pandemo (pandemo) wrote,


I did not expect to be on line again tonight, as I had a meeting from 5-8 in Ottumwa, which is slightly more than an hour's drive away.

But I find I can't sleep. My ancient Chinese curse is alive and well, it seems.

We were doing mundane things -- looking at Spanish-English books, lesson plans, photos, magazines, newspapers, videos, exchanging how we practiced/did not dare practice things for Los Muertos.

The gal sitting next to me, who was a senior in Ana Peck's Spanish class twelve years ago, recounted a story of when Ana was using her vast and delicious knowledge of Mexico to bring the celebration alive, had an irate parent really go after her, photo in the local paper and all. Ana was supported by many, many letters and the administration, but her student, now herself a Spanish teacher in that same system, does not bring the topic up. A shame.

We went from that discussion to a video that used the Laugh-In style of flashy video, flipping quickly from image to image... (cause, or happenstance?) when the gal sitting next to me went into a grand mal seizure. I was intently watching the flipping vocabulary, but the student teacher on the other side of her caught her, but could not hold her up alone. In the fear of the moment, she forgot all our names, and only said something general.

I turned, seeing the gal stretched out toward the floor. It was not immediately evident that she was being supported by the student teacher from my angle.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"No, she's not."

The lady in charge, who was on the far side of a table at a better angle, could see the student teacher's face, and immediately got up to help. The one in trouble had told her earlier in the evening that she had experienced a petite mal seizure recently and was having some trouble, so the teacher immediately recognized what was happening.

I tried to help lower her to the floor, but even with three of us by then attempting to get her safely down, she did bang her head, but not hard, as she was only a few inches from the floor by then. I called 911, and another gal went to the door to guide the ambulance people in.

It was quite unnerving to see this bright, articulate lady who had been picking the brains of the other teachers on how to make Spanish verb endings fun, interesting, and memorable to students suddenly robbed of the power to answer even simple questions coherently. When she first tried to give us her parent's phone number, she could only get out three of the digits. Before she left, she got out the last four, twice, different both times. We figured out her age from knowing when the material about el día de los muertos had caused such a stir in town. When given that help, she could tell the paramedics that "that was about right," when they asked for her age. She was unable to tell them anything about her age without that input from the group members.

Although I had watched her take a tablet right before we ate the Chinese food we'd had catered in, she repeatedly denied that she had taken any medication. I described the tablet for the paramedics, and gave the approximate time we'd begun our meal, in case it was important.

Her parents' phone number was unlisted. We were unable to reach any of the other foreign language teachers in the Ottumwa system, who might have known how to reach her parents. We dialed both of the numbers she gave us, but only connected with an answering machine and a wrong number. This is NOT the type of message to leave on an unsuspecting parent's answering machine, but we left it, not even sure we were leaving it on THE RIGHT person's answering machine.

When the gal in charge gets home, she will try the principal, who at least might appreciate a heads up that he may have a missing and incoherent teacher tomorrow...

I am hoping that maybe by writing down the events, I can get past it enough to be able to fall asleep. All of us are thinking how wigged out a bunch of students would be if suddenly their teacher went into a seizure this serious. Not a pretty idea.

She had commented on my fortune, about joy in one's life, and I had given it to her. I hope she can find some in this situation.

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