Tuesday, September 06, 2011

i ended up with coffee filters and a nice scented candle...

My master Labor Day plan involved going to the Serramonte Target as early as possible. The ideal Target gameplan involves 1) getting a shopping cart, 2) trying on clothing and 3) shopping for everything else after clothes. Why? Because you don't want a cart of shit sitting like prey unattended by the fitting rooms.
Now that most retail clothing establishments have their fall shipments in, I had a lot of crap to explore in the Target ladies clothing section. With 17 items, I made my way to the fitting room. The woman counted out the maximum 6 items from my shopping cart, and as she handed me the little "#6" sign, we heard a huge crash.
Directly behind her, not 5 feet from where we were standing, a Target employee had collapsed to the ground and was having a seizure. Dressing room lady and I were the closest people to the collapsee, and neither of us knew what to do. So the dressing room lady selected the obvious reaction, and started screaming.
I have to admit, it took me a second to figure out what was going on. It all happened so quickly, there in the middle of the Serramonte Target. This poor woman who had fallen and was shaking on the ground was kind of stuck in between two clothing racks, her face pressed against a metal bar. And my first instict was to kind of move her away from the clothing rack. But someone else came running forward screaming, "Don't touch her!"
So I pulled out my phone, but some mom had come over and was already on the horn with 911. It seemed to take forever, but Target employees started to come over, one by one. The dressing room lady knelt by this poor woman, and everyone else kind of stood around. The woman who was first to call 911 announced the scene before us to the 911 operator on the phone.
I was stumped by the protocol of what to do. I had been so close to this medical event, yet had been entirely unhelpful. And now, 10 or so people stood around staring while our fellow human had a seizure on the floor of Target. Staring seemed not only unhelpful, but rude.
Finally, a security guard came over and very dramatically and with great authority, told us all to get lost. I had to leave my shopping cart and 17 items of clothing over by the dressing rooms and awkwardly walk away.
At this point, I was faced with another quandry. Do I continue to shop?
Paramedics had yet to arrive, this whole scene was transpiring in the turtleneck section and it felt wrong to shrug it off and head over to beauty products. But what was I supposed to do? What are the rules when someone has a medical event in Target?
I did a lap.
When I came back around again, the paramedics had arrived and were moving her onto a stretcher. It still didn't seem appropriate to shimmy in and grab the 17 articles of clothing I planned to try on. And even though the security guard had told everyone to scram, a group of spectators stayed to observe the action.
I eventually left Target feeling horrible that I had no idea what happened to the woman with the seizure, and feeling like I had done everything wrong. I never lept into action, I didn't even call 911. I stood around like a goober while others seemed to know what to do. And I realized that if it were me on the floor of Target having a seizue underneath a rack of pleat-front khakis, I would have hated the woman staring at me with the terrified look in her eyes and her phone in her hand doing nothing but wonder if this means she can't try on her clothes...

4 comments:

Clair said...

Just think about the possibilities for crazy shit once Target opens at the Metreon. You'll be able to redeem yourself then.

Nikki said...

Don't worry - the arrival of Missoni for Target on 9/13 will make it all better.

sfmike said...

We did the Sausalito Art Festival for the first time on Labor Day, which was filled with mid-fifties ladies hoping for a rich man (some had them, most didn't), which makes me sympathetic towards your dilemma. "Do I still shop?" Hell, why not? And your first instinct was probably the best, protecting the lady from hitting anything sharp during her seizure. You should have taken something out of your try-on basket and been a true heroine. Oh well, next time.

Seana said...

I would have been right where you were with it. In this ridiculously litigious age we live in, you never know how people are going to react and what is the "right" thing to do. If the seizure woman was epiliptic, she's probably gone through this kind of thing before and as long as she's not choking on her tongue, it's probably best to let her "ride it out". But, how do you know if it's an epiliptic seizure of some other kind?!? I think your instinct to make sure she wasn't being damaged by the rack was right. Then, call 911 and wait for someone to arrive.

Completely different if it's happening to someone you know though. Then you would totally know what to do.

Ultimately, don't beat yourself up over it. It probably won't be your last medical emergency observance.