I normally don't repost blogs, but I've gotten a couple of recent e-mails and comments asking about the time I got carried out of a strip club on a stretcher. The one is buried fairly deep in the achrives. This post is one of times it really strikes me that many dancers aren't just emotionless grinding wheels in heels but truely compassionate people.
For somebody who bitches a lot about the Dolphin clubs, I seem to spend a lot of time there. I have to admit I met some amazing people who work at the D1 and D2. In the PDX blackbook profile one of the questions you get asked is what is the weirdest thing you've seen at a strip club? Me? Getting carried out the back on a stretcher is the weirdest thing I've seen and experienced.
Several years ago I had a really busy Saturday, Outside of some coffee for breakfast I didn't eat anything all day. This isn't something too weird for me, I'm a creature of habit. When its time to eat I'm hungry, when it isn't I'm not. I can go to bed starving to death and wake up not feeling hungry at all. Important safety tip, you can do this when you are young. When you get in to your 40s, eat something.
I went in to D1 to see one of my favorite dancers. This dancer is a bit notorious for being late. She doesn't move in straight lines. I sat at a table for a bit. After having one drink and started to feel bad, a bit nauseas. I got up and headed over to the video game machine. You know you've been at club too long when you like playing the games there. While sitting at the game I had another drink. Still wasn't feeling well. After about a half hour of playing games I about ready to call it an evening when my favorite dancer finally made it over to me. We chatted for a little bit. I remember getting up from the game to give a hug good bye.
The next thing I remember is somebody shaking me and call my name. It was one of those unreal moments when reality seems to have shattered into little pieces and you can only grasp little fragments of it. My first thought was "why were all these people in my bed room" Then my situation began take shape in my mind and reality began to intrude on me. I was crumpled along the bar like a rag doll. I had fainted. I slowly sat up with help from the bouncer. I started taking inventory of all my extremities, making sure everything was still where it should be. Fortunately I hit a couple bar stools on my way down. While this left a couple of nasty bruises, bouncing off the bar stools slowed down my fall preventing me from really hurting my self.
With help I was led back to the kitchen. If you asked me I would have told you I was OK, if I was a boxer they would have given me a standing eight count. The staff sat me down and called the paramedics. I nearly faded a couple times sitting there. I'm not sure if it was just timing, or if it really made a difference but somebody threw a cold towel over my neck. This brought me back, instantly. Everything snapped together and the full realization hammered me. A series of emotions swept over me, first relief that I was OK, then embarrassment, then fear. I've never fainted before, why now?
The paramedics arrived and began to attend to the situation. One started taking all my vital signs, the other questioned the waitress who had been serving me. I think they were expecting for find a really drunk guy at a bar on a Saturday night (imagine that). I could hear the paramedic repeatedly asking the waitress "how many drinks did I have She replied two. The other paramedic started questioning me about how much I had to drink, and also started asking me some background information. I've always had a really good memory for numbers. When I was able to tell the paramedic, my SSN, my driver's license number, and AMEX number (they had my wallet) without error. They were first surprised, then suddenly much more serious. My satisfaction of proving I wasn't drunk quickly evaporated when they started asking questions like "are your fingers or toes tingling?", "do you feel any pressure on your chest?", "Can you move your fingers on your left and right hands.?" Did I just have a stroke or heart attack? They began a much more serious evaluation of me. They asked if they could take me to the hospital. That seemed like a really good idea. Very quickly I was carted off and in the back of an ambulance.
The ride the hospital was really disorienting. The ambulance is completely enclosed. I'm flat on my back. I felt we were driving in circles. I then got asked (at least from my point of view) one of the stupidest questions ever. One of the paramedics asked me "Do you think you need an IV?" Let's see, I'm an electronic engineer who less than an hour ago dented a bar stool with his skull. Obviously I should be making medical decisions. Let's see, if it will keep me alive, STICK THE IV IN MY GOD DAMN ARM! I know, lets play Cash Cab and do a triage street shout out, we'll pull over and ask a complete stranger "excuse me sir, do you think we should give the patient an IV or amputate his head?" With all the rage an electronic engineer who is strapped to a gurney can muster I whimpered "Sure, if you think it a good idea."
I was rolled into the emergency room (IV attached). In a blur of people and activity I was wired up, measured and evaluated. The Doctor look at the results, everything seemed to be OK, he decided to take readings for an hour and check back later. And in a flash everybody was gone, and I was alone in a room. That was probably the most frightening, lonely moment. Now what? The patient monitoring machine whirred quietly next to me. It was made by GE Medical. GE Medical buys product from the company I work for. Not only that, about four years a go I had some a little work with GE Medical to help qualify that model with the FDA for use as a medical device. Now it was monitoring my health. A weird karmic moment, but it made me feel a lot better than some of my work is used to help people (Especially me) I nurse walked by a mentioned that my friend was waiting in the lobby. Huh? She must be mistaken.
I began to sort out what I was going to do. It looked like I was going to survive the night. I wasn't thrilled at the thought of taking a cab back to my car (still parked at the Dolphin) but that seemed like the best option. Having your family pick you up at an emergency room after being hauled out of a strip club is the kind of thing you'll be explaining for the rest of your life. I was trying to calculate how much cab far would be back to my car. Kind of difficult when you don't know where you are. It was at this moment when had I another surrealistic moment, my favorite dancer walked into the room. She had followed the ambulance to the hospital, had been keeping track of me the entire time. The staff finally let her back to see me. I don't think I've had such feeling of warmth and relief than to know that I wasn't alone and somebody was there.
I read in Scientific American that the human brain can only relate to a relatively limited number of people as individuals. The brain will put them into groups to simplify its task. It will pick a major trait such as race, age, religion, or profession to predetermine how you will expect them to act. I'm no different. I've had enough negative dealings with dancers to assume the worst. The all dancers we're fundamentally greedy individuals. All the prejudices I that had about dancers was shattered at the point. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for her to wave good bye as I put in the ambulance. Late Saturday night is prime time for making money, yet she took off to make sure some goof ball was OK. It's one thing to be concerned, it is something else to do something about it. I'm a very lucky person to know somebody like her.
After getting my head x-rayed, and few further tests run I was given some medication: A ham sandwich from the break room snack machine. My blood sugar had fallen from lack of intake. After the being processed and released I noticed that one of the documents given was a one page sheet describing what had happen and recommended treatment. The recommended treatment? Eat regular meals. I'm an idiot and I've got the paper to prove it. But I'm a lucky idiot with some really good friends.