Saturday, 5 January 2013
As some folks know, I volunteer on the weekends. As I was leaving my volunteer location today I had a bit of excitement. You see, I volunteer at a seniors care facility. And a lot of the folks have various levels of dementia. Ergo some can't be allowed to wander off outside of the home as they may get lost or hurt. These folks wear a little device that will signal when they are near the automatic public doors, which are left unlocked for visitors, staff and volunteers. If a resident with said device gets too close, a wee alarm goes off and the doors won't open. The doors are the usual automatic ones like you would see at a store.
What can be amusing, or so I thought prior to today, is sometimes a resident will wander near the doors and boom, they lock and the person goes and takes a seat on one of the comfy chairs near the door. They seem not to notice as the alarm goes off. The doors remain locked and the alarm remains to go off until one of the staff comes down to fetch the resident and guide them back to one of the other areas. I have witnessed this, but on that day, I was trying to get in so was safely outside.
Today, as I am leaving, I get through one set of doors when I am stopped, in the vestibule between the doors, by a women who has never been there. She asks me where to go to find one of the residents. Hmm, there is no front desk staff on weekends, I say. I recommend she should find one of the nurses as I am just a volunteer and don't have access to information. She asks if I may know of the person. I say I might, what is their name?
At this point both doors on either side of the vestibule shut...and the alarm starts to go. Oh geez. The lady looks at me confused...what's happening?? Uh, well, we are locked in here. It's possible a resident is near the doors and they lock when they are. I start to look for a resident but see no one.
I see there is a punch code box, so I punch in the code. How happy am I that I asked what it was today as I had forgotten??!! Unfortunately nothing happens. Nuts. I try another code. Maybe I had forgotten it. By now the lady is asking me lots of questions. I am trying to get us out, not panic, and answer her questions.
Now it's not like there is any need to panic...but I can feel it slowly start to creep up within me. I do not like confined spaces. I don't care that both the doors and side panels are windows that I can see through. The doors won't open, which means that I am TRAPPED! TRAPPED I SAY!! I resist the urge to start pacing like a caged animal. The lady must have sensed my concern as she stopped talking.
Then I spot someone. It looks like someone who works here. Hello! I begin to mouth the words, HELP, but he doesn't make eye contact. And then he turns and walks the other way. I think to myself, What. The. Heck?! (Okay, it's possible I thought of a stronger word, but this is a family blog...)
Okay, breath, breath. I figure if need be I can just start knitting. I have my knitting here. I will just plunk my butt down on this hard cold floor and start to knit. I have 1/4 of a sock to do. That should keep my busy. Not to mention this will distract me enough to possibly quell my panic.
About this time a fellow arrives outside. "The doors are locked and we are stuck I say." I resist the urge to scream SAVE ME!!!! BREAK THESE DOORS DOWN FOR THE LOVE OF BUDDHA CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT!!
He is obviously new to this scene. He takes out some forms and looks through them. Then he tries a code. Nothing. He looks back at me helplessly. Eep. He doesn't have the code he says. He is sure it is this, and tries to enter the numbers, which are the same ones I enter.
Nuts. It's likely that we are entering the right code and the doors, for whatever reason, have generated a mind of their own and are refusing to open no matter what. I resist the urge of blaming the lady for getting us into this situation. Why oh why did I not talk to her while I was OUTSIDE the doors???
I then see the fellow that had come down the hall has come back and he's brought reinforcements. Hurrah!! You aren't a wanker after all!! The nurse tries the code. She tries again. Nothing. Nuts!!
I have now sent my guy a text. I am stuck between the doors at the home. I decide not to add that I am ready to have a spazz attack. At least I have contact with the outside world.
The folks inside leave. I assume they are a) either going to call the door people, or b) getting reinforcements or c) finding something we can pry the doors open with. They look like thick double paned glass so the likelihood of smashing through them is a no go, although at one point I did think of hurling my body at them. I also tried pushing REALLY hard to no avail.
While all this is going on I still have to intermittently explain to the lady trapped in there with me what is going on. I continue to focus on my Buddha breath.
Finally another lady comes down with the non wanker and the nurse. She punches in a code. Voila! The doors open!
I lunge outside and take deep breaths. Oh sweet beautiful rainforest air how I love you!! INHALE...EXHALE....
As I stand OUTSIDE the doors, I inform my fellow trappee that she should likely speak to one of the nurses who broke us out of our jail and they would help her find her friend or loved one.
Mental note, do NOT linger inside the door vestibule.
Oh, I should perhaps mention, ahem, that this likely took a total of five minutes of my life. It's amazing what being trapped for even a short amount of time can do to a persons ability to think rationally...
Peace out my lovelies...