Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Loving the library
Today one of our regular patrons, spending the day as he does on one of our Internet computers, collapsed into the keyboard. Heart attack, stroke, sudden loss of blood pressure? Who knows. His normal bright pink complexion turned an alarming shade of gray. He was barely coherent and so 9-1-1 was called. First I knew of it was when the paramedics arrived, sirens ablazing. I looked up from my deeply involved phone call regarding a lost orange folder. I didn't find the orange folder. I suspect it's still in the owner's bag. "Huh" I said. "Sirens."
In my experience patron medical emergencies can easily be split into two categories: "In chair" or "On Floor". "On Floor" emergencies are almost unfailingly bad, "In Chair" ones, just as unfailingly, aren't. Because this was an "In Chair" emergency I didn't make much fuss. Also the quota of fuss makers was already vastly overfilled. People had already formed a long line to make a fuss.
I did peer out across the library to where the shining dome of the elderly, bald patron was enough in view for me to identify who it was that had fallen ill. He's a man who's here a lot. He's like a far crankier, more listless Bernie Sanders. I have helped him many times, but no matter how I try I can't picture him smiling. I can easily picture him passing out though. And for some reason I can picture him holding a Kleenex to his bleeding head. He may or may not frequently bleed from the head, but I can picture it without even trying to.
Though I feel no warmth towards the man I wish him no harm. The paramedics, ambulance, and police all wanted to take him away to the hospital, but gray as he was, he refused to go. "We can't make someone go to the hospital if they don't want to." The paramedic explained. I understand. For some of our patrons only closing the library is enough to get them to go. Imminent death is nothing.