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"A little bit of this, a little bit of that, enjoy your visit!"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The World At Large!

Okay, so I said I would do this topic on Tuesdays...and I have every intention of following up on this, but unfortunately today I had no time to peruse for a story to relate to you. After being up for some 24+ hrs. straight and experiencing some harrowing medical issues, I spent the better portion of my day in the local ER. I won't relate the outcome of this very personal visit, but instead, some musings of spending time in the Emergency Room.

Of course, when you just have to drag yourself to the ER, unless you are incapacitated completely, try to bring something to occupy your time such as a book, hand held video games (does anybody play with these things any more?), your cell phone, etc. In my case, I brought a book. This was pointless because at the time of my arrival to the ER, I had been running on no sleep since 6 a.m. the day before...therefore, the book was knocking me out (sad, because this is the final book in a wonderful series and I am anxious to finish it!).

I put the book back into my bag and decided to do my favorite thing when in public places; People Watch. Now you'll notice I didn't say "fun" thing to do. What fun is it studying sick, maimed or otherwise incapacitated people? But, it is interesting.

There was a woman there with her husband/boyfriend/brother/whatever male in her life, the poor woman was shaking like a leaf and looked like she was about to fall right out of the chair. I felt really bad watching her. Next, there was a scruffy looking gentleman who seemed okay, but complained quite a bit about the wait...um, you're in the Emergency Room sir, in case you haven't noticed, that's like being in the express register at the supermarket; it has the longest wait time. Then there was this group that came in; a couple of teenage-looking boys, a teenage girl and a Mom. One of the young gentlemen looked like hell. Now it wasn't the disheveled dread-locks down to his ass that made him look this way, in fact I found that feature intriguing. No, it was the look in this poor kids' eyes. He looked like he was suffering from a major headache and was about to pass out right there in the lobby.

The other teen boy looked just the opposite, he was a large young man, full of pep in his step, alert, energized. Both these boys were being checked in. What was the story here? The dread-lock young man struck me as a skate-boarder type (just my active imagination at work here, I have no idea if he even knows what a skate board is let alone use one). The other boy, although despite his size, also seemed to bring this vision to my imaginings. The girl looked like your everyday, teenage girl, stylish, up-to-date clothing (um, for the "alternative" look, that is. No, not the all black clothing, dark make-up, etc. I didn't say Gothic look), and the Mom looked like your everyday 40-something soccer Mom. I still don't know what the story was there, but I was intrigued by this group nonetheless.

Now, the last person I "kept my eye on" (and for good reason too), was a gentleman, roughly between 35-40 yrs old, looked like he might have just come from his job, clothes were very worn, wrinkled, almost shabby looking. He needed a shave. Anyway, this individual made me thankful he wasn't sitting next to me in the lobby. He just simply gave me the creeps! He kept getting up from his seat pacing clear across the lobby, down a short hallway where the restrooms were and then back again, only to repeat this same action over and over again.

He was breathing extremely heavily and loudly. Sighing heavily, as if he should have been seen the moment he entered the ER. After I was brought into a room for that long, interminably long wait to be seen in the room, I recognized this gentleman's labored breathing in another room very near mine. Now he was wailing; "help me!" I suppose he must have used some foul language because the doctor told him; "John, I told you once and I'm not going to tell you again, do not use that language here!" Woohoo for that brave doctor!

Anyway, after listening to the nurses (who talk a lot in the ER when they don't realize they're being overheard), I learned that this gentleman is/was a "user." Sad. He was claiming to have eaten some bad food, but the staff recognized every single sign in this man as a long-time cocaine/crack user. So much for my imaginings of possible lung disease from cigarette smoking, emphysema, or something equally sad, but, shall we say, normal? No, turns out it was nothing more than a user who had gotten "bad stuff" and having a reaction to it! And sadly as well by the sound of the staff's voices and the tone of the conversation, this too is all too common and becoming the "norm" in Emergency Rooms.

What was the point of this? Nothing more than to share with you my thoughts and musings of how I spent my day in the ER. And I guess this does relate to the topic of the day after all. It did happen outside of my home in a public place, so therefore it constitutes being part of the World At Large category. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you again soon!!
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