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The paramedics didn’t seem engaged.
Narges said, “I told the police I could help. I said work with people who are marginalized. The police said sure, go ahead.
“I said, ‘Really?’
“They said, ‘No.’ ”
One of the paramedics pulled Narges aside and said, “If we give her a blanket, she’ll ask for something else.”
Narges does not suffer fools. “I said, ‘What else? A car? A plane?’ ” A blanket was produced.
“I said, “Give her a minute.’ The paramedic said no, and then she asked for my name — she was writing my name on her glove, as if she thought she was intimidating me. And she was misspelling my name. I corrected her spelling. I said ‘You’re not scaring me.’ ”
Let us review:
Let us move on:
“By now the woman was agitated again, she started taking off the blanket. She was back to where we started.
“The police asked me to help. I said, ‘I can only help if the paramedics step aside.’ ”
They stepped aside.
“I went to Christine. I said I was so sorry about the drink. I said what they did is not the way to treat a person. I asked what I could do.
“She wanted the blanket again. She was shivering. I covered her. She said she had pain in her chest, and her left leg. Her leg was asleep. I started giving her a massage.
But, Narges said, “The female officer was no better than the paramedics. There was no conversation, the way she sat, she was indifferent.”
Narges can’t abide indifference.
“In the emergency room, the female officer was giving orders to Christine. ‘Do this, or else.’ The way she said it was degrading. I wouldn’t talk to my child that way. I whispered to Christine, ‘Well, you wanted a female officer.’
“She smiled at me. I was stroking her hair. I asked when she last had a shower. She couldn’t remember. I said she should take one here.
Narges was not impressed.
“You start fresh every day.”
She bought Christine a hot lunch from the cafeteria, and Christine finished it all but she spilled some of her food. Now get this:
“The nurse told Christine she had to clean the floor.”
I am astonished.
Eventually, Christine said it would be okay if Narges went back to work, and Narges gave Christine her phone number.
I now leave it to you to parse this story for all the points of indifference and cruelty, of kindness and understanding. And I ask you to do one thing, no matter your profession, if your job is to help.
Start afresh every day.