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A Few Stitches at the Emergency Room – Won’t Take Long

     ’Twas the day before Thanksgiving and my plan was to buy the fruit for the salad after dinner. Everything else was ready. Mostly because we were eating at our in-laws and the fruit salad was all I had to bring.

     But late that afternoon my son arrived home with a slight complication. He’d lost his balance while getting into our truck and fallen onto the concrete curb at the mall. One glance and I had a feeling the gash in his knee might need stitches. My spouse agreed and off we went to the emergency room. I figured I’d pick up the fruit on the way home.

     At the emergency room it was only about twenty minutes before they called him in. The triage nurse took a look Paul’s cut and said, “Yep. He’s gonna need a few stitches.” Next thing you know we were off - Paul in a wheelchair complete with chauffeur, us tagging along behind. Down the corridor and around the corner and down the next corridor. Past the lab and past the x-ray room and around another corner and down another long corridor. After the first mile the chauffeur explained we were going to the “old emergency room” in the other part of the building.

     When we finally got there, Paul climbed up onto the hospital bed behind a curtain covered with happy fish of many colors and species. The chauffeur left, but came back minutes later with two metal folding chairs. We sat for a while and then a nurse came to give Paul a tetanus shot. It was a little after five. I figured we’d be out of there by six. Plenty of time to pick up the fruit.

     It was a long time before the nurse practitioner arrived to stitch Paul up, but I figured we’d be out of there by seven. Plenty of time to pick up the fruit. She told Paul she had some personal questions to ask – would he like some privacy? And who are these people, anyway?

     Pause – Paul is an adult and he’s kind’a special. He has cerebral palsy and a huge sense of fun. He was a trooper through every bit of this uninvited adventure.

     “They’re my mom and dad,” he grinned. “They can stay.”

     And so the questions began. “Do you smoke?” “No.” “Do you drink alcoholic beverages?” “I don’t.” “Do you use cocaine?” “No.” “Ecstasy?” “No.” “Viagra?” “Nope.” You wouldn’t believe the substances she had on her list! When she got to mushrooms, I figured we’d be there another five hours, but she stopped abruptly.

     “There’s more, but I can see they’re not going to be relevant,” she said.

     “We’ll be giving you an antibiotic, Paul. Why don’t you two go down to the cafeteria and get Paul that coffee he’s asking for?” she said. She assured us Paul wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while, so we hurried off to get Paul’s coffee. I figured we’d be home by eight. Maybe. We lingered a little in the cafeteria chairs - they were a heckuva lot softer than those metal ones in the ER – and then hurried back to Paul.

     Who was still waiting. But not to be stitched - to be x-rayed. I figured if we were lucky, we’d be out of there by nine. Time to pick up the fruit? I noticed my husband had sprouted fresh stubble on his chin sometime during the past few hours.

     After x-rays and painkillers and antibiotics and wound cleansing and five stitches and home care instructions, it was almost ten when we headed out into the cold night air. We agreed the fruit would have to wait.

     So that’s why I was in the grocery store at nine o’clock in the morning on Thanksgiving Day. What I want to know – is how come all those other people were there?

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