Tuesday, January 17, 2006

911!!! 911!!!

Trying to build up my ability to walk into a crowded grocery store is quite a challenge. Between my agoraphobia and anxiety attacks, I always worry about how long it will take the ambulance to arrive while I’m knocked out cold in the produce section. Yesterday I got my answer.

While rummaging through the Italian parsley and basil at the supermarket, Madelene says, “Look—I think someone is hurt.” I turned around, and there was an older lady lying flat on the floor. One of the employees rushed over to help. She was knocked out cold. Madelene quickly called 911—as all the other people were standing around this poor lady. We weren’t sure if it was a slip and fall, or if she had a heart attack. Madelene noticed some blood coming out of her mouth.

“Someone call 911!” The employee shouted, but I guess out of his anxiety, he didn’t realize that each and every one of us was on the phone making that call. The crowd quickly grew with curious people—but no one helped. I stood back, near the produce section and waited for Madelene to come back. After she made the call to 911, we walked away, so we wouldn’t become one with that morbidly curious crowd.

I trusted that the EMT workers would be there promptly, so I went on with my business. Madelene and I are a great team while shopping. Our cart is usually overflowing and exceeding capacity with items that were never on the shopping list to begin with. To my surprise—it’s usually Madelene with the impulse shopping.

It took us a all of thirty minutes to finish our spree, and then we made our way onto that long dreaded check out line. I have my niece staying with us the next night, so my cart looks awfully confusing. From throwing hot dogs, string cheese and little cupcakes on the conveyer belt, to salad greens, tomatoes, different fruits, Weight Watcher dinners and then a 12 pack of beer---this check out girl must think, “Wow, she has a eating and drinking problem…Poor thing.” The alcoholic bulimic. What a mixture.

We made our way out the door, and piled in all our groceries in my SUV. Then we headed straight for the liquor store of course, to get our stash of good vodka. It’s a must in our household—even more important than milk.

As we walk out of the liquor store, I saw an ambulance pull up to the supermarket. It had to be at least 45 minutes later.

“This is ridiculous! There’s absolutely no excuse for the ambulance to be almost an hour late to help someone who was passed out—maybe even from a heart attack! That’s disgusting!” I yell out in the parking lot. I just couldn’t get over how late they were to respond. There must have been more than ten people on their cell phones making calls to 911 at the time of the incident.

So my fear of walking in the grocery store by myself has now gone to an all time high. I told Madelene, if I ever have a heart attack, I want a bracelet on my wrist saying, “Please call Madelene---screw 911!” I’ll trust her to shuffle me up to the ER—believe me, she’s done it numerous times before.