So the assistant manager I worked with last night had an asthma attack during the last hour of our shift. That was awesome…
But don’t get me wrong - I’m not being sarcastic because of the inconvenience. Far be it. I have asthma, and though it’s nonexistent now (I grew out of it - haven’t had a problem in over 7 years), I never mess around when other people have it. I know what it’s like to not be able to catch my breath over even a little exertion, or not be able to hike to the fullest extent because the hills would just kill me. I know what it’s like to feel like a fish out of water, gasping like broken bagpipes and feeling embarrassed because there’s nothing you can do but take a few puffs on an inhaler and wait it out.
In this case, however, there were 3 things against my A.M. - she’d forgotten her inhaler, she is piggishly stubborn, and she smokes. Now, this girl is very nice and almost mousey-quiet, very unassuming and quick to apologize for mistakes. But I had to fight with her at every turn - yes you need some water, yes you need to sit down longer, yes you need to take it easy and not talk. I wasn’t panicking, but I was worried for her sake since I know exactly how she was feeling right then.
So I called in my dear buddy James the security guard. There’s a rotating group of guards in the mall where I work, and my favorite is James. He’s about 5’5”, mid-to-late 50’s, and is somewhere between Radar O’Reilly (MASH) and Bashful the Dwarf (Snow White). He is an absolute sweetheart, and he always calls me “dear” and says “Always great to see you” as part of his goodbye.
I got him on the horn and asked if they had an inhaler in their medical kit. He said no, but he would look regardless. Not too much later, as I went racing down to grab water for her, I see James heading towards my store. He walks with a limp (due to a motorcycle accident last year that crushed his foot), but he was clipping along at a good pace and gave me an encouraging smile as he went.
He stayed in the store while I ran out to try and find an inhaler, and he stood there all protective near where my manager had sat down behind the register to try and breath. I came back empty-handed and still he stuck around to make sure she was all right, and that I was all right too - when he left to try his luck in finding an inhaler, I put my hand on his arm and said “You’re like our guardian angel, James - thank you so much.” The Bashful part of him surfaced then, and his cheeks turned rosy and he shrugged like it was no big deal, but his face was beaming. He’s always looking out for us, no matter what - it helps that the security station is right across from my store.
Well, he had no luck finding one, but he kept checking up on us throughout the evening, which helped my nerves as well, considering I didn’t know how well my manager was going to fare.
She refused any medical attention that James offered to call, and I think that was due to the fact that she was embarrassed and didn’t want to make it a big deal. That I can understand as I’ve mentioned. But she had come to the point where she was simply making it worse for herself (physically and also in her duties as the acting manager), and also for me; figuritively speaking, I had my hands tied, and I couldn’t leave until she was done, and I certainly wasn’t going to anyway until I knew she was on her way home. She avoided calling her superior(s) because she didn’t want to make a fuss and lose hours for herself (I guess she hadn’t been scheduled for about 2 weeks, even though she has another job), and needless to say, my head manager wasn’t pleased when I called to let her know what was going on.
It’s no one’s fault - this kind of thing happens, and the a.m. was caught with her pants down. She knows now to keep the inhaler with her, but even then, I’m not sure what’s going to happen now. This girl lives on cigarettes and energy drinks - I’ve hardly ever seen her eat. And it’s none of my business to tell her how to live her life, but she is seriously going to kill herself - the biggest factor in that being that she doesn’t want anyone telling her how to run her life.
So all in all, the moral of the story is: don’t let stubbornness get in the way of your health.
And my security guard James is a guardian angel. He’s gonna be getting a thank-you card really soon :3