Please let me die in my sleep earlier than later. I know you love me and want me to have the full extent of life, but may I ask that I go earlier than the first minute there will be no dignity. Actually, before the first second if you can catch it. I came to this notion on my third visit in as many weeks to the Emergency Room. I thank you God that I was only a bystander in the midst of all the hell put upon human beings of all ages.
The television show bringing the ER trauma to the television screen does not capture the reality of standing in the midst of the comings and goings hour after hour of real people and the people who accompany them. It is an unbelievable experience to be up close and personal with the drama. The harsh lighting does not let up and becomes blinding. The lights are on one switch and cannot let one patient at peace while the other needs to be brightly lit.
One family hovering over an old woman gets the news from a doctor, who looks like a teenager, that she has heart failure. She leans over to her, I assume, husband, and says, “What’s that?” He quietly replies, “You have a weak heart and they are going to give you some medication.” “Oh,” she says and closes her eyes.
The diabetic in the next bed is running out of time and her husband is resigned. The husband and wife are so tiny and their son is about six foot six. He said there are four other children, but he is the only one who will assume care giving. Mr. Six Foot Six has desperate troubles with his daughter and the mother of his daughter has left both of them. They admitted Six foot Six’s mother after a 12-hour wait and the father and son, heads bowed, trail slowly after her rolling bed.
They took the man who was throwing up tons of blood right away for treatment and testing. When he was returned to his cubical, he looked dead, except for a blink of his left eye. Within five minutes he was removed not to return during our stint.
I knew nothing about spit masks before this ER evening. A spit mask is a mask covering the face of a combative person and protects law enforcement from the transmission of infectious diseases carried in the saliva. It is a protectant for anyone near enough to be involved. I will tell you there were two separate incidences of combative people tied down and spit masked during our evening in the ER. Each combative person was accompanied by a separate group of police and fire personnel. The ER was becoming filled to capacity and folks in need were filling the isles. Nurses frantically continued to process patients according to need. I would call this night in the ER a “Full House.”
Then, there was The Birthday Party. Oh yes, a parade, there were partygoers carrying streamers, and a magnificent cake. The lovely birthday girl was tied to a board as the crash victim. She finally got the bed directly across from us. She was untied, section-by-section, and only suffered a minor whiplash. Thank goodness for her good fortune. The father was calculating the time to the exact moment, twenty-one years go when her birth began her life. The minute the right time was announced, the partygoers were summoned; they paraded into the ER and the party of a double celebration of life began. Let me add that the police officers that took the accident information and the firemen who accompanied the entourage posed for pictures with the beautiful birthday girl.
Again, God, thank you for watching over all of us in the ER being helped in such an accomplished manner and thank you for helping the hard working ER team, who helps so many in need, day after day, night after night!