Tuesday, June 30, 2015
The smell of death
Hi, everyone! Been continuing to listen to new podcasts and things thanks to all your suggestions! My life feels somehow fuller now. More satisfying. In between breaks of long bouts of electronica I skim through the list of new podcasts and, if I'm in a daring enough mood, I go for it. Being in a brave soul sort of a mood I gave "Welcome to Night Vale" a try yesterday. I wasn't even sure what to think of it initially but I find myself mulling it over nearly a day later and that's a good sign in my book. It's like beat poetry in a Twilight Zone format.
I've arbitrarily decided to step up my game if I'm going to continue to write blog posts. Inspired by all the incredible podcasts and free form writing out there I need to make better use of this space! So be prepared to read a bunch of bumbling true life, off the top of my head, rambly posts beyond the usual "Hey I've got a new shirt or cartoon out!" entries I've done in the past.
I'll be honest though, I'm much more comfortable doodling than I am trusting words to get across my point. If I even have a point. So the ride may get a little bumpy. Hang on.
Okay, so here's a random entry to kick things off with.
Sometimes I work out. And lately, since my schedule has returned to a normal pace, I've been going to the gym for my lunch hour. It's a way to somewhat keep in shape so that I may continue my illustrious career as an old-man-beer-league-ice-hockey player. I don't have a ton of ambition in my life other than to try and create the most animation and comics I can and play the most hockey I can play before I'm done and out. And as I get older I suspect that if I didn't do these little workouts every week my body would just calcify into an unmoving mass, never to skate again. So I do my best to keep up steady visits to the gym. It is what it is. A predictable and mostly mundane necessity.
Until the other week.
I was in the process of doing stretches and getting ready to pedal a brisk 5 minutes on the exercise bike when I suddenly heard a loud thud and a moan of "ooooooohhhh". I immediately scanned the first floor. The gym has two levels, the second floor has all the cardio machines and is an open space that looks down onto the first floor. Every now and again there are some rather loud muscle head types who squat huge weights on the first floor. Whether it's voluntary or just necessary, they almost always are grunting or yelling audibly throughout the gym as they lift and then loudly drop weights with a thud onto the floor. I assumed that's what had occurred as I glanced down to confirm it. But I didn't see anyone that looked like a candidate to emit the noise I'd heard. Mildly confused, I shrugged it off and got on my bike when I suddenly heard a second lower groan. I looked behind me towards the line of treadmills and saw:
As I approached, a very Brian DePalma-like pool of blood beginning to spread from his head onto the carpet. By this point other folks had also noticed that something had gone horribly wrong at the treadmills. A co-worker was already in action mode, calling 9-1-1 on her phone and telling me and everyone else to "alert the front desk!"A bunch of us hustled downstairs to spread the word.
Luckily for the poor guy on the floor there was an experienced ER (emergency room) person who happened to be doing a lunchtime workout. He immediately took control of the situation, much to everyone else's relief! He flipped the guy over and got folks to fetch wet paper towels that were used to stem the bleeding. The guy had a nasty cut on his forehead and had been knocked loopy. As far as we could tell he must have half fainted while jogging on the treadmill and smacked his head as he stumbled and fell off. As we waited for the fire department to arrive the guy began to become coherent again. The ER fellow calmly talked him through what had happened and after a few minutes got him to his feet.
Soon he had the guy sitting in a comfy chair in the men's locker room and acting pretty normal. The fire department brought in a big first aid kit and tended to the gash on his head. The gym had a wave of 'situation normal' sweep over it and everyone went back to doing their lunchtime workouts. I returned to my previously planned routine but decided to cut my bike ride a bit short as my heart rate was already going pretty good.
Later, as I finished working out I noticed the fire department packing up their stuff and the treadmill guy was getting his gym bag together. I saw that the ER fellow was still there and talking a lot to the guy. I overheard him encouraging him to get a physical as soon as possible and to maybe drastically think about changing his diet. The guy nodded politely and proceeded to walk out.
Back at work, I chatted with a co-worker who had also witnessed the whole thing. He had made a point of thanking the ER guy for all his expertise. And as they got into conversation the ER guy had said that he could tell by the smell of the man that something terribly wrong was going on inside him. He could smell the whiff of death on him, a smell he'd become attuned to after many years of ER experience. He said there was an odor of major organ failure on the guy. Major organ failure. Jeez! I'd never really thought about the fact that death had a smell like that but it made sense. What an incredibly creepy skill to possess. Sort of like a Grim Reaper super hero or something.
When I told my wife about it that evening she reminded me of a news story a while ago about the 'death' cat at an old folks home.
Oscar the cat always knew who was going next and would stay with that person before they went. Even before the medical staff was able to determine anything wrong Oscar would just know. I think he'd done like over 50 times and been right every time. A comforting but horrible cat to have around I suspect.
The smell of death.
I really hope that guy went to his doctor and they're able to clear up that odor for him.