Thursday, March 08, 2007

A man died last night

So yeah, I was reading about Warhammer when all of the sudden a little before 1 am I heard a lady yelling for help and banging on doors in the hall. I went out to see what was happening and she said she didn't know what happened to him and to call 911, so I did.

I think I did a really good 911 call, started right off with the address, very clearly and calmly. Anyhow, it got a little messy in the next minute because suddenly the neighbor rushed out and dialed them on HER phone. So, while I'm pretty sure the ambulance showed up after my lady dispatched one, the other lady ended up getting CPR instructions out first, so after that I was sort of uselessly on the phone. At least it was co-opted cleanly, that's the important thing.

I never met the guy before, but he was there not moving and we had to move him onto the floor. 47 graying hair in PJs. We hoisted him off the bed and I paid special attention to not bump his head. They were tilting his neck and his eyes rolled open, but he wasn't actually there. I sort of wonder if he was alive at that point or not.

The other neighbor had gone downstairs to let the ambulance people in the front door, so I took up the position I would occupy for the next hour as human door-stop. They brought LOTS of people. All of them went in and for some reason I had the impression they would rush away just as fast as they rushed in (which is really why I was still standing there.) I mean, it's an emergency, right? They bundle the person into an ambulance and zoom away sirens blaring, right? They didn't even bring a backboard at first. Instead they cleared out the living room quickly, throwing an easy chair up on the couch and creating an effective ER right there. I'm not sure what exactly they were doing, mostly trying to get him to breath. They definitely shouted, "Clear!" when they defibbed. They don't make that up for TV...

Eventually a guy went down for a backboard (which, what the difference between that and a stretcher is, I'm not clear on) but he just had it standing against the wall. At one point they were on the phone trying to reach a physician, but got put on hold... Anyways, time sorta melted. The other neighbor who called 911 was actually friends with him, so she was quite upset. The lady who came out of the apartment crying was still inside. I held the door.

After a while they started coming out and when he said it the first time it was almost like I didn't understand it, because I really didn't expect the guy to die. I mean, he wasn't very lifelike when I saw him, but I figured if an ambulance was coming he would be ok. We thought it was a seizure at first. Actually he had had a huge heart-attack, which apparently had been in the works for a couple days, because he had even gone to a doctor for arm pain and been prescribed pills. It's too bad that for whatever reason they didn't decide to run some tests for his heart.

We waited for the police and they were collecting statements. I was strangely ignored and just held the door. The coroner WAS exactly like a media interpretation, at least what I think of one as. Older guy with a gray mustache and an accent (something Eastern.) Held the door. Eventually they sealed off the area as a potential crime scene, which is what they have to do because he died. Before that I did go in to see if anyone needed anything, because I felt pretty useless at the door, and he was all covered up with his feet poking out. I really didn't think that would happen. Once it was sealed off, though, the lady and the neighbor were sitting outside talking, about the complete unreality of the situation, what a joker he had been (she had thought at first that he had been kidding when he fell over clutching his arm), how much liked music, how they had had the whole day planned tomorrow. At first I assumed she must live there, too, but she was actually visiting from two hours south.

That's really the thing that got me the most. She had just arrived that evening and they had been having a great time and now he was dead. You don't really think of your friends dying. I mean, you try not to think of anyone dying, but you realize that grandparents and eventually parents will. Outside of a freak accident, your friends don't just up and die on you, or so you think. But somebody has to go first. This is what I got to thinking after I confirmed the police didn't need a statement from me, I said how sorry I was and went home. I had a boy to hug and that lady didn't anymore, that's what made me cry.

Managed to finish my research, but I didn't get to bed until a little after 3:30. Hopefully I won't be cranky, today. It's going to be quite exciting since I have stuff to cover, and I want to be performing in tip-top. Had ham, eggs, and cereal for breakfast with some coffee, so I'm at least full of calories to burn. Gotta run...

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