We had a scary situation this morning at work. One of my co-workers is a cantankerous curmudgeon like me, but he's been doing it for far longer. I'm not sure exactly how much longer, but I know that he has great-grandchildren. Here in Florida, that's Wal-Mart greeter age territory, but the U.S.P.S. pays much better.
Anyway, he stopped off at my machine right before lunch time and we shot the breeze about the upcoming Crusades movie epic "Kingdom of Heaven," the Crusades in general and Monty Python. He told me an interesting story about one battle in the Crusades where things didn't quite go according to plan because the Muslims rode mares while the Crusaders rode stallions, with predictable results when the stallions caught a whiff of those mares which happened to be in heat. We had a good laugh about that.
When I was going on my last break a couple of hours later, I heard that he had choked on some food just a few minutes earlier. One of the women in the cafeteria did the Heimlich maneuver on him and dislodged whatever he was choking on, but then he started coughing up blood. They quickly called for EMS. I went in and saw that my friend was sitting there with a big trash can in front of him, pale-faced, while one of the women held a cold compress on his shoulders.
"If I die, [his ne'er-do-well son] gets nothing!" he said. "You're all witnesses!" We all laughed. That right there told us that he probably was going to be okay.
"Hang in there," I told him. "I would ask how you're doing, but I don't think that's necessary." He kind of chuckled at that. Someone else joked that he sure seemed to be going to extremes to get some time off.
The EMTs from the fire department showed up a few minutes later and started checking his vital signs. My break was over, so I had to leave. He's a tough old bird, even if he is no spring chicken, so I think he'll be alright. I don't expect to see him at work tonight, though.