Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"I Can't Breathe Here"

One of the delightful aspects of my job at the retirement community in Atlanta occurred at Christmas time. We were blessed to have many gift donations for our residents. As staff members, it was our privilege to deliver these boxes of sunshine to our residents.

Our Executive Director, Rita, and I were enjoying a pleasant conversation with Mrs. Rainey one day in her aaprtment. We were delivering her Christmas gift from an anonymous giver.

Mrs. Rainey was confined to her apartment due to poor health and the necessity of minute-by-minute oxygen. Her oxygen tube and tank are as much a part of her as are her eyes, nose and mouth. It was a more vital extension of herself in some ways.

You can imagine my horror when I looked down and discovered Rita standing on Mrs. Rainey's oxygen tube! In fact, not one, but both feet were firmly planted. Seeing that Mrs. Rainey was not yet turning blue, but no longer speaking, I deliberated what to do.

Do I?
a. Hurriedly push Rita (my boss) off the oxygen tube and try to make it seem like an accident? "Oops, I lost my balance and knocked you over. Sorry!!"
b. Knock Rita off the oxygen tube and tell her she is standing on Mrs. Rainey's tube. Embarrassment all around for Rita and Mrs. Rainey.
c. Divert Mrs. Rainey's attention and tell Rita she's on her oxygen tube. Excitedly blurt out, "Oh, WOW! Look at that airplane. Isn't it flying awfully close to our building?"
d. Encourage Rita to join me over by some of Mrs. Rainey's family photos.

What would you do? I chose "d". I went over to Mrs. Rainey's family photos and asked Rita to join me. We oohed and aahed over her grandchildren and great grandchildren and I watched as Mrs. Rainey started to regain color again. :)

Upon leaving I told Rita we almost had another death on our hands. She looked at me quizzically and asked me what I meant. I told her about the oxygen tube. She almost passed out!

What we don't know maybe can't hurt us...but we can't be so sure about someone else!

Deep breathing,


Anne said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Can't wait for lunch Thursday...Nathaniel said he saw you and Vann today having a date lunch.

Love you my friend!

Susan said...

Looking forward to lunch, too! Love you back!