I’m sitting on a gurney. The nurse in front of me is holding up a robe in a manner that suggests, “take off your shirt and put this on” even though the room is bustling with people. I hesitate for a second, just long enough to confirm that I am, in fact, in a hospital and haven’t consented to some perverted photo shoot. The male doctor turned his back for a moment out of respect. It didn’t stop him from peppering me with questions while the others tugged, pulled and attached things to me as if they were working against a clock to navigate an Escape Room.
Do I drink? Do I smoke? Have I been out of the country in the last 30 days? Do I have any former pets tattooed in weird places? Does my family have a history of spelling normal names in super dumb ways? (Hey Utah, I’m looking at you.)
Do I look like a pet person?
My friend’s name is Jourdenne but it’s not her fault and we are not blood-related.
I had gone to bed with chest pain the night before and even though I didn’t think anything was seriously wrong, I made sure I was thorough. I turned to Cory and said, “If I die in my sleep just know that you’re the best thing that ever happened to me.” He replied, “Please don’t die.” I thought about adding, “I’m not going to die. But if I do please know that I’m not one of those benevolent wives who would be all, ‘Get remarried as soon as possible. I just want you to be happy.’ I want you to be happy eventually, just be miserable for a little bit first. When it gets to the point that salads are a trigger of fond memories, by all means find a wife.” But I refrained. In the middle of the night I felt him poke me. I later confirmed he was looking for proof of life which I gave him in spades as I mumbled, “I’m ali….” I was too tired to finish the sentence.
I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to die. So, why were all of these doctors freaking out? I hadn’t even filled out the paperwork before the whole floor was paged on my behalf. Did you hear me? I HADN’T FILLED OUT THE PAPERWORK YET. All I said was, “I’m having some chest pain,” and the doors parted, the crowd descended and a roomful of strangers told me to take my shirt off. I felt like Brad Pitt minus the EKG.
Just to cover my bases I messaged my kids to tell them I loved them and was proud of them. A little silly, I suppose; because I wasn’t going to die. But they were sending me in for a CT scan to check some other things and you just never know.
Upon completion of all available tests, the doctor confirmed a non-life-threatening diagnosis and said, “Take Advil.” I got naked for these people and all they can say is take Advil? Am I on “Tinder: The Day After” special? Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved that I didn’t have a heart attack. I’m thrilled not to be riddled with blood clots. But now that it’s over and I’m not dead I’m contemplating the meaning of this experience. I’m boiling it down to this. One, tell your people you love them, even when everything is fine. Two, for all of you “Mikinlie’s” and “Arick’s” out there, I’m sorry you were born into an abusive family. There’s no shame in getting help. Finally, the next time you feel ignored in the ER waiting room and you want to bump yourself up on the list, tell them your broken leg is suddenly causing you chest pain. You won’t believe what happens next.