Yet another post written from the emergency room (ER). Dad pulled his PEG tube out in his sleep last night, so now we’re at the ER hoping that they’ll be able to put it back in. This dementia stuff is for the birds. (Poor birds, you know I don’t really want you flying around all dizzy, right?)
This past week was pretty boring, hence the radio silence. I spent 40 hours of it working on a really neat project-that-shall-not-be-
All I’ve got for you are ER observations. Yes, I am sitting here silently judging everyone else in the waiting room. The next time you’re in a waiting room try not to think about the quiet girl in the corner furiously typing on her smartphone. She must be text messaging her friends, not writing a wall of text depicting your every move and then publishing it on the internet. No, that would never happen.
Fascinating creatures, humans are. When one is left waiting in a waiting room with nothing else to do but observe other humans, one notices things that one would otherwise not notice or care about.
For example, there’s a TV on. It’s showing a somewhat educational show about sea lions. No one’s watching it. A woman with a baby in a stroller is occupying the seat across from me. She asked the security guard to turn the volume down, which he did. As an advocate of TV-less living, I was grateful, but I also wondered what about sea lions was so disturbing to her—particularly when she promptly whipped out her iPad and held it up 10 inches from the face of her 6-month old baby. Cartoons. If you’re going to use videos as a babysitter why not just park the stroller in front of the sea lion show? How are cartoons of characters hitting each other on the head better than wildlife? I don’t know, I don’t get it.
The man sitting behind me reeks of pot.
Several people have walked in to the ER toting their stuff in rolling baskets and carry-on type suitcases. They’re apparently expecting to be here for a while and have planned accordingly, although on the surface there appears to be nothing wrong with them.
A crazy lady is walking around making the employees’ lives hell. She claimed she was pregnant, but that for some reason it wouldn’t show up on a pregnancy test. She was asked if she did any drugs, to which she firmly replied, “NO.” And then she added, “Not always.” Turns out she’s a methadone user. She just made a follow-up appointment … with the security guard. And she demanded a prescription for eyeglasses even though she had 20/20 vision. She walked away with a prescription for ibuprofen.
One guy who looks totally normal (except that he’s only wearing a t-shirt and pajama pants despite it being 40 degrees out) was filling out his ER paperwork. He suddenly looked up and asked a homeless lady across the room, “Excuse me, do you know what year it is?” The homeless lady shot him a WTF is wrong with you? look and informed him that the year is 2014. He now cannot sit still. He paces around and tries to strike up conversations. He hasn’t approached me yet as I look busy typing this on my phone. God, I hope my phone battery doesn’t die.
The baby (with the strange mom who doesn’t like sea lions) is learning about gravity while teaching his mom to fetch by throwing his bottle overboard over and over again. My dog does this.
A lady was seen by the ER doctors. She was discharged with her arm in a sling. She proceeded to sit down in the waiting room, take off the sling, put on her jacket, and rearrange her belongings–all with apparent ease and the full use of her arm. She put the sling back on and walked out.
It’s been a few hours. A lady has been napping in the corner, and she hasn’t moved at all despite the noise. She’s surrounded by empty food containers. I’m pretty sure she was here and sitting in exact same spot the last time we brought Dad to the ER two months ago.
A man walked in with some kind of genital-related complaint. He said he took medication for his prostate. The nurse looked at his medication and asked, “Are you sure you aren’t taking this to help you get an erection?”
“Nope, it’s for my prostate.”
“Uh huh,” the nurse did her best to not let on that she was onto him. He hobbled back to his seat, crouched over in discomfort.
If one ever wanted to feel normal and well-adjusted all one would ever have to do is spend a few hours in an ER waiting room. Someone will eventually come in that makes you go Wow, I’m way better off than that guy. And don’t get me wrong—I’m not really judging these people. I know everyone is doing the best they can, and if life dealt me the same hand as they, I’d probably be in the same boat, or worse. You never know what strange sequence of events leads people to live the lives that they do. Some wind up homeless, some wind up—gasp!—living in vans. All I know is, the next time I have to accompany my dad to the ER, I’m bringing a book.