A Romantic Evening at Hackensack Hospital

3 Nov

Mr. B. and I spent six lovely hours in the emergency room at Hackensack University Medical Center because I have one of those annoying ailments that could be serious or could be nothing—not bleeding out of the eyeballs, but not something to ignore. The kind of ailment that gets you hours of watching some TV show that was called something like “Snowplowing to the Max.” or “Icemasters” or “The Royal Masters of Snow Removal Equipment,” or something of the like. Anyway, the Icemasters seemed to be moving a lot of snow with great difficulty. For hours. It’s not even something I want to see in real life, never mind TV.

Everybody in the waiting room is very chummy, talking about how weird life is in our new post-gasoline era here in New Jersey, with four hundred cars lining up, massive detours, flashing police lights everywhere, lines of dozens of shivering people standing with their gas cans, police tape blocking off roads so that one has to go on long detours with the precious gas one has left . . .  One guy who is holding up his hand wrapped in some paper towels (I think he cut off the tip of his finger?) says that someone shot a man on Route 46 for trying to cut in a gas line; we all agree this is perfectly reasonable. “You don’t cut in line,” fingertip man says. Damn straight. The only thing that would piss off anyone in the waiting room is if he came to the hospital and got medical care before we did.

The hospital was the only lit up building for miles in Hackensack, so needless to say the ER was crowded. Not just with the usual miscreants but with all the people who need electrical power for their medical devices.

I was in sort of a self-denying haze of discomfort for the six short hours we were there, but I am pretty sure we saw everything it was possible to see in a mash up of ER/Gray’s Anatomy/and Medical Center. (Is anyone else old enough to remember Chad Everett, aka Dr. Joe Gannon and his handsome, eternally concerned wrinkled brow and amazing wardrobe of 70s leisure suits and turtlenecks—sigh).

  1. The policemen who rough up their swearing prisoner patient a little (shackle him to his bed where he entertains all and sundry with his rendition of “You F-ity, F-ing Fuckers, F- you,” at top volume.
  2. The beautiful woman in pain in the next whatever you call a cubicle that’s made of curtains. Reassuring man voice, ‘I think it just nicked the tendon, here, we’re going to move it just a little—“ “Owwww” she faints and then sound of nurses and doctors come running and some heroics are performed.
  3. The police “locking down” the facilities and kicking out all the visitors for long periods, then not telling them when it’s NOT locked down.
  4. The old guy in the next cubicle yelling “WHERE’S MY PILLOW” until the nurse comes and tells him if he doesn’t shut up she’ll turn off his TV. (I guess there are no pillows). (And I guess he has a TV). She leaves. He continues. “WHERE’S MY PILLOW?”
  5. The nurses and doctors and EMT workers and police all seem to be flirting madly. They had a strange wild look of enjoyment in their eyes, as if they were actually IN a TV show. And I couldn’t even see the janitor’s closet. I know what happens in the Janitor’s closet—I’ve seen enough Grey’s Anatomy for that!
  6. As this event drags past midnight with time’s slow sweeping hand, a poor old bad-smelling woman is put nearby one of the many five or six locations I have enjoyed during the evening, including the hall. “MA’AM, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YEAR IT IS?” I tell Brian (in one of the brief moments he’s allowed to be with me), “If this keeps going long enough, they’re going to ask ME if I know what year it is and I’m going to say it’s 2012 and they’re going to know I’m crazy.”
  7. There’s so much more, but I’m going to save it for when Grey’s anatomy calls me for more juicy real life details.

I finally get my medical care, stretched through these hours. This visit is as annoying as my visit to the Apple Store earlier this week (conclusion; yes, you have a problem, no we aren’t trained to handle it—call Microsoft). This one was “yes, you have a problem, go see a specialist. What, your specialist is in lower Manhattan? Where there’s no power and no one’s been picking up a phone for a week? Nobody’s going to be in their office till Monday in Jersey either—if they aren’t among the million plus people who have no power. In the meantime, we could rig up some really painful and intrusive temporary solution for you, but if you don’t want it then good luck. “ And then, at 1:30 a.m., we are finally free to go home and eat our dinner.

Oh well, as Mr. B., the very good husband, and I like to say, (especially at FML moments, as the children like to point out), “An Adventure Every Day.”

Writing Prompt: Did you ever visit an ER? What was your experience?

3 Responses to “A Romantic Evening at Hackensack Hospital”

  1. Stron Tium November 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    my experience doesn’t compare. though, as a family, we have made it our business to visit every mapped ER in the metro area just to keep them up and running. hope you’re feeling better

    • alexandrahh13 November 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      It’s always wise to know which of the fine medical facilities in one’s neighborhood are going to have the amenities of choice!!

      • Stron Tium November 6, 2012 at 1:32 am #

        or the characters to choose from.
        it is a very nice thing, as we all know better than we’d like to, to see your child return from blue grey to something in the pink spectrum.

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