Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Kindness of Strangers

Subtitle: Don't be Buster Keaton in the gif.

I haven't blogged in a couple of days because of a series of unfortunate events (though this is far from a Lemony Snicket book.) From the day of my last blog post until today, it's been "go, go, go." Let's recap, shall we?

My brother was supposed to get in at 9 a.m. on Sunday from Texas. Crazy weather had him stranded in Albuquerque, NM and then Phoenix, AZ for a couple of hours at each stop. I had to go pick him up from the airport at nearly midnight, over 14 hours late. When we returned a quarter after midnight, a drunk/high guy began harassing us for money in the parking lot. That was quite a scare because the guy was obviously not in his right mind and we were worried that he would try to hurt my brother. Thankfully, we all hauled tush back to our apartment and nothing more happened.

The following day, I woke up feeling off. I didn't want to drive; I just wanted to stay home. I guess it was a bit of women's intuition because I ended up getting sick at IKEA... and an ambulance was called. What happened? Well, you know how I'm not supposed to exercise? Guess who walked up all those stairs at IKEA? Yep. My heart pounded so hard after walking (yes, walking) up the stairs. Then I felt like I couldn't catch my breath. That led to weakness (think jell-o) feeling in my legs and a feeling like I was going to faint. I tried to catch my breath but I just seemed to feel worse and worse so I sat down next to the IKEA food area. I guess I looked pretty bad because, next thing I know, a fellow customer (a young woman) called 911 and an ambulance was sent for me.

As I lay on the floor, back on the IKEA floor, feet up on a chair, I couldn't help feeling grateful for the young woman and her mother, as they tried to get help for me. My brother stayed with me as my mom stood outside, waiting for the ambulance to arrive. My mom later told me that a young woman walked up to her and asked her if she could pray for us. At the same time, a man (who said he was a pastor) asked if he could pray for me. My brother wasn't too happy with the question but I nodded my head, letting him know it was okay. I don't care if you're not Catholic, all prayers said with good intention are always appreciated. He knelt down and asked God to be with me and heal me from whatever ailed me.

The paramedics came, one of whom looked like the late Fr. Alexander Lewis (whose last words to me were that he was going to pray for me and my anxiety). They checked my vitals: no heart problems, blood pressure and blood sugar levels were normal. Verdict: just a severe panic attack (most likely from the palpitations and pounding in head I felt; that must've triggered a serious fight or flight response in my body.) Of course. (btw, later on that night I found out that my best friend had also ended up in the ER over a similar situation; full moon conspiracy theories commence.)

The whole episode was personally embarrassing because I really don't like bothering people and I felt like I really was. After the paramedics left (after I was given instructions to go somewhere quiet and rest), I had a couple of people ask me if I was okay. One even got me a cold water bottle. I told them it was a severe panic attack and thanked them for asking. At the same time, I was reminded of the kindness of strangers.

No one had an obligation to me. None of them knew me... but they still did everything they could to make sure I received the help I needed. As I look down on my green/white/red "Verso l'alto" band (which I wear as a reminder to perform at least one act of charity daily), I'm reminded of what I've done in the past for others... and what I will continue to do in the future as a way to repay for the kindness shown to me.

It's so easy to forget to show kindness to others; to do acts of charity. We live in a society that focuses on what I can do for "me"... "me, me, me, me, me." We Millennials have the unfortunate reputation of being selfish because, yes, a good portion of us are... and this included non-Millennials. It's just the message we get -- how I can improve me (in superficial, materialistic ways), how I should be my main focus, how I need to be successful (in the world's version of successful, if you know what I mean) in order to show my worth, etc.

This week I'd like to challenge all of you (as well as myself) to think less of yourselves and more on what you can do for others. It can be something as small as helping someone picking up something they've dropped, opening the door for someone, etc. In can start at home -- taking a chore off of someone's hands, helping clean, doing something for your spouse/child/parent. Little acts of kindness add up... and they plant the seed of kindness in others.

Anyway, this is my story for the day. Oh, and if you're wondering, I'm doing well now. I slept in (woke up after 11 a.m. this morning) and I've been putting my feet up whenever I feel the palpitations (an unfortunate symptoms of anemia which I have, unfortunately, been unable to take anything for due to side effects with the iron pills.)

Alright, I have a couple of things to take care of before I head to bed so that's it. :D

I hope y'all are having a good week thus far. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


Sonia said...

Em**:-) superstar.

Cammie Wollner said...

I'm so glad you're okay and that there were people around who were caring and kind!