment, so I just knelt helplessly beside him. Then the blood came. There was so much blood gushing from his head. The crack. That was the cracking sound I’d heard. Think, Kim. Think!

Meanwhile, there were three people actively “aiding” this man. Two were on the phone with 911, and the one at the helm was a special needs guy. There was so much blood, yet 911 caller #1 wasn’t mentioning that fact. She was way too calm. At one point, I looked directly at her and told her to hand her phone over to me. She didn’t. 911 caller #2 was not much help either. She was literally screaming at the injured man while the 911 operator was telling her to apply pressure to his head wound. 

Where was the freaking management? 

Back to the special needs guy. And I’m sorry if this is insensitive, but he needed to be removed from the situation. Yet, we live in a politically correct world. The man with special needs literally had the injured man’s head in his hands, but he was not cooperating with the 911 operator’s advice, and at one point, tried to unbutton the victim’s pants. I’m sure he thought it would help with the man’s breathing, but again, where was management?

All I could remember was not to move someone with a possible neck/spinal injury, so I pleaded with the guy with special needs to stop what he was doing. 

It was a total shit show, and I’ve never felt more useless. I was there. I wanted to help, but none of my survival instincts kicked in. All I knew ,was that I was going to watch a man die.

The hospital was 2 minutes away, but it took 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. By that point , I’d finally located a manager who had to forcefully remove the guy with special needs from the situation. 

Where was the freaking protocol? Walmart is an evil giant, so there must be a “cover our asses” plan in place.

When “management” finally arrived, they handed the “witnesses” blank copy paper and asked us to write down our statement,phone number and name. Don’t you have an “official incidence report”?

Aside from Walmart and protocol, I think this one’s gonna stick with me for a while.

Some people say they have no regrets in life, and I wish I was one of them.

As of now, I regret not knowing what to do, not following the ambulance to the hospital, and most importantly, not listening to my 6th sense.

Animals sense danger approaching,and they change course. I sensed danger, but I was too preoccupied with upgrading technology to respond.

Perhaps,if I’d listened, I would have sensed the fall before it came. Perhaps, I would have cushioned the blow.

  Something was off.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? If so, how did you react?

Do you have an example of where listening to your 6th sense paid off?

Your biggest regret (that you wish to share)?

For the record* I know that people with special needs have much to offer. This post is specific only to my personal experience. 

I welcome all viewpoints on this blog, but it is secular in nature, so please be respectful with your comments.

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20 thoughts on “Utterly Useless in a Crisis

    • It was so surreal. And I’ve never felt more helpless. I’m truly haunted by the situation, and it’s made me re-evaluate everything. I want to take a first-aid course, and I want to carry sterile gloves and gauze with me at all times. I just keep imagining myself in the same situation. Scary stuff.

  1. Yeah, I’m my line of work, shit like that happens fairly frequently. Calm is best. Losing one while doing CPR to no avail is not a good feeling. Don’t beat yourself up. If someone isn’t used to dealing with that kinda scene, there’s no experience to fall back on. You did fine, and were smart to not move him…and for saving the poor guys last shred of dignity by preventing the removal of his trousers. 😃

    • I know I should know this, but are you EMT or a Paramedic? I’m so sorry that I don’t know. The last CPR training I had was for infants when I was a nanny (12 years ago). I’d truly appreciate any insight you have to give. My heart was in the right place, but I just couldn’t make it connect with my mind. If you wish to do a 411 post, I’ll happily reblog it.

      • Nope, I’m an Occupational Therapist in a subacute rehab facility. Not exactly like working in an ER or anything, but with the way hospitals discharge people so quickly nowadays, our patients are sometimes still very sick and/or medically fragile. That results in some bad scenes at times. My worst one was a younger guy, about 30. Was here after a car accident and had surgery to repair a severely fractured femur. He was high risk for clotting, and went to get him for his session and he went no responsive on me. Started CPR but it wasn’t working. Died right there on me. He’d thrown a clot, went to lungs. Bam! Just like that. Haunted me for months. One of my best friends is an ER doc. He says it never gets easier. You did fine. Keeping him stable, not moving him, and staying until trained help arrived. You did fine. I’m sure it shook you up. As for not trusting your gut? There’s no way you could’ve known it was gonna be that particular person. Don’t beat yourself up. 😊

      • Oh wow. Thanks so much for sharing that. I can only imagine what a difficult thing that must have been for you, and I can tell that you’re a very empathetic person. I’m so thankful for people like you, and you’re ER Dr. friend, and 1st responders. I’m now remembering one of your posts, where I believe you discussed changing careers? I truly do feel like positions like these are a “calling”.

      • It’s a calling, to be sure. But easy to burn out. I’ve questioned my career choice, for sure, but I’m too old to change now. This already my second career, and I sure as hell don’t have any interest in going back to school at this point. 😃

      • Hey, well at the end of the day, at least you know you’ve helped someone. I got burnt out on my career a few years back, and now I schlep sandwiches to people with no manners. I have an open ended option to go back to managing/events coordinating, but I just can’t go back to kissing ass and working until 2 a.m. Making a living from selling jewelry is a pipe dream, but I know I’d regret it if I didn’t try. People do it, so why not me?

      • Never give up on that dream. Being ones own boss and creating is the ultimate! And with the Internet, you don’t even need the overhead of store front. Are you on Etsy?

      • Thanks! I’m a recent Etsy shop owner, but it’s really hard to get views for your listings. I won’t bore you with the details, but there’s a “keyword” code you have to crack before your items show up in search results. I’ve been been buying and selling used items on eBay for years, and have a 100% feedback score,but eBay is not “handmade item” friendly. I’m literally competing with China on eBay, and their prices start at like 50 cents. I wish I was kidding.

      • Pfft, China. (smh)
        Cheap crap made by people earning slave wages. I hate it. Can buy anything without it saying “Made in China”. Sad really. Don’t give up though. 😊

  2. Kim thank you for sharing. You shared it while it was so fresh on your mind. It would have been an awful feeling to be in, and of all the times not to have your phone. If you had a phone you would have been in control. You really did fine.

    I honestly don’t know how I would react. I have taken 1st aid and CPR and renew it when it comes around but up to now I have never had to use it.

    Going back when I was 20 (37 years ago) there was a machine just set up on a large drilling site that I was working on.. Don’t know why but I was very uneasy about this machine. Fifteen minutes later I came around from the other side of the rig and my boss was electrocuted. I was going to say something at the time (of that 6th sense), but it sounded silly. I don’t know anything about electricity. I have had to live with that regret for a long time.

    • Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for you. It’s interesting that we are the most evolved species, yet we so easily dismiss our gut feelings as paranoia or as you said, “silly”. I’m going to try to trust my gut a little more from now on. Even if I feel foolish. Thanks again for reading and sharing.

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