English: Emergency Room NYC

English: Emergency Room NYC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ahh, yes…the ER..the place we all love to visit and then can’t seem to manage to escape in a reasonable amount of time!!  That’s where I spent the night last night.  Wait, wait…not for any emergency for myself, but for a friend.  I remember it as though it were just last night (that’s because it was)…

I had gone to bed early since my vacation was over and I had to be at work at 7 am.  The phone rang at 11:33 pm.  Don’t you hate it when the phone startles you from a sound sleep?  It’s never good news…no one is calling you to tell you that you’ve won a million dollars, or that your latest book just hit #1 on the New York Times best sellers list, or to ask if you want to accompany that hot,  sexy guy on a trip to the Bahamas.  Nope, a phone call in the middle of the night is never good news.  And last night was no different.

When I groggily answered the phone, I was greeted with, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”  Those words are pretty much guaranteed to wake you right up.  My wonderfully alert response was, “Paul, is that you?”  Hey, you can’t pull one over on me even in the middle of the night.

It was indeed Paul and he repeated that he thought he was having a heart attack.  Then he asked, “Do you think you could come over?”  Okay, I am so not a doctor, not a nurse, not a paramedic, I don’t even do medical transcription…so the thought did occur to me, what the heck does he think I can do?  I was pretty proud of myself that I didn’t scream that out though.  Instead, I very calmly asked, “Don’t you think you should maybe call an ambulance?  Like maybe 911?”

Well, no.  He didn’t want to call an ambulance (Paul, if you’re reading this, I love you…but this probably wasn’t your finest moment)…what if he wasn’t having a heart attack?  He didn’t want to be embarrassed.  This is when I threw my hands in the air and yelled, “But what if you are having a heart attack and we’re arguing about whether or not you should call 911?”

Then of course, I hear, “Please, please, couldn’t you just come over?”  Aww…jeez…are you kidding me?  You better really be sick, buddy or I’m going to have to hurt you!  Did I say that?  Of course not, not me.  I said, “Let me get dressed, I’ll be right there.”  Then I made him promise to call 911 if it got worse.  As I’m putting my contacts in (believe me, I probably would have caused an accident had I not done that), I’m wondering what I should wear…wait!  What?  Like there’s some kind of proper attire for a possible heart attack???  Alright, alright…throw whatever on, grab my purse and keys, and high tail it over there.

I walk in and he’s half sitting, half lying on the couch…not looking so good, kind of sweaty, chest hurting.  So I say, “Paul, you don’t look all that good.  How about we make a little trip to the emergency room?”

And then I have to listen to, “I don’t really want to go to the emergency room.  I’ll be there forever.”

Uh..dude, listen to me.  I don’t want to sit here and watch you die…the paperwork on that one would be unbelievable.  So, I finally convince him to let me drive him over there…insurance card?  ID?  Medical info?  Shoes?  Let’s go.

And then we walk in…do you have any idea how many people there are in the ER in the middle of the night?  Yeah, I didn’t either.  Just take my word for it, there are a lot of folks hanging out there.  When they find out he’s possibly having a heart attack, they jump him to the front of the line….in front of the chick with the cut finger (seriously, girl?  Slap a band-aid on that.  Don’t be wasting everyone’s time with that piddly thing.), in front of the guy with the cold (yeah…really), even in front of the elderly guy who seemed to not know who he was.  Of course, while he’s in there with doctors and nurses, I’m left out there with all of these sick people…fun times!!

Finally, after what seemed like about two days, but was really only a few hours, Paul comes back out from behind the curtain (I couldn’t resist that imagery…it was really a door, but a curtain just seemed so much more ER like), heart attack free.  I’m not sure whether to be relieved that he didn’t have a heart attack or mad that he got me out in the middle of the night on a false alarm.  Okay, okay…I’m relieved…really.

I take him home, we sit there for a while talking.  I pull a promise from him…he will call his doctor in the morning and get an appointment so they can find out exactly what did happen.  Yeah, it wasn’t a heart attack, but it was something, right?  I finally make it back home at about 4:45 am…think about how I have to be at work at 7 am and debate with myself whether or not to call in.  Finally, the exhausted, emotionally drained part of me wins out and I call my poor boss to let him know that I’m going to take a personal day.  Got a kind of funny response from him when I told him I’d spent the night in the ER…