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The last time I was in the Emergency Room, I was probably 8 or 9. I landed there for inaccurate use of a fish fillet knife my dad (obviously) improperly stored in the garage. Having only three channels on our TV and no video games whatsoever, we were cruelly subjected to something known as “playing outside”. My brother and I would often entertain ourselves for hours, mostly barefoot. The horror. He was usually building something and ended up in the ER more often than I did as he crashed and burned in his latest homemade contraption riding it down our steep driveway.

Mild nausea is a routine with me but my medication to control it completely failed me Tuesday night when I ended up in the ER with severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and dehydration. I knew I was in trouble. My heart was in a funky rhythm I assumed was calypso but turned out to be known as atrial fibrillation or a-fib. After fluids, heart medication, and a sleepless night and day they let me go. They checked me all out and I guess it was just side effects because they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. It only hurts when I eat.

The ER was a lot like Las Vegas. There weren’t any windows and the clock in my room was broken so it was difficult to tell if it was night or day. It was very brightly lit and noisy, and they brought us drinks while half naked people wandered around. Machines kept going off with alarms and bells, and alerts lighting up. I can’t forget to mention the games. There were some freaky people there and being up all night and feeling loopy, Alan and I entertained ourselves by reading the ailments of the entire ER on the monitor. Next up was critiquing my urine sample, the remainder of which the nurse insisted on keeping in the room. Apparently if you’re in good shape “Miller Lite” is the goal, whereas I had produced more of a “Newcastle”. I never want to go back.

My doc was actually leading the trail of almost doctors around in the morning, so it was great to get his opinion on everything. It was not the week off oral chemo I was hoping for. He assigned one of his half-lings to check on and discharge me and I never saw Dr. Half-Whoeverhewas again. Just one of the many reasons I hate the hospital. My wonderful cardiologist came by and said I was fine to go home so I did around 6 pm. The ER was overflowing, with people on beds in the halls and the hospital was full. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I hear there are some people who make the ER a routine part of their medical care for one reason or another. I cannot imagine. I will pray for universal healthcare or the return of your sanity (if you ever had any), or both if that’s what you need.

I will give Vanderbilt giant kudos for this: we called oncology around 10 pm and by 11:30 pm I was in a bed in my own room in the ER, stomach calming down, heart medicated and monitored, and I was far away from the other germ-riddled patients.

I am feeling better. I have some new meds for my stomach. My feet are better too. The dermatologist prescribed a cream that is half battery acid and now there is actual skin where there was a thick buildup of agonizing hoof.

Last night Alan and I took our formerly 4 lb 3oz child, now taller than me, to select high school classes and it was a shock to the system in many ways. We are so proud of him and although not feeling 100%, I was very thankful to be there and see the sheer joy on his face. He can’t wait to start and I can feel those ties to home painfully starting to loosen a little, just as they are supposed to do.

I am very grateful to God, Alan, our friends and family who jump in during emergency, my medical team, and another week, ER or not. Lately I find I’m getting a little attached to the idea of sticking around a few more years, but I’ll try to do my best with whatever He decides to give me. I know He has His reasons.

Peace to you all,