How staff supported me during a hospital visit

Andrew Katz relaxes with friends six days after his trip to the emergency room. Left to right: Farrah Anderson, Jenna Anderson, Katz, Ava Rotondo and Joseph Ramos. Photo by Joseph Ramos

I strolled into Fisk for a morning lecture on editorial writing, thinking it would just be another day at cherubs.

I pulled out my granola bar because, like most days, I slept through breakfast. I finished it and began to take notes.

Fifteen minutes later, I woke up in an ambulance and threw up. The next thing I remember, I was in a hospital bed. I noticed instructor Joe Grimm and community associate Emma Edmund standing in the corner of the room waiting for me.

“What happened?” I said.

Grimm and Edmund told me I had a seizure in class. They tried to make conversation, but my head was full of questions. I had never had a seizure and had never thought about an emergency away from home.

My teenage instincts kicked in, and I searched for my phone. I spotted it on a table, and I had dozens of texts and snapchats from my family and fellow cherubs. The cherub group chat was flooded with people asking if I was all right. When I responded, everyone sent “glad to hear you’re OK!” and heart emojis. I felt like I was at home.

My instructor, Ava Greenwell, called me. She had been sitting three rows behind me in the classroom. When I slumped over, grunted and began to shake, she came to my side. When I didn’t respond, she alerted the rest of the staff to assist in the emergency.

As cherubs do, I asked Greenwell what I missed so I could catch up. She told me not to worry about any of my assignments until I was OK and back at East Fairchild. She gave me an extension on my feature story and couldn’t have been more helpful.

The program assistant, Marjorie Geraci, came to sit by my side as I went through CAT scans and MRIs. When we arrived at East Fairchild in an Uber, I saw head instructor Mary Lou Song and community associate Eli Karp waiting for me.

“Can I have a hug?” Song said.

That made my day. When I returned at check-in, everyone cheered. It was difficult to navigate through the crowd of hugs that awaited me.

My friends made sure I was OK and treated me like nothing had changed. It was like I had never left. If I had to have a seizure (and I hope it will be a one-time experience), I am so fortunate I had it at cherubs.