No, the chaos wasn't us at all, for a change. We got to the airport ahead of time, Kayenta in tow, had everything ready to go... someone in the next line over behind us fell to the floor in what appeared to be a heart attack. A couple of ladies tried to revive him, to no avail, and then began doing continuous compressions on him. I asked Arno if there was anything he could do, since he'd had CPR courses, and he said no, they were doing the more modern ones, and there were likely to be med staff on the scene soon enough (and there were, right about at that time), so the best thing for us to do was to not get in the way. The incoming med staff used a defibrilator on the man a couple times, but I couldn't tell if they were getting a heartbeat and breathing from him or not; by the time they cordoned off the area, I thought I saw him breathing, but coudln't say for sure.
Lucky for us, there wasn't anything else "exciting" about our trip. I can see where stress at the airport would trigger something like this, though.
So we came to the airport moderately on time, after my dad had missed the turn to the parking garage the first time. We wander around looking for the place to take our dog, and end up at a special counter, right next to the ordinary counters. Things got complicated there: Some Delta flights are operated by KLM, the Royal Dutch Airlines. We booked Delta flights, though, and told them we were bringing a dog. And yet, the only reference to this was in the KLM systems. Delta had no idea! It took some time for the lady to sort all that out, and while she was waiting on something - I forget what - she asked me to, in the mean time, lift the suitcases onto the belt. I lifted one of the suitcases over Kayenta's disassembled crates, with some difficulty, and suddenly there was a commotion.
At first I thought I was doing something wrong with my suitcase, but then someone cried "Help, help!", and I realised that despite my choice in girlfriend, I could not possibly be that disasterous. When I turned around I saw the body of a man lying on the floor diagonally behind us, some three or four meters away. His face was obscured; I never saw it, but Beedoo! tells me his eyes were rolled back. We think he was traveling alone, as no one around him seemed to be in a panic.
At that moment I knew a few things: firstly, years and years ago, I learned CPR. Secondly, I was not in a panic or nailed to the ground (surprisingly). I could do something! However, I very quickly concluded that the best thing I could actually do was to stay clear. My knowledge was old and rusty, and nowadays they have updated the CPR moves to something believed to be more effective. We were surrounded by many people, on a major European air transport hub, with its own emergency personel. The last thing he needed was someone like me leaping in and taking initiative away from people more skilled than me.
Very quickly two ladies started performing CPR on him (the new kind). If he survived and survived intact, it's probably because of them - much respect to them, therefore. I say if, because we don't know. As we stood there processing of passengers came to a halt as all the ladies behind the desks called the emergency services and then stared. They seemed quite taken aback, which surprised me as I figured these things surely happen more often at big airports. I felt a bit of a jerk for considering, after a while, that none of our staring was helping and the lines needed to keep moving if we wanted to get Kayenta checked in on time.
Eventually things got moving again. Emergency personel brought special screens so we could not see what was going on anymore (I mostly remember his wobbling pot belly as the ladies and later the emergency personel performed their CPR). The lady behind our desk finished our processing and brought us our tags and things for Kayenta's crate while we put it together. We spoke a bit with her. She said her brother died only last year because of a heart attack, but he was alone at night. So it was pretty personal for her. I told her what I've told everybody: if this man was going to have a heart attack, he picked the best place for it: a bright place filled with people and professionals.
After that, we went and had Kayenta taken care off. I accidentally screwed up and, after paying for her, took her to the wrong counter. This was nearly a disaster because this just happened to be the counter we would have had to go to eventually, the one where they take your dog away, AFTER all the correct paperwork was filled out. I caught it only as they were wheeling Kayenta away in her crate, and the man made a mention about the paperwork being in order... So off we went running to the other counter to have that taken care off, stress levels increasing as time started to run out. I blame the heart attack. It's easy to be distracted by a thing like that.
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