Chinese Stories in English
Heart of Liuzhou
An old man had an apparent heart attack this morning on a bus I was riding. I heard the people in the back of the bus yelling at the driver, and when I turned to look, I saw the old guy spread-eagled on the floor.
Fortunately we were only three bus stops from a hospital. The driver headed straight for it, without stopping at the intervening stops, weaving quickly and expertly through the traffic. One of the passengers phoned ahead to the hospital and when the bus arrived, three paramedics with a stretcher were standing there waiting.
The whole incident, from the time people started shouting until the old fellow was being wheeled into the emergency room, took no more than five minutes. The driver then collected the phone numbers of three or four passengers. I think she wanted witnesses to explain to her boss why she had sped by the people waiting at those bus stops, in case someone called in to complain.
I stopped by the hospital a few hours later. The man had been admitted for testing. He was conscious and feeling OK, but the doctors were unwilling to make a prognosis until the tests came back.
You may have noticed I'm no longer calling the man an "old guy". Turns out he's exactly the same age as me -- and a lot thinner.
As an aging FFG living here in Liuzhou, I'm greatly comforted by the caring and efficient way the locals reacted to this crisis.
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