…and some more chilling in the ER


I read my magazines and Angus read his book. Occasionally we would look up to watch the goings on in the ER waiting room. At one point a very anxious elderly woman with two middle aged men arrived and were ushered into the ER. I figured it was probably the family of the patient who arrived by ambulance.

As the night progressed the young couple left with their sleepy baby, the intoxicated gentleman was reunited with his buddy who was sporting a swollen face and tape over his nose, the woman with the tea towel bandage left with several stitches to her thumb, and the exhausted mother left carrying her child who was asleep on her shoulder. The place was clearing out.

I had guessed ear infection; bar fight; knife slipped while preparing dinner; foreign body to the nose. Angus speculated diarrhea; hockey fight; power tool injury; concussion. We would never know.

It was well after midnight when Dr. Holmes came out to the waiting room and sat down in the chair across from us. He leaned on his forearms and clapped his hands together.

“So….we have Ted on the surgical schedule for 8 AM tomorrow. It is most likely appendicitis.” Dr. Holmes nodded and looked at Angus and myself. 

“No! Way!” I said with complete shock, my eyebrows raised and my mouth hanging open. Angus leaned over and shut my mouth closed. I turned to Angus and laughed. “I can’t believe it. I thought maybe I was overreacting!”

“Nope. No overreacting, Anne.” Dr. Holmes said kindly. “We are going to get Ted into a room for the night. We have tried to contact his parents but they are still unreachable, so we got a hold of Ted’s aunt. She is driving up from the city and should arrive just prior to surgery so we can get consent from her.”

“OK so we can go then?” I asked. 

“After you visit Ted. He wanted to see you both before you went back to camp.”

Angus and I followed Dr. Holmes through the double doors. The ER department had about ten rooms. Dr. Holmes took us over to the third curtain and pulled it back. Ted was sleeping peacefully on the gurney.

“Got some visitors for you here, Ted!” Dr. Holmes said as he gently shook Ted’s shoulder to wake him. Ted stirred and opened his eyes and rubbed them. His pupils were tiny likely from the pain meds. Dr. Holmes left us to visit.

“Oh hey guys. Thanks so much for bringing me to the hospital. I am so sorry to ruin your evening.” We brushed off his apologies. “I fell asleep after they gave me some pain medicine. I’m so tired. It’s been a crazy evening in here.”

“I bet it has!” Angus responded. 

“For sure dude. There was an old guy that they put a tube down his throat and then rolled him up to the intensive care. There was one seriously drunk dude who had gotten his nose busted when he tripped and fell on his face. There was a crying kid who had fallen out of her high chair. Let’s see…there was a baby a urinary tract infection…” Ted was counting them off on his fingers. 

“What about the thumb lady? Was it a power tool injury?” Angus asked curiously.

“Oh no.” Ted shook his head. “She sliced the top of her finger off when she was slicing onions for her roast beef dinner.” Ted answered.

“HA! Anne: one. Angus: nothing!” I said and pointed at Angus. He pouted. 

“How is it that you know all of this?” Angus asked.

“Well it’s kinda weird. I mean, they close the curtains to the rooms for privacy and everything but, dude, it’s not like I can’t hear everything that they are saying!”

I had to laugh! It was so true.


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