Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stopped in My Tracks

Last week I was at work for a meeting.  We were just finishing up when someone knocked on the door and came in, breathless.  "Sorry to interrupt," she said, "but Joe -- did you know that Mark (not his actual name) is being worked on by paramedics outside?" 

Mark is a bigwig at my company, as is Joe, who recruited me and does some ongoing training and development with me.  They have worked together for years, and everyone at the office knows them both (something to be said for that, as there are about 500 agents and staffers at my office).

Joe rushed outside to see what was going on.  I took a couple steps and stopped.  I couldn't go out to see someone being "worked on" by EMTs.  The last time that happened - and the only time I've seen that - was at my house in Iowa that cold Sunday morning when Brian died.  I stood motionless and shaking for a very long time in Joe's office.  I didn't know what to do.  Finally, Joe came back into the building.  He looked shaken.  I asked whether Mark was going to be okay, knowing there was as much panic as concern in my voice.  Joe reassured me that Mark was going to be fine. 

We had just a few more things to discuss and once we were done, I asked Joe whether he thought the ambulance was still there.  He said, "Yes, it's right outside."  I almost had a panic attack.  I started crying and said I could leave yet; I didn't want to walk out and see an ambulance and witness EMTs giving medical attention to someone.  I started shaking like a leaf.  Joe knew my situation, but not specifically that this would be a trigger.  I had to sit in his office and cry for a few minutes, then gather myself up, before I could leave.  I made sure there was plenty of time that I wouldn't see any of the scene.

Despite Joe's reassurance that Mark was conscious and talking, and that he just seemed to have a bad reaction to some medication, I still was very anxious about the outcome.  Until we received an email updating us and telling us that Mark was okay, I worried.  That first night, I even had a horrific dream about all this.  Luckily, I've had a chance to see Mark with my own eyes too.

It's scary knowing that there are things that take me back to that awful day, and I was disappointed to realize how traumatized I became at the presence of an ambulance and a medical emergency.  Next time I will have to maintain my composure a little better.  Of course, I pray there won't be a "next time" for this time of scary situation.

1 comment:

  1. I can relate to this feeling well. Every time I see an ambulance drive by, I still often wonder about the person inside and how their families might be affected if they don't make it. And then of course, it takes me back to my own experiences. It's tough, and it's like you have this heightened awareness that most people don't. Glad to hear Mark was okay.