Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You just never know...

My friend, Laurie, and I walk 3 miles 5 mornings a week when I'm not on the road teaching. Early, before dawn.
This morning at the end of our walk we heard a faint noise. I thought it was a cat in distress. But then the noise started to sound a little bit like a person—in distress. We went over to investigate and it was indeed a man. On the ground. In the bushes. In distress. Saying "call 911" in a faint voice.
Laurie stayed with him and I ran for help. I found a woman in a car with a cell phone and asked her to call 911. Then I looked up and realized that the emergency room door was pretty close (part of our walk takes us next to the hospital). So I ran there. It was like a bad movie... I was so out of breath I could only choke out the most important information.
Once I got it out, I went back to let Laurie know that help was coming and then I stood out in the road to point the way to, first, a security guard from the hospital, then the fire department, and then the ambulance. All the while Laurie was over there holding hands and praying with the man in the bushes. 
As it turns out, the man shot himself in the chest the night before and spent the night unable to move in the bushes. He didn't kill himself, but he did hurt himself very, very badly. 
The police came. A lot of them. (There was a gun. The security man found it and moved it and the police were not happy.) Laurie and I both gave statements. I learned a lot in a very little time about suicide (and suicide attempts) from the policeman in charge. 
You know what... this is probably not what most readers of this blog would expect to read. I never had any idea that I would write a post about this sort of thing. Who expects to find a man in the bushes at dawn who shot himself the night before!? Not me. Certainly not Laurie who spent a lot more time with him than I did. What I feel compelled to say is that, if you are depressed, get help! Please don't hurt yourself.
PS - It's days later and I have no idea what the end to this story is. I wish I did because we all like a nice, neat ending. But life isn't like that, is it? 
I do know that I'm more aware of the fact that you never know what's going on inside of the mind of those around you. As a result, I'm trying to be a much nicer person to those I encounter and perhaps that's the moral of this story.


Tine said...

I hope there is some kind of help for you and your friend to process this! What a horrible horrible experience! Good thing you came by when you did. I bet he didn't want to die at that point in time...
And yes, when depressed, you need to get help.
Do you know if he is okay?

Elaine Adair said...

Bizarre happening - who woulda guessed? I wonder if he had different thoughts after suffering all night, and then recovery from his wounds?

OK, I'm going back to see something fabric-y or quilt-y! 8-)