Friday, December 16, 2011

coincidental competencies

I hated John Irving's Owen Meany; the story seemed so implausibly coincidental: a hero trained throughout his short life for achievement of seemingly random competencies that allowed him to perform the mission of his life in the end.

Last night my own random competencies turned me into another Owen Meany, albeit a much less effective one.  The women of my family's "lala" genes, later proven to be very real occurrences of epileptic vertigo, allowed me to realize that what I was witnessing was not a crazy man repeatedly banging his head on the ground while on his hands and knees.  My own experiences with concussions provided me with knowledge on how to care for the man and reassure him as he passed in and out of consciousness.

A history of broken noses and chipped teeth came in really handy after he fully regained consciousness and I was able to reassure him that despite the bloody face, split lip and aching teeth, there would be no permanent damage.  His mouth looked bad but not bad like teeth would fall out.  I would know.

Sadly when the EMT/paramedics arrived the first words out were, "Oh, you're drunk."  No, but he did have a history of low blood pressure; thank goodness one of us thought to ask.  Then they asked him to get up off the floor where I was elevating his feet to get checked out.  No one helped him up until he began to sway again.  I was glad that I told him about how he passed out twice while seizing so he could tell them since they didn't stick around to find out what really happened.  As the very useful medical staff were escorting him out I made sure to firmly tell one of them that he hit his head very hard.  In case anyone cared about concussions.  I wonder if I should have put my history of snappy comments to use.

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