Not sure what this was...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I went to the grocery today to pick up some shrimp and polenta for a new recipe for tonight's dinner. I go straight to the seafood counter and realized that the store manager was on his cell phone right next to me. (Do you all have bottle recycling? Here we recycle bottles and cans at the store for a deposit. There's little back rooms with bottle and can sorting/crushing machines that give you a receipt which you take to the cashier to get your deposit back.)

    Anyway, as I'm ordering and waiting for my shrimp, I realize that the manager is talking to 911. He's asking for an EMS unit to the store right now. He says a woman has fallen. She might have hit her head. She's unconscious. He gives direction to the bottle room, which is right back next to the seafood counter. He says maybe she hit her head, but he doesn't know what has happened.

    I figure it's best to stay out of the way, and head right towards the produce. The plastic type door to the bottle room is propped open. I get my produce and head back for polenta, passing the bottle room. I'm squeamish, so I only glance. I can see someone doing CPR on an unseeable someone who is on the floor. No one is really noticing. It's probably been about 4 - 5 minutes since the call to 911 was made. A customer says "I tried to catch her, but she just went down." A meatcutter tells him "All you can do is hope for the best now."

    I get my polenta, circle back to the front to get canned tomatoes and come back towards the bottle room towards the bakery. There's a small crowd of gawkers watching because the paramedics have arrived. I can see the flashing lights from the front of the store. I can't get past the gawkers and am determined to just get past without looking. I keep moving slow but sure, saying "excuse me" to push past and to maybe knock them out of their stupor. It's probably about 10 minutes now, maybe 15. And then that thing happens where you can't help yourself. I look.

    I can't believe that the door to the bottle room is open, but it's small and the gurney won't fit in there with everyone. She's blue. She's my age, she's on the floor, and she's blue. There's not a lot of talk, not a lot of activity, just a blue woman on the filthy floor with some paramedics quietly on their knees and people standing around gawking. (by the way folks, if you ever have your kids in a public place and this happens, in my humble opinion you should move on. Just sayin'...)

    I grab my bread and head to the front of the store to check out. There are long lines. No one can find a manager to answer a question. (Ya think?) There isn't anyone from the produce section (the other side of the bottle room) to answer the call for more cashiers. Two other cashiers - clearly unaware of what is going on - are talking as one checks the other out, and the one in line says "When that day comes you better just take me out 'cuz I don't want to go there." Lots of people - like them - are oblivious. I'm stunned. Literally. I've got nothing to say about it to anyone.

    It's been 20 - 25 minutes easily since I first saw the call for help and they haven't brought this woman out of the bottle room. Clearly she didn't fall and hit her head. Part of me is in denial but it seems obvious - and unthinkable - that this woman just plain dropped dead at the grocery store.

    Someone please explain this to me. I've never seen that before. I mean, I've seen dead people after they've been made up, but I've never seen someone blue before. I've seen people pass out from illness before, but not blue. Am I stupid? Am I over-reacting? Was she dead? This is a big town and it will be hard to find an obit unless I scour them and I don't take the paper. This is a big retailer and I'm sure that they will tell their employees to keep mum. I'm kind of upset. But detached. Some of you nurses or medical professionals, can you tell me if I am over-reading into this? I know death happens every day, and that it happens to all of us, but this was shocking.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    That sounds very disturbing. I have watched 5 people die of natural causes. None of them turned blue. In fact, it was very peaceful and quiet. Still, it is something you never quite get over when it's expected. I can't imagine going to the grocery store and seeing this scene.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Asphyxiation. Just sayin'. Lack of oxygen causes a person to turn blue......Well, ok, blue enough you're going to notice it from a distance anyway.

    I've seen 2 heart attacks, maybe only spotted blueish tinge around the lips, eyes.......maybe nail beds. But no, not completely blue.

    Been with many patients when they passed. Cleaned up many a corpse for family members to view right after death before they transport to the funeral home. Heck, taken many a dead body to morgue for that matter. Never saw more than that blueish tinge I mentioned before and many times not that, heck most times not that.

    The only time I have ever seen someone completely blue is from asphyxiation. Choking isn't the only cause either.

    I don't understand the whole gawk at the scene of an accident/trauma thing myself. I might stop (ok so there is no might about that) to see if there is something I can do to assist........but if there isn't, I'm not likely to hang around. First not really my business. Second, heck you just get in the way. And my kids most certainly would not be watching such a scene!

    Wow. Poor woman. :(
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Aortic or brain aneurysm perhaps?

    Sending {{{hugs}}} to you and saying prayers for this poor women and her family.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It could have been a blood clot and probably she was dead. It would have been no one's fault. I've had a few doctors tell me that middle-aged and older women can get clots in their legs, unknowingly, and they can move to their heart and kill them within minutes. It's frightening and it would be difficult for any "normal" caring person to witness it, I would think. It's definitely a reminder of our moratilty.

    But that doesn't mean this is what happened in this case. I'm not sure there is a way you can find out for sure- either watch the news or go back to the store and "innocently" mention something about it to the person who made the call and see what they say and how they react.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking maybe choking, too. Or anaphylactic shock. (Next to the fresh seafood section...) No oxygen for some reason. But doesn't everyone go without oxygen when they die, and does everyone turn blue? Or is it because unoxygenated blood is flowing?

    I've seen people very pale, but not blue. I assume that much time without oxygen would be difficult to overcome even if you could get the heart going again.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    klmno, I think that is very scary to me. I have a condition called "Factor V Leiden", as does L. It causes my blood to inexplicably clot. I had a clot in my left lung when I was 32. I know I'm living dangerously, but I don't take any coumadin or anything. I do take aspirin and other natural herbs that naturally thin my blood now. I'm still thumbing my nose at mortality, but it gets harder as I get older. It gets way harder when I see things like this.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Sorry witz I'm exhausted and I didn't connect that. But you may have hit the nail on the head. With anaphylactic shock you can and do turn blue like that.........and as you said, she was near the sea food, although it could've been a reaction to something else.

    You can go about 10 mins without oxygen before the brain begins to die. CPR wouldn't have done anything because the air they were attempting to breathe into her couldn't get thru the swollen and constricted airways. Paramedics carry epi pens but I don't know their protocol for using them, and it sounds like it may have been too late by the time they arrived.

    But I know the 3 times Nichole went into anaphyactic shock she was blue.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Facing mortality scares me to no end. My father died when I was 5yo, I had a great step-father who died when I was 16yo, out of the 3 other people I went to the high school prom with (we double-dated) I'm the only one still living- (1 died in 20's, another in 30's and my X in his early 40's), and it's not even me I worry so much about- it's difficult child. Admittedly though, I would like to live to see him stable and with a future and hold a grandbaby and know that he won't be alone in this world once I'm gone.

    It is very frightening- the mortality is bad enough but to face that any of us could go at any minute, with no time to say goodbye or even have final thoughts/prayers is too much to deal with if dwelt on.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm not well-versed enough in this to really comment on your last post Witz, but I can see that it would be even more of a factor if you had a clot so young. I'm glad you made it though.
  11. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Dead and dieing people do turn blue--it's called cyanosis and comes from lack of blood flow/oxygen to the tissues.

    My late husband had severe respiratory difficulties from the blood disorder that finally killed him. His lips, nails, gums, etc., went cyanotic and his skin went greyish when he was in trouble.

    I was with him when he died and watched the cyanosis spread as his body shut down. The mucus membranes went a deep purple and his skin turned greyish blue.

    Also, if you have the worst type of fish/shellfish allergy, even smelling them can bring on anaphylactic shock. (remember that odors are actually molecules of whatever you are smelling).

    Brings back sad and unpleasant memories, but yeah, I've seen it happen.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I hadn't even considered it being airborne. Thank you, GN for sharing. I'm really sorry about bringing up sad memories for you.
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    How horrible! Poor woman :(
  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    It's OK, Witz. It's my PTSD and something I have to deal with. I still can't bear to watch TV shows where they show someone on a ventilator.

    Rationally I know it's all make-believe, but it still bothers me.

    It could have been cardiac sudden death, where the heart suddenly loses the ability to beat normally. Basically the person just keels over. It also could have been anaphylactic shock.

    We hear all the time about children who react to peanut molecules in the air in classrooms and the like. It can happen with other very severe allergies as well.
  15. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    It's difficult and powerful to see life having left the body. Hugs.
    The body becomes waxy and yellowish(the skin) to greyish because the heart ceases to pump.
    Blue tends to be with the supply of oxygen is not getting to those blood vessels around lips and nail beds. I can't say I have seen anyone who is blue all over but I haven't been involved with death due to allergic reaction or obstructed airway. Almost all the deaths I have been witness to are from heart stoppage due to illness or injury.

    I couldn't even begin to tell you what happened to this woman but if CPR is being administered, her heart stopped. It could be from massive heart attack, stroke, aortic or cerebral aneurysm- who knows. I'm sorry she had to
    have an audience while laying on a dirty floor. It's not the dignity most of us hope for at the end.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I'm sorry you had to see what you did, but I'm in the same group as you. A? I'm not a doctor, nurse or paramedic - MOVE gawking and let someone do their work unless you're giving comfort. B? If it were someone in your family (and it has been in mine several times) the gawkers make me NUTS because the people who CAN do something and NEED to get through have to waste valuable time begging for GAWKERS to move so they can get to the person who needs aid. Few things irritate me more than gawkers, rubberneckers and crowds that gather who can do nothing but block production. Nine auto-crashes personally? I know a little about gawkers...GO HOME.

    As far as blood clots? My oldest son Kary died from an injury he sustained riding a bull (with vest) caused a blood clot to form in his lungs. They put him on Coumidin. When the clot broke, it left his lung and traveled to his brain, burst and there was blood everywhere. He turned blue and gray from lack of oxygen and literally drown in his own blood. I think the term is rails. (not sure, don't remember) The EMT's revived him, took him to the ICU and kept him alive for 4 days on machines.

    I think a part of him was semi-conscience; but had he lived it was more than likely he would not have had a good quality of life. His brain was deprived oxygen too long and doctors didn't give us much hope. We took him off the machines and he slipped away after a brief struggle. I now have a DNR in place for myself for such instances. No one in your family should ever have to make those kinds of decisions about YOUR life. The ICU staff put us through hell on earth about - he's awake, no it's just nerves, go home, come back now...too much.

    Today is the one year anniversary of burying Steven. Kary has been gone over 11 years. Death isn't something anyone likes to deal with, but it's a part of life that no one can escape. While this is probably a difficult post for some, it's a good reminder to get your house in order. You just never know - just like your lady in the grocery. I'm sorry for her family.

    Hope you're okay too.

  17. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Star, one of the things I am eternally grateful for is that husband actually rallied enough to come off the respirator for a day and a half. During that time, he was lucid and able to give directions.

    When his lungs started to fail again, he was the one who said, "I'm done. I can't fight any more. I don't want the ventilator."