I think the last time I was in the ER before last night was when I volunteered to be an “actor” in one of those Disaster Day events in my high school. You know, where you pretend you’ve been in a bus crash and the local first-responders test themselves and make sure they’re adequately equipped and have proper plans in case of disaster? I was chosen to be the one with a piece of window glass lodged in my forearm. Fake glass, of course. And my grandmother was volunteering at the hospital I ended up at. I guess the point I’m trying to make is, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the inside of the ER. Thank goodness.
But the BF (let’s call him my “Beau” in the vain attempt to protect his identity from the internets) needed to go yesterday. Everything ended up being fine, but it was a learning experience in a lot of ways. Allow me to elaborate:
1. If you’re a Cuyahoga County resident and don’t have health insurance, go to Metro. It’s a county hospital, and it can set you up with financial assistance and even cover a large percentage of treatment costs if you qualify. And you don’t need to have a heart attack if something bad happens. And they valet park your car for a reasonable price (and anyone who knows me knows how freaked out I get about parking and directions).
2. I am ridiculously grateful for my resourceful, intelligent family. Everyone I called to help figure out where to go and how to handle things was cool, calm, and collected, and had an intelligent and helpful response. That, and they kept checking in to make sure things were okay. It’s so great to know that good people have your back.
3. ER visits take a long. f*$%ing. time. We got there just before 3:00PM, and Beau didn’t get discharged until 9:00PM. At least five of those hours were spent sitting around waiting for something to happen.
4. You learn a lot about someone while you’re sitting around waiting for something to happen. We were the only people in the waiting room talking, joking around, trying to lighten the mood and cheer one another up. Granted, it’s hard to find the humor in things when something catastrophic or terribly painful is happening (lucky for Beau, that wasn’t the case with him), but how you deal with stress says a lot about you.
5. Some people are morons. A guy in the room near us was whimpering and calling out to God on occasion. I felt sorry for the skinny little white guy until I learned that the idiot broke his hand after, and I quote, “punchin’ a cabinet. I was fightin’ with my girl . . . about her baby daddy.” Get it together, man.
6. In the same vein, ERs are GREAT for people-watching.
7. I’m crazily grateful for the job I currently have. At my old job, if I had left to deal with an emergency, I still would have been expected to be available via Blackberry/laptop and to respond to everything promptly. I would have been constantly checking my phone and wouldn’t have been able to offer the support and attention that was necessary. Last night, I could focus on my loved one and be in the moment where I was needed without feeling guilty or paranoid. What a difference four months makes.
And now, even though I’m donning Beau’s roommate’s sweater, a sad attempt at a hairstyle (“beachy waves” achieved by wetting my hair in the sink and slapping some gel in it), zero makeup, and the manly smell of some Old Spice, I’m feeling pretty great about my life.