Sunday, August 03, 2003

seizure the day

Well, well...

Life is an adventure whether I want it to be or not. I already wrote about a burning minivan on my street.

Today, around 6:35PM (Sunday) we had a seizure in the PC-bahng. A guy right next to me suddenly groaned loudly. My first thought: he just lost at Warcraft. The moan went on longer than the typical "Shit, I lost!" moan, though. So, my second thought: this guy has cerebral palsy, and he must've come with a friend. In fact, when I looked quickly over at him, the guy (in his 20s) was still staring and gesturing weakly at his PC's monitor.

But a second later, his body went rigid, and he spilled out of his chair and onto the floor. His friend, who was on the floor beside him, was saying "Please call 119" [Korean version of 911] to me, but I didn't get this at first-- stupid me. Finally it clicked, and I went to the front desk and told the worker to call 119. He was already on it, though. His first attempt didn't go through. His second call did.

Meantime, I grabbed a bunch of toilet paper (for those of you who don't know, Koreans often keep rolls of toilet paper out on desktops, etc., much the same way we'd have boxes of tissue ready) and went back to the guy, who had urinated and vomited and was lying face-up. I tried turning his head to the side, but he kept resisting-- maybe still seizing, I wouldn't know. He seemed to have stopped vomiting (not much had come out), and his airway was rattling but obviously clear, so I didn't force the issue.

Quite a few people had left their PCs to see what was going on. At this point, there was little to do but wipe away the puke, hold the guy's head steady, and wait for the medics. One young lady sounded like she was offering some helpful advice to the seizure victim's friend; I'm not sure. Eventually the guy's seizure calmed down and he became lucid. By the time the medics arrived, about ten minutes after the call, the victim was able to sit up and talk with his friend. He still sounded woozy and disoriented. The medics walked in carrying nothing but a blood pressure cuff and a board on which to carry the guy out if need be. They asked the guy some questions, repeatedly asked if he wanted to go to the hospital, then left when the guy insisted he was OK.

Not a reassuring performance by Korea's Finest, but I have little room to talk, given how long it took me to recognize what was really going on. The only positive was that nobody freaked out.

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