12 abr. 2010

Bailing people out

I remember another heated discussion with my pal, Gabriel. It was the summer of ’08; we were in Boise, having lunch at Wendy’s and he was telling me why social programs are evil.

“I mean, clearly there are people who take advantage of them, but I think it’s important that people have the change to get back on their feet”, I stated.

“No, you are wrong” he said, “Why should we bail people out who is too weak to help themselves?” he sneezed “You see, I might have a cold but I’m going to work, I’m not a pansy who is crawling around the house asking my wife for some soup and care”

And he kept talking about this issue for a while. Unfortunately, my friend has the bad habit of eating while he is talking and he didn’t chew the last bite and a big chunk of meat ended up in his throat.

“Oh, my God!” I shouted“you’re chocking! Please, does anyone know the Heimlich maneuver?"

“No! Don’t… help… me…!” He said in a very soft weak voice… I don't... eat… food... I can’t handle…”

"Dude, you could die!, you need help now"

"No…one… dare… to… he…"

And he didn’t let anyone approach him while he was trying to help himself, but once his face started to turn blue, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I tried what people in movies do. Fortunately, a paramedic arrived and gave him the proper procedures. It turns out that the correct procedure wasn’t the Heimlich maneuver; the protocol was to encourage the victim to cough and the use of hard blows with the heel of the hand on the upper back of the victim.

“You see” he told me after a while “If you had helped me, you would have done the incorrect procedure and I would have died: you see now why it is important never asking for help?”

“I guess you’re right…”

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© Pablo Camus
Maira Gall