Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I decided even in the swirly whirls of the blizzard to go out to SoHo in Manhattan yesterday. On the way back, the train's last stop ended up being two stops short of my subway stop. When I got out, there was a man lying in the snow with one woman kneeling down beside him. It turned out that he was a city employee who was shoveling show off the steps descending to the subway. He had fallen into a big patch of snow against the wall at the bottom of the stairs and was afraid to move because he was in so much pain. It also turned out that he had a heart condition. The woman and I stayed with him and kept checking in to make sure his supervisor (very gruff guy) called 911. We kept hearing that 911 was extremely backed up and the wait for help could be hours.

The whole vibe down there with his colleagues was pretty rough. Kind of a dog-eat-dog vibe.

At some point, a male nurse joined me and the other woman and he was really great, a kind and gentle soul. Donald, the guy who had fallen, finally could not take the cold of lying in the snow anymore and asked us to move him out of it. Another bystander came and helped the nurse move Donald to a dryer spot. I said "Donald, you win the prize for having the worst Monday" and he laughed.

Donald felt light-headed so the nurse suggested we find something sweet for him to eat. I said "I have a pear and a lemon meringue pie in my bag." Lisa told me that while I was down the street getting the ambulance she gave him some of the pie and he said it was delicious. You never know when a lemon meringue pie will come in handy!

I went up the stairs to the top of the subway station several times to call Donald's family and pull in help. The third time I went up, his supervisor was waiting for an ambulance. I looked way, way down the street and said "Isn't that an ambulance down there?" I jogged (carefully!) down a couple of blocks and sure enough there was a volunteer ambulance just sitting there. I told them we had a situation down the street so they made a U-turn and came around. Just as I was walking back to Donald, a second a larger ambulance came. So this huge crew of people came at once and took Donald away to the hospital. As they were carrying him away, Lisa and I muscled our way past the crew of burly guys and said our good-byes to him.

Sometimes the inconvenience of a snow storm and the ways it gets us to slow down is a good thing.

Donald, Lisa, and Male Nurse - you are all in my thoughts!
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