‘God, I hope she doesn’t shit on me.’
That was the stray thought that flitted through my mind like an alley cat as I held Calva’s head off of the tiled floor.
I was the first to see her eyes roll and her face contort into the ghoulish carnival mask that foretold of the oncoming seizure – facial muscles jerking, mouth sucking at the air like a fish out of water – but a blockade of chairs and anxious lookers-on prevented me from being swift enough to stop her head from slamming onto the cheap tile floor with a crack that echoed through the room.
It was by luck of the draw that Nancy – another Worker’s girlfriend who was an RN – was visiting at that time, and that she was the first to Calva’s side. I hovered dumbly over the both of them, never having seen someone seize before I had no idea what to do.
“Go get something to cover her bottom half,” Nancy’s voice snapped me out of my useless fretting, and gave me a task to focus on. Calva had been wearing a dress, and was now familiarizing half of the shelter with the exact shape and texture of her genitals.
“Now what?” I asked once I ended the peep show.
“There’s really nothing you can do for someone having a seizure. You just turn them on their side and let them go,” she replied with a glance to her watch.
I held Calva’s head in my hands, her course buzz cut tickling my palms as I willed my comfort into her flesh. The seconds crept into minutes as her body continued to jolt until, bit by bit, her body relaxed and her breathing became steady.
Of course that’s when the ambulance came.
The slamming of the stretcher caused Calva’s eyes to snap open, and whip wildly around the room.
“It’s ok,you’re at the shelter,” I cooed as they roughly hoisted her body on to the stretcher.
“I’m clean! I’ve been clean for years! Don’t let them put my in jail!”
“Calva… CALVA!! You’re not going to jail – you’re going to the hospital, you had a seizure.”
“Shit, that’s all? Well, let’s go!”