Heather Theresa Frances                                                                                              about 700 words


                                                                          Emergency Room


I really did not want to go to Emergency—again. I went there a lot in the later of my eighty
years. It always ended with me being interrogated by the fourth and over 40, on-call doctor, set on
discrediting my story of pain, passing out, severe stress, tachycardia and fearing death, heart attack or stroke. All capable of leaving me alive, like a vegetable, a fate worse than death—to my thinking.


There was nothing funny about the turn of events. Well, looking back, the goings on were kinda
funny: neighbors gawked as two paramedics carted me out on a stretcher in the upright position that I insisted on, so that I could see the busy-bodies and return their stares forcing them to look away, while I struggled to look appropriately alright—under the dire circumstances.


Before the paramedics and I left my apartment I did assert that, since my vital signs showed I
was coming-down from the frightening heart rate, head rush and pseudo paralyzed everything, I would most likely be okay; I didn’t need to go to any ER. But, the fellas insisted on me getting checked out, saying that, it’s better to be safe than sorry; they’ll do a brain scan—most likely. And so I relented, feeling that I must help them make this visit worthy of their time, and not be selfish, nor have anyone thinking that I merely wanted young male attention—again.


In the ambulance I took the oxygen but not the nitro pill. My labored breathing had improved
and feeling stronger, I insisted on walking from the ambulance into the county hospital ER. After
check-in and triage, with the paramedics beside me, securing a blanket around me, I settled myself
among the social distancing crowd. In the small waiting room the chairs were formed like benches; facing each other. The TV was out of sight for some. How stupid I thought, why not make the patients a bit more comfortable and arrange those stupid chairs so that they’re facing the TV? Wonders never cease. I did have a slim side view, of a talking head without sound, woo-hoo!

 

My rising agitation was interrupted when in-walked a twenty something African American
couple. Well, she was brown, perhaps Filipino ancestry. They were beautiful and exuded competence. 
My woe-is-me attitude changed. They were each carting small rolling suitcases and seemed in an unusually light mood for ER visitors. I was overcome with wonderment about what their problem could, possibly, be? After a brief check-in with the receiving committee, behind the glassed-off section, adjacent to the where magic awaits glass door, they took seats facing me.


An empty row of the bench-like attached chairs divided us; they were in my vision—perfectly.
I didn’t want to stare but it was hard not to. And so I did, the whole time. They weren’t aware, not at
all. They were a joy to watch, so engaged in obviously familiar surroundings. Without conversation,
in unison, they each reached into their parked suitcases and pulled out a laptop, a goodie bag with food, a tall cylinder shaped thermos and a notebook or magazine thingy. Oh, my goodness! It’s like they’re on a picnic! What are they doing?


They entertained me! Much more than any ole television; their antics were never before seen,
in a waiting room—I reasoned. I wasn’t pleased when I heard my name called and a nurse with a
wheelchair ushered me into an examining room behind the glass door.


I hadn't watched anything other than the couple being so into each other, in that waiting room.
My mood had lightened, my episode, panic attack or whatever the heck it was, had gone—without me noticing. I saw them dive into their laptops and I could tell that they were communicating with each other as they typed and chuckled. They are pros I thought; they’ve been through this waiting room situation many times before. At some point, in unison, they turned their attention onto the food and drink saying little—but energetically doing; like dancing. Back on their computers, they continued their laughing, making compatible sounds, writing notes in their books. I was jealous! I will copy them! They had figured out how to defeat the waiting room heebie-jeebies.


By now, I was not, at all, looking nor acting like a sick woman; after all, who could maintain the
effects from an anxiety induced assault with those two carrying on? And so, I was cleared to leave and find my way home; without shoes—again.