Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Library 911 

A frantic German tourist rushed the desk. "The man in the chairs for the internet! He is most sick!" I looked over and there was one of our regulars, an enrollee of the nearby methadone clinic, nodding off in the chairs in the internet waiting area. He was snoring and his head would flop around until it rested comfortably on the person's shoulder next to him in line, which happened to be that of the German tourist's girlfriend. I thanked him and called security. What a relief it is to let security handle these situations!

At the branches, which have no security, I would often have to make the call whether a situation was a medical emergency or not, a heavy responsibility that I dreaded immensely. Once a sweet elderly woman slumped over clutching her arm waved me away saying, "It's just a bit of indigestion, dear!" Her symptoms sounded more like those of a heart attack than indigestion, but she refused help and, despite my protestations, got up and wandered out of the library and out of my realm of control. I've had unattended children have lightning fast near fatal asthma attacks and patrons who have suffered drug overdoses and seizures. I have stumbled over people passed out on the floor for indeterminate reasons. Once a dazed skateboarder bleeding profusely from his skull staggered into the library demanding an icepack.

When security poked the man asleep at the internet he huffily denied being impaired and claimed that it was a symptom of his diabetes. The security guard said, "If you're slipping off into a diabetic coma then I'm going to need to call the ambulance." His recovery was miraculous and instantaneous and he got up and walked out of the library.

Hmmn...maybe he's related to the woman on last week's "Wife Swap" episode who was "ill" except for when it came time for the fancy dinner her "swapped" husband treated her.
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