Tonight, Steph and I went walking in the Ultra Oval Track. We started at exactly 19:22. Shortly after, a crowd began to gather in one corner, huddling over a man lying on the ground. It wasn’t a commotion and we figured he had just been injured. We kept walking.
 
By the second time we came around, I noticed someone was giving him CPR. Not a good sign. There was someone looking for a stretcher, a guard on his radio. More people gathered, just looking. There seemed to be no panic so while I was alarmed, we just kept walking.
 
By the third time we came around, the crowd had somewhat dispersed. But situation was pretty much the same. Vigorous rounds of CPR, trying to infuse life into this stranger. Despite the noises in the oval (there were a lot of people working out), it was silent in that corner. Athletes, in various states of sweat and exercise, just standing there, looking at this guy. As we walked by a girl, talking loudly into her phone cuts into the “silence” — “Hindi ako makalabas dito, may patay!”
 
First. I went cold all over. In a second the cold was replaced by anger at this girl for declaring this man dead so carelessly, without even giving him a fighting chance. Instinctively I made the sign of the cross and sent up a silent prayer.
 
For some reason we kept walking.
 
By the fourth time, I stopped. I asked Steph if we should offer this guy a car because clearly no ambulance was coming for him. People seemed immobilized. I heard a man talking to the stranger on the ground “Kaya mo pa diba? Aabot ka pa.” As we all watched, I think we clung to the calm authoritativeness of his voice. I called my driver and just as he picked up, a medic and a stretcher came running over. Finally. 19:47.
 
25 minutes before he was lifted out of there and rushed to the hospital that was probably only a kilometer away.
 
I overheard Mr. Calm said that Stranger was from Pampanga but lived in Manila alone. Alone. This guy was all alone. I keep thinking that this was the reason for the crowd’s lack of urgency. Maybe if he had been with a companion or a relative, someone could have taken charge. I can’t shake my feeling of sadness.I did not see him anymore after the ambulance whisked him away. Whoever you are, guy, I hope that you pulled through. You are in my prayers. If anyone has news about him, if you happened to be there tonight also, please do share. I would really like to hear that he was able to make it.Realizations:
— Sports / Fitness Centers should be equipped with first aid equipment.
— I need to learn first aid.
— I should have offered my driver right away.
— Life is short.

 

 

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