Patty Unleashed: 9.11.19
Does anyone ever really want to go to the emergency room? Growing up in a family of six kids who all were rather rough and tumble (need I remind you of when I attempted to ride my bike with my eyes closed?), you would think the Fitzgerald family would have an ER wing named after them. Not so much. There definitely were times we should have gone, but my dad was a ‘wait and see’ kind of guy. When I was 5, I fell out of a tree hard. I ran into the house screaming in pain as my arm hung limply by my side. My mom said, “Jack, I think it’s broken.” My dad, ever cautious, replied, “Let’s see how it looks in the morning.” You know, because broken arms often heal themselves overnight. It was the same way with head injuries. My parents wanted to know if you were unconscious and for how long. Now, if you’ve ever been knocked unconscious, it’s really hard to be precise when telling someone the details of what happened, having just taken a blow to the head. Most people would go to the hospital. Not us. My mom woke us up every 2 hours to ensure we weren’t in a coma. I guess if we were, my dad would have thrown us into the Country Squire station wagon and taken us to the ER. My parents weren’t neglectful, just practical. Oh, and all of us lived.
So I was torn when I went to pick up my brother Tim for lunch. His wife was out of town and Tim had tripped and fallen hard and had a big goose-egg on his head. You should know that head injuries really spook me since my son had one several years ago, and I am hyper sensitive to the idea of brain bleeds. I told Tim we should go to the ER to get things checked out. I couldn’t take a chance, nor did I want to sit next to his bed and wake him up every 2 hours like my mom did. But as the youngest sibling, I’m not allowed to make that kind of decision, so I called my brother Mike to tell him what I was doing. My other brother Dennis happened to be there, so Mike sent him to meet us at the ER. Tim and I were hungry, so we drove through McDonald’s and headed to the hospital.
Dennis was waiting for us and lovingly greeted us with, “What the hell is wrong with you two? Why would you stop at McDonald’s?” Our answer sounded really stupid, and then Dennis took over. My job was done. And then the wait started. I immediately started texting my doctor friends to figure out how to butt in line, but to be honest, Tim was unwilling to be as theatrical as I needed him to be, and there were quite a few really sick people there, so we continued to wait and laugh at each other. The guy next to us got really mad about the wait time. He called the ER from the waiting room and asked to talk to the head of the ER and complained about the wait, all on speaker phone, twice. He also called his doctor and yelled at her. This, of course, made us start laughing even more because who does that when there is a woman next to you barfing her brains out? Anyway, Tim was fine, and I spent few hours with my brothers in the ER laughing. Maybe they aren’t such bad places after all