A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Friday, March 07, 2008

Really? What POSSIBLY could have been more important?

I was working after school and heard a commotion outside my door. I figured it was just the softball team running laps of our Incredibly Large School, and though nothing of it. Then I heard a sob and a moan.

A girl was sprawled on the floor, gasping for air. After asking what the heck was going on, and getting someone to call for help, we started ministering to the girl. She apparently has an anxiety disorder and collapsed. She was also blistering hot, not sweating, and had her arms pulled up toward her chest in a way that reminded me of someone in a vegetative state.

After checking her over for any other obvious form of injury, I took her pulse surreptitiously, because she was sobbing and crying. It was pretty fast. As I spoke to her, I tried to calm her down. I asked if she has exercise induced asthma, and her friends said no.

So eventually, an administrator came running up along with one of our police officers, and a trainer, and her mother was called. As I talked to the girl, she suddenly lost consciousness for about ten to fifteen seconds, lids drooping halfway shut, eyes unfocused, body going limp. She would alternatively cry about her chest hurting, talk kind of nonsensically, and then be very clear and concise in explaining that she had taken her medicine and when. Then she went unconscious again, and repeated the entire cycle. At that point, the administrator decided to call 911, thank God. He stayed cool and collected the entire time, and made decisions quietly and authoritatively. He betrayed no panic, which I appreciated, nor was he overly dramatic about the situation.

So we tried to keep her awake, calm her down, cool her down, and comfort her. We tried distracting her with humor when she was particularly lucid. The paramedics arrived and checked her over. After about thirty minutes from the time she had fallen in the hallway, she was placed on a stretcher and taken to the ambulance, crying all the way.

And here's the insane part: the mother never came to check on this girl, even though the house was nearby and mom was there. The coach came and looked at her for about two minutes, and then went back to conducting practice.

WTH? Really.

So I haven't heard how it all came out. I assume she is okay, but I don't really know the girl. I will tell you it was pretty scary once she lost consciousness.

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At 3/7/08, 4:53 PM, Blogger Miss Profe said...

The mother never came. That's a crying shame. What a bizzare story. I hope everything turns out ok for the girl. But, with a mother like that, I'm surprised she (the girl)has lasted as long as she has.

At 3/8/08, 7:09 AM, Blogger teachergirl said...

There was nothing more important. Period.

At 3/8/08, 8:30 AM, Blogger M-Dawg said...

Very sad - I hope she's ok.

Some parents have no business being parents. Enough said.

At 3/9/08, 1:34 AM, Blogger MommyProf said...

That happened to a girl in one of my colleague's classes. Scary as heck!

At 3/9/08, 10:46 AM, Blogger Mike in Texas said...

As I've often said, I'll take a teacher who cares about kids anyday over a politician who says they do.

That girl was lucky you and a few other caring professionals were on hand.

Just out of curiosity, was the coach's wife automatically given a job when they came to your district?

At 3/9/08, 11:09 AM, Blogger Smithie said...

This is the kind of situation teachers who care count the most. I hope she's OK.

At 3/9/08, 4:34 PM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

That's awful that the mother didn't come. She's very lucky to have run into a teacher like you.

At 3/9/08, 6:38 PM, Blogger Rita said...

OK, I'm going to put a different twist on this: I've had kids who pull this sort of thing every now and then on purpose -- they can turn it on and off at will (and it runs in the family). I'm not saying they aren't nuts -- they are -- but the scary physical symptoms are completely under their control. You did the right thing, of course, but there could be more to the story.

At 3/9/08, 10:05 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Well, obviously, something was obviously wrong with this young lady, or she wouldn't have been on medication. And obviously, often apples don't fall far from trees, if you know what I mean. But unconscious is unconscious, which if that kid could control that, she's some kind of actress.

But I don't think that absolves the mother. At the very least, she should have come and provided information to those of us who were caring for her daughter. It's called being responsible.

At 3/10/08, 9:32 PM, Blogger Rita said...

True, of course. The parent of the kid whom I'm thinking of (and yes, the child could do a fake faint like a pro) wasn't allowed in the building because she got into a fist fight with one of the secretaries. Just sayin' -- I still can't compete with your homicidal Friar Tuck.


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