To continue on yesterday’s topic of how people react to serious situations. I was working in a large office in El Paso, Texas. There was a big glass office to one side that held the boss and owner. Then there were five desks around a big room. One of the five of us was a former bank president whom I’ll call Ned for this piece.
There was a big office where the boss worked, and in a large room there were desks where five of us worked. One of my co-workers, a former bank president probably in his mid 50’s,had been in my office talking to me, and left to go down the hall. I turned back to my work. A few minutes later I heard the boss say "I called your wife, Ned and she’s coming to get you. I looked over and saw Ned sitting and teetering on a chair, his skin was green, his eyes showed fear, and he couldn’t speak. I told the boss to call 911. He started to tell me he had called ned’s wife and she was coming. I repeated to him he must call 911 bercause this was serious and minutes counted. The boss went in his office to make the call.
Ned threw up a little. I called two of the men who were co-workers, all of whom were now standing around watching. I told them to lower Ned to the floor on his side so if he threw up again, he wouldn’t choke. I’ll never forget the look of fear in Ned’s eyes. The firemen came first. By then Ned’s blood pressure was so low they couldn’t move him until they could stabilize him. The ambulance got lost and we could hear them going past us on the freeway. The firemen were working rapidly trying to stabilize him. By then his wife was there and soon after the ambulance crew arrived. There was a big crowd around by then as other offices in the building followed the emergency personnel. AT one point they thought they had lost him, but they finally got him to where they thought they could get him to the hospital. They put him on the gurney. His wife left to do something to the car. Ned turned to me and the first words we’d heard since this began were "I want my wife." I told him she was there and would be going with him. Everyone left then except our office people. There was a pall on us all.
I was so washed out, from the whole experience and my husband had come by and the boss said I could go home. I did and just collapsed. I got a call later saying that Ned had a burst blood vessel at the base of his brain. They needed to operate but they had to get him enough better to withstand the operation. It was four days later that we got word that Ned was enough better that they would do the surgery the next morning. We all went home for the weekend, happy that Ned would get better. But the next morning I got the call that Ned had died the night before.
The office staff all went to the funeral the net week. Ned’s family with whom he had been alienated for years came a long way to attend. I thought how Ned would have enjoyed seeing them again. I hoped he could know.