Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do you have what it takes?

There have been several times in my life when I wished I had the kind of quick thinking and reacting skills to do the right thing in an emergency. Not just anything, but the correct thing. My first self realization occurred after I showed up for jury duty for Salem's 1992 fire bombing trial. I had been anxious while I filled out the long qualifying questionnaire, finding the correct parking area and trotting the somewhat long distance with a fellow member to the court house. But that's who I am--an anxious person.

We potential jury members were part of a larger than normal pool. They ushered us through the metal detector and into a large courtroom. There was standing room only. A judge told us of the possible long time commitment and began the process of listening to those who asked to be excused. My fellow trotter and I, leaned against the back wall next to one another.

And then it happened. I felt my fellow trotter's shoulder lean into my own. He was an older gentleman and we had been standing a long time, I justified. But then it became clear that he wasn't leaning, he was experiencing a medical emergency. I eased his limp body to the wood floor. My first thoughts didn't include heart attack, I assumed he had locked his knees and fainted. I removed my jacket and placed it under his head. Luckily, another juror with the needed experience and response, handed my jacket back to me and said we needed to keep him lying flat.

I stepped back to let those amazing people who knew just what to do, step in. Paramedics arrived immediately. I remember hearing they had been in the basement preparing for their day. I read in the paper that the man passed away a week or so later.

Self realization number two: During my drive to work I spotted a woman walking her little dog. A much larger, unleashed dog, was harassing her dog. When I mentioned it at work, my co-worker asked, "and you didn't stop to help?". I'm embarrassed to admit that the thought had never crossed my mind.

And the latest? Two days ago, I was driving to my credit union to deposit a check and spotted a dachshund walking on the sidewalk without his owner. I drove slowly and thought about parking in the next available spot and returning to pick him up, but what would I do after that? Take him back to work with me? As the questions rolled through my head, I spotted 2 other cars pull over and walk back to rescue the dog.

Are some of us just wired better to respond to situations? Or is there a way to change how we react?

1 comment:

Lise M said...

Ya, its anxiety. I stood and watched a toddler fall into a pool and I was so shocked I didn't think to do anything but watch. I was shaken back to reality when the toddlers mom ran out and dove into the pool. :P Thats why I keep trying meditation. Anxious brains are overloaded lots I think and it takes a bit for them to clear up enough for quick thinking.