Last night I spent 9 hours at the ER. It was an arduous long wait. Nobody likes an ER, nobody.
In my 42 years I’ve been to the ER on numerous occasions for my wife, my daughter, my great uncle and myself. When I worked home health care. I’ve seen all types of injury and sickness while waiting. The long wait. And of course it is never fun to be the patient. Poking. Prodding. Waiting.
I wasn’t a patient. I was a loved one. Family. Grandson. I wasn’t alone. My uncle and my cousin were there as well. 9 hours. Waiting.
The man to our left was dying. Every breath a potential gurgling last. He waited. I think the nurse said he was 65. He looked much older.
The woman to the right. A bladder infection. Only a few years older than myself. 47. There with her senior mother. She peed frequently. Or tried to crying.
There we were in the middle. Waiting.
The center of our attention, my grandfather. Half-way to 96. The doctors. The nurses look at this near centenarian in disbelief. Not only does he not look or act like a 95 year old, they have absolutely no record him ever in his system.
They ask if we are from out of town. No we are local. But they have no records. No they don’t have records. Why would they.
My grandfather, 95, half-way to 96, has never been hospitalized. Never.
He confides, several times over, with the lucidity of a 60 year old, he hoped he would never be hospitalized. That he’d die with his record unscathed.
He blames us for insisting he go. Insisting that he needed an EMT. But he’s injured his leg, he can’t stand. He’s upset. We broke his record.
Today he lays in the hospital more worried about his family. About the ribs we bought for the Memorial Day cook out. We stayed up almost all night. Waiting with him. We come back at 7am. He’s more worried that we are tired. That is is our day off. He hasn’t slept either. But he worries about us.
After a couple hours or so he insists we all go on. Enjoy our day off. Get rest.
My grandfather was born in 1915 and never hospitalized. I don’t know anyone else who can say that. I can’t. My wife can’t. My daughter can’t. We’ll never beat that streak.
His streak is broken. He was upset, but now takes it in stride.
He worries about ribs on Memorial Day.