A 75-year-old woman fell on the treadmill today at the YMCA. I didn’t actually see it, I heard it. It sounded terrible and I jumped off my machine and saw this poor lady on the floor. Only a few people were concerned enough to interrupt their workouts to check on her and help her out. We got her on her feet and she just stood there staring straight ahead. A couple of people went back to what they were doing. I asked the lady if she was okay. I asked if she was at the Y alone or with somebody. She kept saying ‘yeah’ to every question.
“Are you here with somebody?”
“Who are you here with?”
This big-ass weight lifter had helped her up, but he was kind of pacing around not sure whether to leave her be or what. I went up to him and said she seemed very disoriented to me, that we should do something. His wife was a nurse or had some kind of medical background. She came along. We got a chair for the lady to sit in. We’re asking her all these questions, and people walked up...did whatever survey of the severity of the situation they felt was necessary...and then walked off. I was alone with the lady a few times there. Finally I got it out of her who she was with, and I got him over there. And more people were around then, and there was a young guy working there, working the room where all the treadmills and so on are. The phone system was out...crazy...so the kid called 911 on his cell.
There were only three of us who thought the call to 911 should happen. The other four or five didn’t seem to have a plan or didn’t think it was that bad. The lady was not communicating well at all. She seemed dazed and dizzy and out of it. Then I heard somebody saying she’d just been discharged from the hospital...with some kind of condition that causes one to have difficulty communicating or whatever. I don’t know what the hell that means.
The more I talked with the lady - or tried to - the more I thought we gotta call 911. So what if it’s a false alarm. False alarms happen. ...but now I’m feeling kind of dopy and panicky and silly for freakin out like that. It scared the hell out of me, but I’m pretty sure I did the right thing. Still, though, I have this feeling that I'm kind of a dope...and I can't reason it away. Maybe I overreacted. I'd rather overreact than underreact. I'd rather be dealing with the feeling that I was a dope instead of dealing with the feeling that I watched a 75-year-old lady flop onto the floor while I continued my workout, just turning up the volume to drown out the annoying sounds coming from some irksome commotion...know what I mean?