Friday, 30 January 2009

“Sir? Are you okay?”

Last Wednesday evening was the second “weekly movie night” that I and my French housemate started doing the other week so we can have a break from our school work.

While walking to the town centre, I noticed an old man, about five meters away from us, wobbling. When he passed us by, I heard him groaning. Although we continued walking, I was looking at him to check, actually curious if he’s normal or not, then he fell down. So we ran back and asked him a very stupid question, “Sir? Sir, are you okay?”... (Are we nuts? Of course, he isn’t!)

I think I panicked because it didn’t really occur to me that I should call 999, waaaaaaah! Having grown and lived in a coconut farm in a remote Philippine village, my mind was not trained to call emergency lines but instead shout at the top of my lungs “Taaaaaabbbbbbaaaaang!” (Help!), hoping that neighbours who live hundreds of meters away would hear. Ahaha!

When I picked his bags of groceries scattered on the path and before I could cry “Help!”, I heard a man shouting from the other side of the road “Call 999”... At first, what registered in my mind was that he was telling us to get away from the old I and my French housemate backed off, then he shouted again, “Call 999”... that’s the time I remembered what I’m supposed to do. I totally forgot the Safety and Emergency Awareness series of the University. Ouch! Pastilan! (Darn!)

So I called 999 while my housemate checked on the man. He was bleeding profusely, from a cut on the left brow! While waiting for the ambulance, we learned that the man is 75 years old...and he kept murmuring 147 street something...I think it took 15 minutes for the ambulance to get to the site. Then a woman passed by and recognized the old man, and that’s the time that I realized what 147 meant. It’s the number of his house on that street. He’s just four houses away from where he collapsed. I think he really tried to make it to his house.

So the ambulance arrived, the police arrived and also the old man’s wife. After telling the wife that he’s carrying some groceries, we left the scene, and headed to the cinema. We arrived on time, watched Seven Pounds, while I smelled vinegar! Hahaha. The bags of groceries, there was a bottle of vinegar...

Ah that movie, the tear jerker Seven Pounds has some scenes reminding us of the incident… the movie started with Will Smith calling 911 and there was a scene when Rosario Dawson fell like the old man. I have a feeling this whole thing is preparing me for something more panicking...Ehehe! But I hope with this experience, my reticular activating system will store this as relevant information, that is, not to panic and to call 999 or 991 right away...

Now, this makes me think that I should tell the Barangay Captain (village head) of my beloved Barangay Cadunan to have an emergency number (or maybe, we have it already, I just do not know). Even in Tagum City (where I work), I don’t know the emergency lines... (Naa ba? Naa na yata). What I know is that in Compostela Valley Province and Davao del Norte, there are stickers posted in tricycles and jeepneys advertising to people to call certain numbers to report ‘Colurum Vans’.

After the movie, my housemate and I just talked about the bloody incidents that happened to us...while eating fries. Yum! Hmmm, that made me recall that I had been to accidents quite a lot already in my entire life…tsk tsk.

For the rest of the night, my housemate was a bit traumatized; she said she could still smell the blood. Not me! Thanks to the vinegar!

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