One of my coworkers had a stroke in the cubicle next to mine this afternoon.
An ambulance was called, she was taken to the hospital and I don’t know yet if she’s alright. But I do know that this is the second time in my life that I was there to meet paramedics and explain why a person was completely collapsed in front of me. And it wasn’t any easier than the first time.
Four years ago a FedEx driver fell out of his truck and onto the sidewalk. I was on my way to work and it just happened. There wasn’t any warning, no “I’m not feeling well today.” He was just on the path, temporarily blacked out, and I had to do something. He needed help and that’s all there was to it.
It sounds brave, but the truth is that the adrenaline makes me shaky and panicky. Fortunately it doesn’t make me freeze up (though that’s not an uncommon reaction). It’s hard to remember what to do, to focus on who’s in front of you instead of how you yourself are feeling. Still, it’s happened to me not once, but twice. And though I hope to God that I never have to be in this situation again there’s always the possibility that I might.
Unless you’re a medical professional it’s hard to be prepared for this kind of situation. You can’t know how you’ll react in a crisis until you’re in one. But try to be as prepared as you can. Learn first aid, practice how to administer it, and pray you can be strong enough to help.