On the one hand it seems like such a piddly little thing. On the other, it did result in saving two lives.
I used to work in a great big basement without any windows, and we had to cross the street to get to the employee parking. Many of the upstairs employees came downstairs to exit through our door as it was on the same street & same level as the parking lot.
I happened to be the last empoyee leaving my level, and I locked the door behind me. I noticed Shaquita was sitting on the loading dock, and I asked if she needed a ride. She told me no, her car was across the road, but she felt really tired and wanted to rest there for a minute before she went home. That was odd because she'd walked out of that door more than 15 minutes before.
If you're like me, you like to respect other people's privacy and allow them some dignity. I didn't want to pry, but I was getting the weirdest feeling not to leave her. I knew she was pregnant, and I knew she hadn't been feeling well. She was still in her first trimester which could have explained everything, but I couldn't leave her there. So, I sat next to her and told her I'd sit with her until she felt better. I said there was no hurry which wasn't exactly true as I had a home health patient I NEEDED to go see before I went home to make dinner.
She called a friend and asked her to pick her son up from daycare and to keep him for a while so she could lie down and take a nap. Then she asked me to drive her car over to the loading dock so she wouldn't have so far to walk. It wasn't much of a walk, it shouldn't have seemed like a daunting task to her, but I agreed. I even helped her into the car.
I went across the street to my own car, and I really would have liked to drive off to my patient's home. Again, I just felt like it would be a very bad thing to leave her there. She started her car and sat there for what seemed like a long time.
Eventually, I went back to her car to check on her. I called one of the upstairs employees for help. We decided to take her back inside, and she had to sit on a rolling chair to get her over to our mat table to lie down. Her color was lousy, she wasn't breathing right, and I asked if I could call for an ambulance. She said yes, and soon the paramedics were there giving her oxygen and taking her off to the hospital.
Shaquita had a pulmonary embolism, and she told me that the doctors said she and her baby would have died if she'd gone home and taken that nap she had planned on taking. So, just by taking the time to respond to that feeling that I shouldn't just walk past her like several other employees had to go about my own business led to life saving interventions for Shaquita and her baby. She called me her angel, but I'm pretty sure HER angel was talking to me. I just took the time to listen.
And my home health patient? Well, I had to reschedule, but it didn't change his outcome or mine. It made a world of difference to Shaquita and her family, though.