Kindness Is The Most Powerful Drug

, , , | GA, USA | Hopeless | September 6, 2016

(I’m dealing with severe depression and anxiety and am on medication to try to manage them. To afford my prescriptions, one just half the dose of the other, we need to dig into rent money, but without my meds I crash so hard I’ve been institutionalized, so we don’t have a choice.)

Pharmacy Tech: “I’m sorry, but the price on [Medicine] has gone up again, it used to be [very cheap price] but now it’s going to be [seven times as much].”

Me: *sighing* “All right, we’ll have to pay that.”

Pharmacy Tech: *leaning in to whisper to my husband and me* “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but go home and print out coupons from [Website] and come back. Or, if you have a smartphone, look them up on there. It should save you quite a bit of money. It infuriates us too that the prices keep going up.”

(My husband and I walk outside to put away what we’ve already purchased, and in the meantime, look up coupons on his smartphone. When we get out to our car, we see a truck parked in front of us with the hood up and a young woman messing with the battery. It is over 90 degrees outside and it’s pretty clear she doesn’t know what she’s doing.)

Husband: “Everything all right?”

Woman: “Yeah. I’ve got someone coming to help. I think the battery’s dead.”

Husband: “Do you need a jump?”

Woman: “It wouldn’t hurt.”

(While I sit in the passenger seat of our car and look up coupons, my husband tries to get the truck going. After several minutes of attempting, it’s proven that the battery is truly dead, and the woman goes inside to wait for her ride. Meanwhile, I’ve successfully found a coupon that will get me my larger dosage for 50% off, making it much more affordable. We go back inside and show it to the pharmacy tech, who enters it into the system.)

Pharmacy Tech: “All right, that’s going to be [much more affordable price].”

Pharmacist: *interjecting from behind the tech* “If you can get your doctor to write you a prescription for one and a half of the larger dose, it’ll be cheaper, too, and you can just split the pills in half.”

(My husband and I agreed that it was probably karma working for us that day. We still go to that pharmacy every time we need a medication and try to pay it forward every chance we can.)

Seize The Moment

, , | TN, USA | Hopeless | September 1, 2016

(I have epilepsy and on the days when I have breakthrough seizures I have difficulty sticking with one train of thought. To avoid an extremely confusing lesson, I just tell my students that we’ll be watching a movie. One student has had my class before and knows I don’t like to show movies this early in the year unless I have a sub.)

Student: “Are you okay?”

Me: “I’m fine. Just breakthrough seizures.”

Student: “Oh, you have epilepsy? Are we doing anything to trigger them? I know [Friend]’s seizures are worse when he’s stressed.”

Other Students: *after hearing him* “Yeah, what can we do to help?”

(Keep in mind that this was the fourth or fifth day of school and only Student #1 had met me before. Not one of them had anything derogatory to say and they were willing to completely change their behavior if it was hurting me. The previous semester, when I had a (for me) bad breakthrough seizure, not one misbehaved for the entire day and I was repeatedly offered candy, hugs, and whatever else they thought would help. My coworkers offered to rearrange their schedules to help. These teenagers are the generation that’s supposedly the most spoiled and self-centered, but when it matters they’re the ones that give me hope.)

Doesn’t Have The Head For This Kind Of Work

, , , , , | Buffalo, NY, USA | Right | August 25, 2016

(I work as a dispatcher for my hometown.)

Me: “911, what’s your emergency?”

Caller: “My husband has been lying on the couch moaning in pain all day; I think he needs to go to the hospital. My address is [Address].”

Me: “Okay, an ambulance is on the way. Did your husband eat anything unusual today?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Does he have any allergies?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Where did he say the pain is coming from?”

Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Okay, but did he do anything unusual today that could cause his pain?”

Caller: “Um, well, he shot himself in the head this morning.”

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A Little Punch (Card) Of Kindness

, , , | Salem, OR, USA | Hopeless | August 4, 2016

(That morning I had quite a few things go wrong: my son didn’t want to leave home, my tire pressure light came on, and I didn’t have a chance to eat breakfast or stop for coffee. I’m checking in our first patient of the day, and despite my morning I have a cheerful face for patients.)

Patient: “Do you go to Dutch Bros.?”

Me: “I sure do! It’s my favorite place. “

Patient: “I go there a lot, but I always fill up the punch cards and never use them. Instead I save them and give them to people I find who are nice.”

(The patient handed me a full punch card, which could be redeemed for any size drink you wanted. It truly made my day better, and I greatly enjoyed getting my favorite blended coffee.)

A ‘Fitting’ Response

, , | | Hopeless | July 28, 2016

(I’m walking to the supermarket. There’s a man curled up at the bus stop.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir, are you okay?”

Older Man: *slow and somewhat slurred* “No, I’m epileptic.”

Me: “Do you want me to call an ambulance?”

Older Man: “Yes.”

(As I do, a young man sees us.)

Young Man: *to his phone* “I’ll call you back.” *ends call* “What’s wrong?”

Me: “Chap says he’s epileptic.” *to despatch* “I’m on [Road] just off the back of [Tube Station].”

Despatch: “Do you have a road number or postcode?”

Me: “Not to hand but…”

Young Man: “Give me a moment.” *taps on his phone* “It’s [local number and postcode].”

(I relay this in the phonetic alphabet. The young man repeats the questions I ask and is better at extracting answers. Another young man comes along, seeming to have dialled 999 as well.)

Young Man #2: “What’s happened?”

Me: “Epilepsy. It’s okay; I’m on the phone to the ambulance service.”

Young Man #2: “Okay.” *to phone* “Someone here is already talking to you.”

(He leaves at this point, but a businessman comes along and asks what is wrong too, as does an older woman going to the local GP surgery.)

Despatch: “Okay, an ambulance will be with you as soon as possible. Make sure he doesn’t do more than sip water. We are backlogged so please stay with him and if he gets any worse call again.”

(I hang up and relay this to those around me. Between us the only drink to hand is a cup of sweet coffee.)

Businessman: *indicating pub across road* “I’ll ask them for some tap water.”

(He comes back with a glass, complete with straw and ice.)

Businessman: “They said if need be he can keep the glass.”

(I take off my hoodie and roll it up so the man has a pillow and the young man helps him into the recovery position.)

Me: “Okay, if you feel like you’re going to be sick make sure to tilt your head up so you don’t choke.” *I gesture to indicate that I mean up relative to him, which he follows*

(Both the businessman and the older woman have to leave due to engagements, but the young man and I stay with him until the paramedics arrive.)

Paramedic: “Looks like you guys took good care of him. Do either of you know him?”

Me: “Nope, just a bunch of strangers willing to help.”

(As the man is led onto an ambulance the young man goes to take the glass back to the pub while a woman in a headscarf comes along, also asking what happened. I tell her the gist of it.)

Woman: “Wow, he’s lucky you came this way.”

Me: “I deal with the public a lot, but I believe in treating people the way you wish others would treat you.”

(The city has a reputation for being uncaring, but sometimes, seeing this many people willing to help restores faith in humanity.)

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