Wednesday, April 28, 2010


It is time once again, dear readers, for one of my old scribblings, which I wrote about three years ago. As always it is based on fact, but with a bit of embellishment to keep you from falling asleep.

* * * * *

A few days ago I went to the hospital emergency room because I had an emergency. I won’t tell you the details, other than to say it was a breathing problem—as in, I couldn’t. At times like that, the times when I cannot breathe, Dr. Lung thinks “pulmonary embolism”, but since it was his day off Martha did his thinking for him and called 911.

Shortly thereafter (1) the fire truck roared up (in case I was on fire), (2) the fire chief followed in his SUV (to certify that the non-fire was in fact fully not extinguished), and (3) the ambulance with two attendants in big rubber fire boots to kick through the non-rubble. For the first time in four years, I actually saw our neighbors—some in their front yards, but others standing much closer just in case I was soaked in blood.

Neighbor #1: “Do you think she finally murdered him?”

Neighbor #2: “Naw, the cops would be here to arrest him for provoking her.”

Everything went well at the hospital. No embolism. The doctor gave me a prescription for opiate painkillers (which I neither needed nor took since I had no pain), instead of the root beer sucker I craved. Best of all, I wasn’t admitted—I was free to go home, back to our little love nest. Alleluia! Happy days are here again! Roll me over on the carpet and rub my tummy! On the Ecstasy-o-Meter I was an eight, until Martha pointed out a rather disturbing problem: having arrived by ambulance with oxygen, I was going home by Toyota without it. Uh-oh.

“Gee whiz, we shoulda thought to bring your portable unit with us!” she said, slapping my forehead because I’m always the forgetful one.

When being loaded into an ambulance I have a tendency to give the future very little thought. Stuff like, “I wonder if I should switch our investments to junk bonds,” or, “I hope Martha cleaned out the dryer filter so there isn’t a fire.” And poor Martha had worries of her own. She was worried about me. She was worried if there was a Starbucks between the house and the hospital. Mostly she was worried if she had enough sudoku puzzles to last five hours of my bitching in the emergency room. Stuff to breathe with—who woulda thought of it amid all the worries and chaos?

So Martha came up with a plan:

1. She would drive back home, hoping there was a Starbucks between the hospital and the house.
2. She would pick up my portable oxygen pack and check the dryer filter.
3. She would drive back to the hospital. Screw Starbucks.
4. She would put me in the car and attach me to my oxygen.
5. She would drive back home, put me to bed, and let me bitch all I wanted because she was going to bingo.

While I waited for her, I sat in a wheelchair equipped with oxygen right by the emergency room entrance door. In just my pajamas, socks, and no underpants. With my hair combed with a Mixmaster. Without a shave for a few days, or a bath for the same number of few days. I was a mess. I was pathetic. All the people who walked by me, which by my unofficial count was 2,693 in forty minutes, wondered why I wasn’t in the plastic surgery ward.

Here are a few comments I picked up from passersby:

“If that man is going home they did a terrible job! Maybe we should move Aunt Myrtle to another hospital because she doesn’t look all that hot, either.”

“Hey, Mommy, look at that man’s hair: It looks just like those fluffy dandelions in our front yard! Can I go blow on his head?”

“You know, Chester, somebody ought to buy that poor man a Starbucks.”

It was then that the idea hit me. The idea was I shoulda had a sign (with a piece of string) around my neck that said,

Don't ever let this happen to you!!!

And a tin cup for donations because quarters make a lot of noise in a tin cup. They used to use tin pans in church so everyone could stare and sneer (with loving kindness, of course) at the cheap bastards whenever there was a loud TIN! Slot machines always use tin so that twenty lousy nickels falling on TIN sound like someone’s ship, the Queen Sucker, just came in.

I wouldn’t have kept the money, though, even if it were as high as one or two dollars. I mean, what would happen if the insurance company found out that I was self-insured?

[A sincere thank you to the Chandler, AZ Fire Department, the Mesa, AZ Fire Department, and Banner Desert Medical Center for the quick response and care you have given me. Your response time is amazing. I’m still pissed at the ambulance guys, though, because they never run the fancy lights and siren, even when I plead, beg, and threaten to ... hold my breath.]


Diane said...

Glad to see that you did not leave your sense of humor at the hospital! Seriously, glad you are home as doing better.

My dad had chronic emphysema years ago and made frequent trips to the ER as well. Not fun!

Fay's Too said...

You are so very, very warped, my friend. I love it!

mapstew said...

Charlie me lad, I think the only thing keeping ye alive is yer Humerus! :¬)

Ever funny!

TechnoBabe said...

You did get an ambulance ride even if they wouldn't turn on the siren and lights.

Ponita in Real Life said...

The biggest thing is... you're still breathing!

That's always a bonus, isn't it... ;-)

savannah said...

hold on, sugar...are you reprising this entry because there was another emergency? i've missed a bit, i well, darlin, no matter what!! xoxoxoxox

Unknown Mami said...

I was so worried about the dryer filter.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Nancy and I don't use the ambulance/fire rescue... they're too slow. We drive ourselves to the ER. I think we have our own named reserved parking spot by now.

Pat said...

'They used to use tin pans in church so everyone could stare and sneer (with loving kindness, of course) at the cheap bastards whenever there was a loud TIN!'

It's folk like you make folk like me like folk like you. Atta boy Charlie and stay well!

Charlie said...

DIANE: Like the American Express card, I never leave home (or anywhere) without my sense of humor.

I'm sorry about your dad.

FAY: **sniff** I believe that's the nicest thing anyone has ever called me.

Is there a DSM-IV-TR Dx code for warped?

MAP: That, good lovin', and you guys.

BABE: It's just not the same without the lights and siren, especially for what they charge. Plus, they ride like tanks.

PONITA: It's people like the paramedics and you who keep me breathing, and that's why I respect y'all.

Charlie said...

SAVANNAH: Is this a rerun? In any event, there has not been another emergency. The last time I was in the hospital was March 2008.

MAMI: I think more people worry about dryer filters than we know about.

Although how often do you hear of a house burning down because of a clogged filter?

ROBERT: Too bad we don't use the same hospital so that Martha could rent your parking space when she needed it.

PAT: It's folk like you that make folk like me like folk who like that line.

Kate said...

This did make me laugh, it's nice to know you keep your sense of humour even when the going gets tough. Glad to hear you came home in one piece too!

Wandering Coyote said...

I'm so glad I didn't delete this post along with all the other 800 or so in my Google Reader! It was great, Chalie, as usual.

Grandma K said...

You certainly know how to take a serious situation and make light of it. Glad you are OK. Please take care of yourself.

Tiffin said...

What is it about the neighbours! When we buried our old yellow lab, one told another that she was going to watch the house for a few days as she hadn't seen Her (me) but she had seen Him (him) carrying a large bundle down to the end of the garden and burying it.

But too bad about the siren. So did Martha get back with her coffee before you got your sign made?

Kim Ayres said...

You need to keep 5 dollars attached to your pyjamas so that next time you have something to bribe the ambulance driver with to stick the sirens on

Charlie said...

KATE: Oh, ick! Coming home in several pieces would be so Jeffrey Dahmer-ish.

WC: After all the painting you've done, including the bitching that goes along with it, I'm glad you liked it.

And Fay called me warped—isn't that great?

GRANDMA K: Thank you for visiting and for wishing me well. I'm the type who would rather laugh than cry.

TUI: You know how people like murder and mayhem, but it certainly wasn't one of your lads Himself was carrying.

As far as the coffee, I think she got one on the way to bingo. I call Starbucks 10-40 motor oil in a paper cup. Yuck stuff.

KIM: Not a bad idea, but bribery sounds so political.

And happy Photo Exhibition Eve.

laytonwoman3rd said...

Those EMT guys are so by-the-book. You'd think their job was a matter of life and death. I'll bet Gage and DeSoto wouldn't have run the siren for you either.

Charlie said...

LINDA: Our EMT guys are firemen who come in a fire truck; the ambulance guys work for a company that low-bids contracts to the cities around here. Need I say more?

But you're right about Gage and DeSoto—they were the ultimate EMTs.

lisleman said...

so the ride of your life wasn't that exciting? bummer
I really like the part about thinking of other stuff when the ambulance arrives. I'm a little OCD so I'll want to check the locks and garage door, etc.
Oh here's a tip - next time bring a hat.

hope said...

Don't EVER let them remove your sense of humor! We've got enough politicians running around the country as it is. :)

Yep, I had to use mine on Thursday. If I could feed it something other than chocolate, perhaps me arse would be smaller. Then again, I look at said arse as a future insurance policy: if I fall, perhaps I'll bounce instead of breaking a hip. ;)

Charlie said...

LISLEMAN: I would seriously think about junk bonds, L-man. The whole stock market is junk, but these are actually making money (until the next crash, that is).

A hat is a good idea. Maybe I'll have one printed with "Don't ever let this happen to YOU!" on it.

HOPE: My sense of humor cannot be removed—it's surgically attached to my funny bone.

Bouncing would be a good thing. Attaching a big spring to your arse (blush) would work equally well—at least it did for Moe in one of my high-brow 3 Stooges collection.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm glad you and your mixmaster hair are back home, Charlie, but of course the important question is did Martha ever get her Starbucks?

Buzzard said...

This is some funny stuff, and way too much truth.