A New Way to Be Broken

“Have you told people about this morning yet?” I asked Amanda.

“Who’s ‘people’?” she asked.


“I told my parents.”

“But you didn’t post or anything.”

“What, like to Facebook or something?” she asked. “What would I post? ‘I’ve found a new way to be broken?'”

It’s been a long day, folks, but let me skip to the end and tell you that things are pretty much okay. Modern medicine is on this one.

Amanda started feeling terrible at about 2:30 in the morning, which is a time almost exclusively set aside to feel terrible in, but when the vomiting just wouldn’t stop, and her abdomen just kept hurting, after an hour we decided it was hospital time and called a cab to visit the hospital located the closest, geographically.

We spent some time hanging out with a rotating cast of emergency room crew while an IV was put into Amanda to make sure she didn’t get dehydrated, followed by some anti-nausea medication. Finally, a splash of Benadryl and some morphine to put her out for awhile. A handheld and jelly-covered device told us that Amanda’s got gall stones, which might be the problem, and as antibiotics were lined up, a case was made for the removal of the gall bladder.

While we agreed the case had merit, we decided to postpone for a later court date, as the bladder in question was feeling much better and it was 10:30 a.m. and we’d been there for 6.5 hours already. Adding surgery and possibly an overnight stay seemed excessive. Any guest must be aware of the risk of over-staying one’s welcome, even in the face of a gracious host or surgeon.

So yeah. It’ll probably have to come out, so we’ll be looking to schedule something. I’ve planted the idea in Amanda’s head that we should ask to keep it, so we can have it in a jar on a shelf. Maybe pickled in scotch. But we’re home, tired, stocked up on new pharmaceuticals, busy reading websites of nutritional advice.

While the cramping was still at its worst, I was rubbing Amanda’s back and helping her stay under the blanket that came with the room, trying to distract her. I said “You know, if you like this blanket a lot, just remind me and we’ll get you one of your own at the gift shop on the way out. We can even have it monogrammed, if you want. Would you want AJS or just AS?

“AJS” she said into her pillow.

“Not a problem. Also, we could get your picture with one of the hospital mascots. And they’ll be happy to put that picture on a t-shirt, if you want a t-shirt with a picture of you standing next to a mascot.”

“No…” she moaned.

“It’s no trouble. The kids in those mascot costumes get paid hourly. You wouldn’t be putting them out.”

The IV slowly dripped away. I had the fleeting thought that emergency rooms would be nicer if they had bland paintings on the walls, like hotels do.

“But you know what bothers me is that log flume ride they have. It’s dangerous. I don’t care that it’s the fastest way to get from Pediatrics to the parking lot. It’s still January! People get splashed with that water and they’re just making more work for themselves with the pneumonia! They should at least shut it down until summer.”

But by that point, she was sleeping. I went back and sat in the only other chair in the room, which had minimal padding, and tried to sleep a bit myself.

And we waited for the next professional visitor to the room, and for the drugs to work, and for the chance to go home.

— Jan 28, 2013 G+