I had a serious bronchial infection that found me sitting in the Emergency Room for a total of -- I am NOT exaggerating -- 10 hours; seven in the waiting room and three in the actual Emergency Room. The reason we were made to wait the first seven hours was because none of my limbs were ripped off, dangling from their socket, and bleeding all over the carpet, and I wasn't carrying one of my eyes in an ice-filled plastic container. Therefore I was perceived as being in okay condition.
At the beginning of the wait I was interviewed by the Admittance Nurse whose insensitivity only served to contribute to the horror of the day.
Mighty Marc and I were seated at her desk, answering inane questions -- none of which pertained to where she thought my next breath might come from -- when she had the impertinence to ask, right in front of Mighty Marc, "How much do you weigh?"
"How much do you weigh?"
She must have been absent during sensitivity training classes because no woman would ever ask that question of another woman while her husband was seated along side her.
In all our years together I have never given Mighty Marc a number to attach to my weight. We both know that it is his responsibility to reassure me that it's not my fault that I am large boned which causes me to look a little heavier than I actually am. And it is my job to allow him to believe that malarkey.
I didn't know how to respond. Mighty Marc looked the other way and pretended he never heard the question. I grabbed a pen and a scrap of paper from the nurses desk, scribbled my weight and the word "Shhhhh," on it, then shoved it at her.
She nodded and nothing more was said.
The bronchial infection, combined with asthma, made breathing difficult. But, it mattered not that I was gasping and struggling for air. It mattered not that the color in my face had turned cyanide blue, or that I crawled to the desk every hour explaining my growing distress and my sincere belief that I was running out of air and time.
Finally, I was told, "In the future, if you want immediate care, you should make a point of showing up in an ambulance. It's the only way to get prompt attention."
"But," she added, "never on Sunday. We're always short-handed on Sundays."
"I'll see what I can do about planning my emergencies in the future."
After a full seven hours my name was called. I was ushered into the sacred inner Emergency Room, directed to a cubical, and told to lie down on the bed. It felt good to be lying down -- at first. But after three full hours had passed without a sign of a doctor, the bed began to feel like a cold cement block and had my back, hips and shoulders rebelling.
Eventually a doctor appeared, cared for me and, within five minutes, sent me on my way.
When I returned home, I sent an e-mail out to family and friends, conveying my Emergency Room experience, and telling them the importance of planning their next medical emergency for a day other than a Sunday. Below are the six rules I suggested:
1. Even though Sunday is, officially, Honey-Do day, stay away from all tools on that day; especially power tools.
2. Arrange for your cold to escalate to pneumonia on a day when Emergency Room doctors aren't out on the Links.
3. It's Sunday, and you feel a heart attack or a gall bladder attack coming on? Stop! Wait! Surely you can hold off another 24 hours.
4. Junior was playing with your electric staple gun and accidentally shot you in the eye? Tough it out. Use your other eye. It's the reason God gave you two.
5. You discovered popcorn stuck up your toddler's nose and you can't retrieve it because it's attached itself to his nose hairs? Leave it alone. It's already been there a week. The only reason you have chosen to do something about it now is because you noticed a rancid smell coming from the child's face. Just remember that if you want the popcorn removed before his tenth birthday, take him to the hospital on a week day, and in an ambulance.
6. No matter how sick you are, do not allow your husband to check in with you at the Admittance Desk. Park him in the Waiting Room with a can of Mace that he's prepared to use on anyone who attempts to take the only available seat, which he's been saving for you. While he's protecting your seat you can deal with the insensitive bitch at the Admittance Desk.