On this quiet Saturday morning, I find myself thinking a lot about Doug.
A few days ago, I arrived early at a hotel before a breakfast with my friend, James Cooke. I was hanging out in the lobby. Out of the corner of my eye, something looked odd.
I saw an older man in a suit, sitting on the floor, unseen amid the hustle and bustle of a hotel lobby. When I looked closer, I saw that his hands shook, his mouth was agape, and he vainly tried to stand up.
I ran over. I waved over a hotel attendant and told him to call 911. I and another person knelt down next to the man. We held his hands.
“Hi, what’s your name?”
“Can you breathe easily?”
“Any tightness in your chest? Pain in your arm?”
“No. I have to get up. I have a job interview. My ride is outside waiting for me.”
“Well, let’s just take a few minutes to rest. Take a few deep breaths.” I rubbed Doug’s back to try to reassure him. He didn’t look well. His eyes were glassy.
Man oh man, it took forever for the ambulance to come. So, I just sat there with Doug, rubbing his back. And, I quietly prayed for him.
Eventually, he agreed to lie down, but not after trying over and over to get up for his interview. He was clearly embarrassed, particularly when his job interviewer entered the lobby to look for him.
“I’m so sorry,” Doug said to him. He slapped his palms on the floor. “I’m so sorry,” he said, over and over.
When the paramedics came, we learned from Doug that he had a seizure last week but didn’t see a doctor about it. Doug’s chin quivered now and again, and he sometimes had a hard time speaking.
After a while, there wasn’t much else I could do. I withdrew to the side as the paramedics did their job. But, I kept praying.
Honestly, I felt helpless. The only thing I felt I could do was to transmit somehow to him compassion.
So, I’m thinking about Doug this morning.