You would think this was my family’s version of a very bad and distasteful April Fool’s joke, but sadly it wasn’t.  The thing is when I got home yesterday, I was told my mother had been admitted to the hospital and my dad (who’s taking care of my sick granny) wanted me to go stay with her until she got put in a room.  Mama was all alone in the emergency room.  My mother has always had anxiety issues about being left alone, so it was no question that she needed someone there with her, and I’d have done so anyway.  What was so unbelievable was that my mother was sent to the hospital just after 3 pm, and instead of calling and telling me to go to the hospital which was twenty minutes away from the school, my family let me drive all the way home in the opposite direction before telling me about mama.  I could understand if this was twenty or more years ago, but I have a cellphone with me at all times.  Once I was home, not only had I wasted the 40 minutes driving home when I could have been with mama, but once home the drive to the hospital is an hour away, not the 20 minutes it is from school.

Even more unbelievable to me is that my sister lives, at tops, with bad traffic, ten minutes from the hospital.  My sister does have kids, but her in-laws live practically next door and could take the kids for at least an hour so she could go be with mama until I could get there, but my sister did nothing.  She didn’t call me like mama had asked her to do, which would have saved me time, and my sister never even came to the hospital and didn’t even call to check on mama.  Her only response was, “She’s not even in a room yet.”  That wasn’t the point.  Mama needed someone.

Once I got to the hospital and I knew mama was okay, I could calm down a little bit.  Mama has acute asthmatic bronchitis and she’s basically been having an asthma attack for three weeks.  Her doctor should have put her in the hospital last week, but she begged him not to because she was taking care of my granny (her mother).  By the time I’d gotten there, they had her in a bed in the ER with oxygen and an IV, waiting for a room, at which time they basically ignored her for the next eight fucking hours.  Eight hours we waited for a room.  They didn’t bring her any food, nothing to drink, and never even checked to see if she needed to go to the bathroom.  I finally got the nurse’s attention and asked for mama to at least get a glass of water.  She was brought a Sprite.  Then mama needed to go to the bathroom, but it’s not like she can just get up and go because of the IV and oxygen.  So I went and asked the nurse to help her.  The nurse said in a snarky voice “In a sec.”  Then we waited, and we waited.  Mama is a retired nurse and at this point she’s got to go and is ready to unhook herself, so I went back to the nurses desk (by the way, the call button did no good, it just went ignored), and that’s when the “teacher voice” came out.  I use my “teacher voice” when I truly mean business, and since I am usually mild mannered and soft spoken, the “teacher voice” usually makes people pay attention.  It certainly got that nurse to moving. (I was polite, but firm.) Shortly after that, they decided they better find us a room before I came back again.

Close to midnight last night, they finally had mama settled into a room.  Thankfully this one had AC, since it was 76 degrees in the ER.  Also, I made sure the nurse went to get mama something to eat.  Once mama was settled, I headed home.  It had been an ordeal for her, so hopefully she had eaten and was fast asleep by the time I got home around 1 pm.  Now it’s off to school.  I’m praying today is a better day, and thankfully, we are out for Good Friday.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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