Friday Night in the ER

Across the hall, the woman laying in hospital gown is holding an ice pack on the right side of her face. She’s talking to someone just out of sight in the room with her, and now she’s gesturing with both hands, trying to explain what happened. Each hand is one of the cars, and in the midst of the gesture, they hit, T-bone style. Looks like she’ll be OK. She seems stoically calm.

Next room things aren’t so sanguine. Another car accident. The woman who was driving, maybe the mom, maybe not quite old enough, is also holding ice to her face. She’s standing. She’s not the patient. She tries to explain to the other people there how the accident happened, and she breaks down. She thought he’d stopped in front of her, but then he didn’t stop….

People come and go, until the nurse has to come in and tell them there’s a limit of two people plus the patient in the room. “They’re just too small,” she says. We look around our room, do a quick count, figure out who should leave when she comes in to tell us the same thing, but she never does.

After a while, they say they want to take her (we still haven’t seen “her”, the patient across the hall) to x-ray to see if any of the bones around her eye are broken. They wheel her out, sitting in a tipped up wheeled hospital bed, and it’s a teenage girl. Her face is all bloody, and she’s scared. “Daddy, come with me,” she says, and her Dad tries to find a way to walk alongside the rolling bed, but there’s no room, he’s got to be either in front or in back, and the struggle to figure out how to stay close to his daughter seems too much for me to bear.

As for us, Dad’s OK. The chest pains that brought him (and us) to the ER on a Friday night were not a heart attack, and they couldn’t find anything else wrong. He’s gotta go back in first of the week for more tests, but our little drama seems so manageable in comparison. He’s home taking it easy, I took Lissa and Nora out for ice cream, and the people across the hall are probably all still there.