My last blog post was about the musical Oklahoma at the Muny. This post is about something that happened during the show. So, there’s a song where Curly comes up to Jud’s cabin and is talking about what would happen if Jud died or something like that and in the middle of this song, I hear, “help”. Seemed like a weak cry, yet I could hear it. I look around trying to figure out how that fits into the show. Next thing I hear is, “Is there a doctor?” That’s when I realize that something happened 10 seats forward, a bit towards the left. I’m not sure what to do. Am I a doctor? I am a pediatric dentist, but what do I know?
I try to focus on the musical and have a rough time with all the shuffling of people going on in the front. I lean over and whisper to my husband, “they better stop the show!” and he nods and we continue to watch. The shuffling in front increases. I say again, “are they going to stop the show?” Nothing. The show must go on, right? Then the shuffling gets quite ridiculous. I lean over yet again, “What is going on? They have to stop the show!” I’m missing the musical as I can’t focus and I don’t know what’s going on, but if it’s a true medical emergency as it appears from my seat, I’m disappointed at the Muny. When are they going to stop the show? Shortly after I leaned over to my husband a third time, I see someone come up on stage right with a walkie talkie. Then the woman goes back into the wings and I’m thinking, “this is crazy!” and the next thing we hear is the announcement on the speaker. “Ladies and gentleman, due to a medical emergency…” and as the speech is going on, the actors are still singing. How can they maintain such focus? I’m impressed. The woman motions the actors to stop. That’s when the actors stopped and got off stage.
Back to the emergency. I don’t know what’s going on and I’m sitting back where I am and I ask the woman in front of me, if she had heard anything. She said, “I don’t know but I heard they are doing CPR!” “CPR?” I ask again. I look at my husband incredulous. “I know CPR. I should go help!” He said, “Yes, you should.” So, I grab my keys which has a CPR mask in the key chain and head on down. Between the first and second row of Muny’s terrace A section, a man was laying with his head and body on the aisle and his feet between the rows. He was smiling and talking. I was confused. CPR? Emergency? This man is talking and alert and just laying there. I go there and ask what was going on. Someone sitting there looks at me and goes, “Are you a doctor?” I say, “Well, I am a pediatric dentist and I heard they were doing CPR. I do know CPR.” The woman says, “Oh! You are a doctor. I’m just a CPA!”
Meanwhile, another woman walks by and asks the appropriate questions. She said she was an EMT and started asking about what happened and whether someone had called for an AED. Someone there said that the man had gone unresponsive and they had started CPR immediately and had done a minute of it and the patient had become responsive after that. So, the woman (who works as an EMT) confirmed the facts about the CPR and stated that they should bring an AED just in case. I think the patient was anxious to have an AED on him and the woman explained that the device will not randomly shock the patient and it would be good to have just in case. Turns out, the patient was a doctor himself. I think he was beginning to feel sick and as he was explaining to his wife about it, he passed out. That’s why they started CPR, immediately. Back to the patient, he was chatting cheerfully at this point. You would had thought this was a big joke or something. He was continuing to answer questions. A man in a clean white shirt and dark grey slacks appeared. He identified himself as a cardiologist. He inquired about what had transpired. I figured they were all fine and they didn’t need me. So, I was going to go back to my seat but then the accountant told me to stick around. The official EMT came in 10 minutes later and carried the patient off in a stretcher with the audience applauding. The show went on.
I narrated the story to my husband during intermission. I told him that I should have gone when I heard the “is there a doctor here?” I explained that I knew what to do in an emergency but I second guessed myself. I just thought, What does a pediatric dentist know? My husband reminded me that I was a doctor and that I did know more than the average person. I think I don’t give myself much credit. It’s only when the facts of the emergency were presented to me that I realized I wasn’t so clueless after all. My training through the GPR and through my pediatric dental residency, not to mention, basic CPR enables me to potentially help in an emergency. Perhaps, I do know more than the average CPA when it comes to a medical emergency? I felt badly that I hadn’t gone immediately to help, but all’s well that ends well, I suppose.
Next time, I’m hoping I’ll do the right thing.