How can I feel in any way hopeful for a new year when I’m shredded to pieces a few hours before midnight. The night previous I went with my friend to the emergency room and marinated for 8 hours in God only knows what kind of pathogens during a pandemic. I foolishly believed this alone would give me a pass for whatever near future transgressions I would commit. I was wrong.
The nurse practitioner suggested something was elevated by 300 points, which could indicate congestive heart failure, but people have had readings in the hundreds of thousands. “Follow up with your primary,” said the NP, who was eager to go off duty. My friend wanted a covid test and the RN was pissed, so it seemed she used just a bit more vigor than necessary, as though she wished to hit my friend’s medulla. Some tech practically dug into her veins and didn’t get blood at first. It was a farce, the whole thing. And it didn’t help that my friend’s sunshine disposition was showing itself.
There was an old man with dementia who continuously made noises and she said in a jesting voice ( but not really) “can’t they give him something?”
The intake area was filled with all sorts of people young and old passing through. A psych patient kept asking everyone who passed by if they were a nurse. Some tersely said no, others completely ignored her. One tech took her purse and put it at the nurse station because she was afraid someone would steal her meds. When she finally got a nurse she begged to be put somewhere else because she was afraid to be out here with all these people. My own paranoia whipped up and I was afraid she was scared of me. She had changed seats, but during Covid that’s understandable. Finally someone came for her and they ushered her along as she told them she had talked suicide 30 times. “Tell the nurse,” the escort said.
Another fellow with an injured arm who could barely walk or hablarse íngles almost got served by a cop, but since he couldn’t understand, 5-0 went in search of his family.
A woman, likely a hoarder, had brought a bunch of stuff with her, and an EMT helped her carry it to a sitting area. The last I saw of her, she had commandeered a wheelchair and was arranging everything on it. I surreptitiously snapped a photo.
But to my sin. I asked my friend the next day if she got the results of the covid test. They were negative. We had hoped it would be positive, because the elevated fluid or whatever it is can be brought on by infection.
I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for the evening, and I was afraid if I didn’t ask her if she wanted to do something for New Years Eve that she’d be upset. So I asked her if she wanted to do something. I didn’t hear back, so I ordered a pizza.
And then it happened. As though I lit kerosene. ” The proper question would’ve been, how are you?”
The conversation followed a similar trajectory to the other times she’s been mad over me not doing something right. I lack empathy. That I’m missing a chip upstairs. Wait until I’m sick and it won’t be pretty.
I try to apologize, that I thought she only felt bad if she exerted herself. I wish I could convey how upset I was by what she was saying. I kept wishing I was dead intermingled with rage. I risked my health to be with her. Not many would. She knows I’m pretty sure my mom got the pneumonia that killed her in a hospital waiting room.
There were reminders of death as we waited. Two code Sepsis rang out, a protocol not started until almost a year after my mom’s death. I suppose Oscar probably heard his Code Sepsis over the intercom. We also heard two people code blue.
I’ve always hoped I’d be the first to go since I’m huge and not needed much. I don’t want to be alone again. Everyone leaves one way or another.