My daughter and I went to the grocery store after work yesterday. After some intense negotiations, we settled on a bribe. She would agree to accept a small bag of Cheetos in exchange for staying in the shopping cart.

I navigated up and down the aisles as quickly as I could, crossing items off my list as I sped along. My daughter crunched loudly on her snack and sang "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" at the top of her lungs for everyone's shopping entertainment. ("PUT 'EM TOGETHER AND WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?!")

Have you ever noticed how no one else at the grocery store is EVER in a hurry? I watched a woman carry out an intensive comparison of three different types of salad dressing. She read the labels, she made notes - she did everything except juggle them. And I watched her because I had no choice. She would not move. Finally, we made it to the register and I started loading our stuff onto the belt. Just then, there was a commotion at the next register. I saw white-shirted managerial-type people come rushing towards the registers. It took a few seconds before I understood what was going on. The cashier behind us had fallen over and had embarked on a series of seizures. Fellow employees rushed to her side and placed a makeshift cushion under the young woman's head. I felt a bit conspicuous standing there, but with no medical training, it's not as if I could have helped. ("Does anyone need help with their website? No? Okay, just checking!")

It took only a few minutes for the paramedics to arrive. The cashier looked young - maybe 19 or 20. I'm getting to the age where someone like her could technically be my daughter. I teared up a little when I thought of her parents and how worried they would be as soon as they found out. The emergency response team quickly assessed the young woman and loaded her onto a back board and then onto a gurney. Her thin, pale arm fell off to the side momentarily before all of the straps were in place. My daughter watched as they pushed the gurney towards the door. Just then, the young woman had another seizure. In querying the cashier who was ringing up our stuff, I learned that the other employee does have epilepsy. I've never had a seizure myself, but I can imagine they must be harrowing. Scary to have, scary to watch.

As we left the building, the ambulance and fire truck were still out front. A started asking me lots of questions about what was going on. It was difficult to explain. I told her that the girl was sick and that the men came to help her. She asked why they came to help her, so I explained that helping people is their job. I also tried to stress to her that the girl was very sick, not just a tummy ache or something like that. I didn't want her thinking that an ambulance might haul her off next time she was under the weather.

I thought about that young woman well into the evening, wondering how she was doing, whether her fretful parents were now at her side. I looked at my own little goober, orange Cheeto dust still caked in the corner of her mouth. She is healthy. Her brain, for the most part, works the way it is supposed to. It is at times easy to forget that the absence of something can be a blessing, too.


Unknown said…
After a very long day with Mr. J (see my FB note: Meghan needs a vacation from her son)this is the exact reminder that I need. Thank you so much.
Lisa said…
How scary! I hope she is ok too..

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