My mom is in the hospital. She got there by ambulance, thanks to the incredibly kind and efficient paramedics at the Burbank Fire Department. I have spent the better part of the last two days there with her. Here are some of the highlights:
Man in waiting room: We were going to renew our vows, you know. This year would have been our 50th wedding anniversary.
Hospital volunteer: Oh, my.
MIWR: Yes, yes. But she had breast cancer. For a long time, it was in remission. No symptoms at all. Then one day, she's feeling a little short of breath. We go in, and they tell us it's back. She was gone within the week. Not even a week. A few days. But you know, I prayed to God. I said to him, if its her time, take her quick. No suffering. Just quick-like. And he did, and I was grateful. Yes, I was. But I miss her. Yes, I do.
HV: You surely do, Sir. Let me go check and see how things are going in there for you.
MIWR: Thank you. Thank you kindly.
Man in the bed next to my mom in the ER: GOD DAMN! I hurt SO BAD! HELP ME! HELP ME PLEASE! Somebody! Oh Lord! This is awful.
Me (who has been to the restroom and come back to this): Um, Mom? Do they know about him?
MIBNTMM: Jesus CHRIST! Why does this hurt so much? *%##!@
Me: I'll just go find someone and ask.
Mom: I'm sure he'd appreciate that.
Me: (to nurses on duty): Excuse me? The guy in there seems very upset. Is anybody...?
The Nursing Staff: Yeah. We know about him. Sorry about that.
MIBNTMM (audible through open doorway): Is my LIFE not worth another 2 MILLIGRAMS to you people? Does ANYONE out there have an ounce of pity on them? I'm DYING here!
I now realize Mom (who really may be dying) and I are now extras on the episode of ER where the crazed drug addict comes in and begs George Clooney for meds, falsely claiming to be in the throes of pancreatitis or yellow fever. I go back in and Mom and I work on the crossword puzzle until the police come.
Nurse: Here's your pill, Mr. X!
Patient: What is it?
Nurse: Your pill.
Patient: What's it for?
Nurse: It's [complicated drug name]
Patient: But what does it DO? Why am I taking it?
Nurse: You know how they said you might get a burning sensation when you pee? Well, this prevents that from happening.
Patient: Oh. Like the clap. Man, I need that medicine.
Doctor (rapping on door): Knock, knock!
Patient: Go away.
Patient: I don't want 'em.
Doctor: What don't you want?
Patient: Whatever you're selling.
Doctor: But I'm here to tell you that you get to go home!
Patient: Oh. Well. That's good.
The doctor explains the discharge plan to the patient, congratulates him, reminds him to complete the course of antibiotics, and turns to leave.
Patient: Can I get some sleeping pills to go with that?
Doctor (to my mom): You need an immediate blood transfusion. Your red blood count is dangerously low. It's one of the lowest I have ever seen in someone who was still conscious.
My mom: Do I have to?
Doctor (perplexed): No, I suppose not. But if you don't have the transfusion, you're going to die. I can't be any plainer about this. Your condition is very, very serious.
My mom: I see.
Doctor: So, should we go ahead and get that started for you?
My mom: No, thank you. I'm good.
I'm not good. But it's helped to write this down. And to have an incredible sister and husband and kids and cousins and aunts and dad around to help figure out what do to next. I've already used up almost two pounds of butter and all the sugar in the house.