My Day Off

Yesterday, whilst the Gear-Up kids went to a waterpark, I was to have a day of vacation. The night before, my roommate asked me “So, what do you have planned for tomorrow?” I told her, in a rare fit of sagacity, “Well, there are a ton of things that I could be doing, but if I make any plans, I’m just going to be depressed that I didn’t get them done.”

Plan-less and stress free, I went to bed.

When Cervantes woke me up at 9:12 wanting to be fed, I obligingly got out of bed to pour some nuggets into his kitty bowl. However, as I rolled out of bed, I realized that I couldn’t move my neck without getting these weird, jarring pains. Managed to feed the cat, and as I was walking back to my room to lie down, bam. Out cold on the floor. I still have a lump on my head and elbow. Damn those tile floors.

Figured it probably wouldn’t do to lie around on the floor all day, so when I woke up, I crawled back to bed and slept for another 6 hours. When people started to call me, I realized that I was going to have to do something about this bizarre phenomenon. Mary drove me over to Mt. Sinai’s ER, where they whisked me through triage and stuck me in bed 5.

I’ve been in an ER before, for lame ankle sprains, but not a whole lot happens in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. As nurses, residents, doctors-in-training, and paramedics swirled around me, I continued in my dazed state and did what they told me. Then, all of a sudden my only duty was waiting for head x-rays, so I settled my stiff neck into the bed and took in the drama of the ER.

In some bizarre fashion, it reminded me a lot of the eponymous television show: personalities begin to emerge, the same stock phrases get thrown around, and then comes “the call.” Drowning victim from Miami Beach, on his way with paramedics. People started moving a little quicker, got out the crash cart and cleaned up ‘room’ 4, right next to me. When the ambulance pulled up to the swinging doors, the news crews were right behind them, flashing cameras and asking questions. What a strange society we live in, where freak accidents are ‘newsworthy’ and people’s private injuries make the press. Outside, the press team accosted the hospital PR squad, while inside in curtain 4, the anonymous 23 year old swimmer’s heart stopped working. There was little yelling, none of the dramatic scenes from television, just a bunch of people trying very hard to do their best job. Eventually, there were less and less doctors in the stall next to me, and then finally the lights went out. It was over.

Thursday in the Miami Beach ER was far from over, for patient 5 (that’s me) and others. Next on the list was what the staff called an “irrational.” No, not a fraction, but a woman with a drug overdose kicking and screaming. Meanwhile, I’ve had some morphine and valium to make me ever so alert and coherent. Three hours after I arrived in the ER, I finally got my x-rays, then an hour later I was ready to go home.

Apparently, the chief resident believes “in holistic medicine. All these pills aren’t going to make you better…[she taps my temple] *YOU’RE* going to make yourself better.” Well, lady, that’s nice, but the morphine’s wearing off again and I still can’t move my neck. So she wrote me a prescription for some hard-core muscle relaxants for my apparently routine neck spasms. When they say that “people come in all the time” with this, I’d really like to know what “all the time” is. Every week? Every month?

Feeling not much better physically, and not a bit dazed, Mary and Dave arrived in a much welcome chariot to shuffle me off home at 7:45 pm, four hours after my arrival. Damn. I guess it’s really a good thing that I didn’t make any plans for yesterday. And hey, I even got a doctor’s note to stay home from work today =). Maybe by Saturday, I’ll be able to turn my head to the left.

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