A night at the emergency room
On every other day, my esteemed other half gets home somewhere between 5:20 and 5:30 in the evening. Last night, I had to leave for a rehearsal at 5:40 and he still wasn’t home. I was starting to be concerned, but there were plenty of reasons for his lateness — maybe he needed to stop for gas, or he hit the grocery store, or perhaps he got a late start and was stuck in some rush-hour traffic. But being the pessimist I am, and always with a head full of doom-and-gloom, the first thought to cross my mind was that someone had hit him as he was riding his scooter.
Drove to rehearsal, got there at 6pm. I called home, no answer. Called his cell phone, and also no answer. I’m really unsettled at this point, and generally on red alert just because I don’t know what’s going on. We start working on a scene, and I don’t get a chance to call again until 7pm. Again, no answer at home, no answer on the cell, and no messages on the voicemail at home. I’m moving quickly into genuine concern and worry. We go back into working on the scene, and around 8pm we finish up with notes and get a break. I asked the director if I could take off, explaining to her my concerns of the missing husband. She’s cool with it, so off I go.
All the way home, about a 15-minute drive, I’m going over scenarios in my head. There were three options: death, hospitalization, or he’d scooted home, grabbed his car and gone off on some errand. So of course, as I’m nearing our street, the thing I want to see the most is his scooter parked next to mine.
I pull up and see his car first. So he’s not anywhere in the car. I park, get out, and come around the corner to our street.
Only one scooter. Cue full freak-out mode.
I rushed upstairs to the apartment. No sign that he’s been home at all. My first stop was the caller ID box, which told me there were 8 new calls. I wasn’t entirely sure how many times I’d called, so I started paging through them. Missy’s Cell. Missy’s Cell. Missy’s Cell. Missy’s Cell. Harborview Medical Center.
Oh, did I think I was in freak-out mode before? Now it’s freak-freak-freak-out mode.
I call the number on the caller ID, trying to convince myself that if he were dead, it would have been the police calling. So if it’s the hospital, he must still be alive … right?
I get the emergency room, and tell the woman on the other end that I suspect my husband may have been in an accident. I give her his name, and she goes to check. She comes back (she had a lovely soothing British accent) and tells me, “He’s in the emergency room, I’ll try to get the phone to him.”
This tells me that he’s most likely awake and aware and able to talk on the phone, but I just need to be sure. The only way I can think to ask is, “He’s not hurt real bad, is he?”
“A couple of broken bones, but he’s all right.” She puts me back on hold to try to get a phone near Scott. Shortly she comes back on the line and tells me, “Here he is.”
The next thing I hear is Scott’s voice with his usual greeting for me, “Hey baby.” I was already full of tears, but that commenced me to some full-fledged blubbering. We talked for about five minutes, starting mostly with me just telling him how damned glad I was that he was still alive, and him reassuring me that he was generally OK. He ended off passing the phone to a nurse who gave me the address of the hospital. I’d been to Harborview before, but it always seems like there’s 80 hospitals up on First Hill, and I didn’t want to have to drive around searching for the ER.
I called my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be in on Wednesday, made sure the kitties had plenty of water and kibble, and then grabbed Scott’s flannel pants and a sweater, since I hadn’t asked if they’d had to cut anything off of him. I got to the hospital, made note of the location of the emergency room (I’d actually been there only once before, while on a ride-along with my cop buddy Kyle), parked in the pay garage (I hate you, Capitol Hill!) and made my way to the ER. They let me in, and I finally got to see my poor hurt Scott.
He told me the tale, and here it is: He was scooting home, and made it to the base of Queen Anne. He was stopped at the red light at 3rd and Mercer, waiting to cross Mercer. The light turned green, so he started across. Coming the other way on 3rd was a feeble old man in a big land yacht. The old man had his left turn signal on, and inched slowly forward as would be expected for someone who was going to make a left turn but needed to wait for the straight-through traffic to go first. And then, the old man whipped his car into the left turn directly in front of Scott. He put on the scooter’s brakes as hard as possible, but he was probably less than 5 feet away from the car. Scott ended up smashing into the passenger side of the car, and his body rolled along the passenger side. He ended up on the ground behind the car.
There were several witnesses who all helped him out. One woman who lived on that block offered to park the scooter in her driveway. Everyone offered Scott their information as witnesses. He apparently never hit his head and never lost consciousness — his left side took the impact of hitting the car and the fall to the ground. The police and paramedics came, took statements from Scott and the old man driver and all the witnesses, and cited the old man for something like “inattentive driving” (I’ll go get the police report today and find out the full charge). Then the paramedics loaded Scott up and asked him which hospital he wanted to go to, to which his answer was, “The best one.”
So there was my poor buddy, lying in a cruddy hospital bed with a broken clavicle (collarbone) and fibula (the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg). He also had some nasty bruises growing here and there, as well as some road rash on his left knee. He wasn’t too heavily drugged, as they’d tried morphine but it made him clammy and lightheaded. So we sat and chatted for a couple of hours. It turned out he didn’t need the extra clothes — the only thing they’d cut was the strap of his messenger bag. He admitted his disappointment — if you gotta be in the ER, the least they can do is cut off your pants, or yell “clear,” or shout at you, “LIVE, DAMN YOU, LIVE!”
Lots of adventure was going on in the ER. In the next bed over, they carted in a guy in what looked like a bright red prison jumpsuit. They talked to the guy, and he’d apparently taken “20 Tylenol and about 40 ibuprofen for my headache.” I don’t know about you guys, but that seems a bit … excessive. So we got to hear the thrilling sounds of someone’s stomach being pumped. Plus, they must have given him something to make him throw up, and throw up he did. All over the floor. The curtains were pulled, so all I could hear was the ocasional heaving noise accompanied by the splash of water on the floor. Makes sense that he would be throwing up mostly water — to take that many pills, I would have had to guzzle gallons.
Scott got a feeling-up from one of the doctors (all of our doctors and nurses were chicks, which was cool) to make sure it was just his leg and not his knee that was injured. Later, she brought in a leg brace and an arm sling. We braced up his leg and slowly worked on getting him from a lying-down position to a sitting position. It took a while, since sitting up made him lightheaded. The doctor brought in some pop and graham crackers — it was around 10pm by this time, and the poor guy hadn’t eaten anything since noon. More resting, more testing, and then it was time to pull the car around. We ended up leaving the hospital at about 11:15pm, and the first order of business was to go straight up Broadway to the 24-hour Jack in the Box.
We made it home a little before midnight. I dropped Scott off at the front door of the building, and he started his slow hike up to the 3rd floor while I parked the car and got his big orange hospital bag full of stuff. I caught up with him on the last set of stairs, so he was making pretty good time. We got him in the apartment, he settled in on the bed, and then we proceeded to pull sticky things off of him. They’d left on the little circular things for monitoring various body functions as well as a couple of other sticky items, since they weren’t able to find a razor and so stuck them all to his plentiful chest hair. So pulling off the stickies was fun.
We settled him in and hunkered down for a restless night of sleep. Of course, the kitties were a problem — Trouble thought it would be a good idea to climb Mount Daddy, and tromped up his shoulder. Then Commie wanted to do his standard “stand on Daddy’s legs” before settling in to lie on Scott’s butt. Neither of us slept much, so there will be much napping today. Plus I need to see if I can go get the scooter and also go get a copy of the police report.
What amazes me is that there’s no cast on his broken leg. As for the collarbone, I know there’s no way to cast that. But not only does he not have a cast, he’s encouraged to put as much weight as he can on the leg — the doctor said activity would actually help the break heal.
I’ll update when I have full police report details and/or information on the fate of the scooter. But no matter what, that old man’s insurance will be paying for repairs or a new scooter. And the medical bills. And lost work. And pain and suffering and such. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but the old man is insured through Allstate, which is also our automobile and rental insurer. Maybe it will make it easier, and they’ll be more willing to make it easy for us. We’ll see.
We joked about the fact that it’s now my turn again for a car accident. Damn it, I didn’t think my turn would come again so soon!