Personal Statement: To the ER and beyond

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Rabab Jafri/Daily

 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 7:11pm

I never expected to spend the morning of Jan. 24 in the emergency room. I didn’t think I’d be hooked up to an IV when I should have been sitting in my “Origins of Nazism” lecture at 11:30.

Somehow, on that Tuesday I found myself in a bed in the emergency room at the University Hospital, wearing a typical gown and enjoying some vanilla yogurt and apple juice. As soon as I regained consciousness, I could only think of one question: Who was she?

***

I don’t really know how I passed out that morning. I didn’t sleep the night before — only about five-and-a-half hours because of my heavy homework load and conversations with my hallmates. I also neglected to eat breakfast. I walked through the snow to Chem 1800 and sat in the back for another Psych 112 lecture — a class that, even on a good day, I struggle to remain focused. At a certain point, I began to feel dehydrated and left to fill my water bottle.

The next thing I know, I’m lying on a hard tile floor with a girl crouched next to me reassuring me and attempting to ease the bleeding. I couldn’t really see what was happening and thought I had a concussion. I was frightened, tired and hungry. I didn’t know how hard I hit my head and if my fall caused damage. Would I need stitches? Did I have a concussion? Any permanent damage? (For those wondering: yes, no and no thank God).

Through all of my shock and nervousness, she spoke to me while her friend assured the paramedics were en route from the hospital. That ride didn’t go so well either. I begged for water while the paramedics in the back of the ambulance told me no each time, increasing my stress from zero to one hundred. I really just wanted a cup of apple juice or a bowl of cereal. Eventually, I arrived at the hospital. The nurses and doctor did some preliminary tests and then allowed me to take a two-hour siesta. Finally, I received my cup of apple juice and called my parents to tell them what happened.

After my nap, I (obviously) checked my phone. Still, I kept wondering who it was that helped me, something I slowly began to realize would be nearly impossible to figure out. There are 28,000 undergrads at the University of Michigan. How could I possibly find the one person who happened to be in the Chem Building at 9:30 and helped the guy who passed out? 

You might be wondering why I was obsessed with finding the girl who helped me. I began the search because, without this person, I don’t know what would’ve happened. She knew immediately to grab a paper towel to stop the blood oozing from my head. So, yeah, it was a big deal to find out who may have just saved my life.

A few days went by, and even though I expressed some curiosity toward finding who saved me, it eventually became more speculative. What if I found this person — not really thinking it was possible. I didn’t know what method to pursue and my “search” began to feel more and more like an unsolved mystery.

It took some prodding from my physician uncle to really seek out the girl. We spoke on the phone at length about the injury and he urged me to find who saved me. The next day, I called the Division of Public Safety and Security, but, because I called after hours, the records department employees had already left for the weekend. My search would have to wait until Monday.

***

After class on Monday, I called again and spoke to a woman from the records department. I told her about my “quest” to find who helped me and, to my surprise, she was interested in helping, which made me optimistic. At least I wasn’t too crazy, I thought.

I gave her my incident number and learned the details of the people present at the scene. Unfortunately, she only had Officer Kevin Rice’s name, not the name of the person who first spotted me (big shoutout to Officer Rice). It appeared I hit a dead end. But, I was undeterred.

And as I sat in the library a few hours later, I established my next step: I would post in the University of Michigan class of 2019 Facebook group. I’ll look like an idiot, but I thought that maybe I'll gain some closure. I wrote in the group (YOLO, right?):

Complete Longshot but I believe in miracles: Last Tuesday morning I passed out in the Chemistry building and two girls came over right away and helped me ease my injuries and called the ER. I'm really grateful and it'd be great to send you a thank you note/get you a Starbucks. From what I remember, one girl was named Allie (sp.?) and you were selling food for a student organization. If you know this person/are this person please let me know. Thank you.

Sure enough, about an hour later, I saw someone commented on my post, tagging her friend. Her friend then messaged me and I learned that, yes, she had indeed been the girl who saw me fall in the Chem Building.

As you could probably expect, I was in shock. My persistence paid off. A few weeks later, we met at Starbucks in the Union and rehashed. She told me it wasn't the first time she'd helped someone who passed out, so she knew exactly what to do. I would no longer wonder, “What if,” about the incident. I learned all I needed to about my frightening morning.

***

Nearly a month later, it’s still puzzling to think I spent a day in the emergency room. It’s just as incredible that a far-fetched, seemingly improbable request in a Facebook post — in a group of more than 17,000 people — somehow reached the right person. The experience taught me a great deal.

I’ve learned to be mindful of my surroundings, to always look to see if I can be of assistance. I’ve learned that sometimes, even the craziest ideas can work. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned to eat breakfast and get a good night’s sleep.

I don’t want to end up in the ER again.