I was sitting around thinking that nothing exciting ever happens in my life, so I thought maybe I should write down my daily routine so that I could prove or disprove my hypothesis. I chose Thursday and I replicate the information for your reading enjoyment:
8:00 AM – Arrive at work; listen to KIA ramble on for 15 minutes about how her home computer, running Windows 98 (not Second Edition) won’t recognize her USB Memory Key (though it says on the box that you have to download a driver if you don’t run XP); other co-workers drift in to complain that other co-workers are loafing. Listen to voice mail; answer customer complaints via e-mail.
9:00 AM – The Boss arrives at work, so co-workers stop wandering in to my office; everyone pretends to be very busy. I tear out some hair in my frustration at the 5000 line spreadsheet holding my billing upload information, because it’s not adding up correctly and I can’t find the source of the trouble.
10:00 AM – Mr. Capp calls to say he is feeling bad. I tell him he should call his doctors, even if he just went to see them Wednesday. He promises to call back with their suggestions.
11:00 AM – Billing upload still not totaling up; decide to erase everything and start over from scratch with a fresh data export. The Angry Old Woman comes in to ask me what Zip software is. I finally get to ask the question on everyone’s mind, “What did they teach you at that ‘Meet Your Personal Computer’ class series?” She said that they just covered “basic” information. I told her that unZipping a file is very basic, then showed her where to find the FREE software that she needed.
12:00 PM – I call Mr. Capp to ask what’s going on. He said he is waiting to hear back from the doctors office. I call back the people who’d left voice mail messages, only to find that they’d called someone else three seconds after leaving the message and already had their answer.
1:00 PM – Ah, lunch. I walk up to Chipotle, a new restaurant up the block.
2:00 PM – Mr. Capp calls to say his doctors want to meet him at the local Emergency Room. He asks if I’ll go with him, thus shattering my New Year’s resolution to be at the ER once in the Year 2004. I ask the boss if I can leave, and close out all my stuff at the office. I drop Mr. Capp off at the ER, park the car, stop by the gift shop and buy a second-hand copy of James Herriot’s The Good Lord Made Them All. I thought it was a work of fiction, but I soon discover it is like reading a veterinarian’s blog.
3:00 PM – The doctors say Mr. Capp is in Congestive Heart Failure, which is why he is coughing and short of breath. He also has pneumonia, based on a chest x-ray. There is something strange on the x-ray, so they send him for a CT scan to rule out a pulmonary embolus.
4:00 PM – A heavily intoxicated homeless man is ushered to a stretcher to sleep it off. Another man is brought in, and according to the x-rays on the screen, the ball of his right hip is no longer implanted in its socket. I hear the doctors ask, “You say the other car swerved out in front of you?” The rest of the x-rays show that all his leg bones are broken.
5:00 PM – Mr. Capp’s CT results are back and they tell him he also has a pulmonary effusion. The nurses give him a lot of Lasix to drive off the fluid around his heart, two different IV antibiotics for the pneumonia, and an extra blanket.
6:00 PM – A man is brought in with the top of his head missing. He is alive and talking, but he has been scalped somehow. The homeless man is starting to wake up and keeps asking for his coat. He is starting to anger one of the nurses, who tells him he will call the police.
7:00 PM – The doctors return and say they’d like Mr. Capp to stay overnight just to make sure the excess fluid is released. A slight hitch develops because there is no room at the Inn. The entire 473-bed facility is packed full. I tell Mr. Capp I’ll wait with him until he gets settled in a room. Hahahahah! Little did I know…
8:00 PM – I return from a bathroom break to see a man on a stretcher in the hallway of the ER. His right hand has about a hundred bandages wrapped around it and there is still blood everywhere. It’s all over him, the floor, the wall, the bedside tray and a lot of towels where someone tried to clean up. I thought of that scene in Pulp Fiction when the men were trying to clean up all that blood… According to the x-ray, his ring finger and pinky are missing and his other two fingers are very mangled.
9:00 PM – The homeless man is wandering around the ER, bothering the nurses, so the angry one phones the police. An officer comes to escort the man downtown to a nicer facility where he can sleep without all the interruptions.
10:00 PM – Mr. Capp is sitting up in a wheelchair instead of laying on the bed. A fight breaks out in the lobby area and the police are called again. A man with tuberculosis is wheeled through the ambulance doors and I frantically unplug Mr. Capp from the monitors and act like I’m wheeling him to the restroom. The TB man gets taken to a different part of the hospital with negative air flow so that he won’t infect everyone.
11:00 PM – A ten-year old boy with a broken arm comes in. He tells the doctors he was at a roller skating party. The doctor asks the name of the girl he was showing off for. The boy said her name was Anna.
Midnight – Still no room in the hospital, so Mr. Capp lays back down on the bed and I read more of James Herriot.
1:00 AM – Another car accident victim is brought in. He is a large man and tells the nurse he weighs 460 pounds. Several nurses have to help move him to a different stretcher that can accommodate his weight.
2:00 AM – I walk upstairs to the cafeteria and order a hamburger and fries. The fries were really delicious. I pay the highway robbery rates for a Diet Mountain Dew because I am so addicted.
3:00 AM – One of the nurses asks if I’ve seen all the snow outside. I tell him I haven’t anything outside for the past 12 hours, so he takes me out the ambulance bay to check out the weather. It is about five degrees and the wind is blowing snow everywhere.
4:00 AM – I give up reading Herriot and try to sleep in the hard chair next to Mr. Capp’s bed in the hall of the ER. We’re right next to the nurse’s station and I listen to them talking. I decide that hospitals shouldn’t let nurses work 12 hour shifts, because it just gives them four extra hours to complain about work and all the other hospital departments.
5:00 AM – A nurse has cleared out an Overflow Room and moves Mr. Capp in to it. She brings a child-sized stretcher in for me. We are housed between a man with a leg in traction and a woman who needs more methadone.
6:00 AM – I wake up because my knees tell me they can’t take my curled up position anymore. I remember my last camping trip when one night I slept on a rocky slab and I decide that was more comfortable than this mini-stretcher. This fitfulness continues until 10.
10:00 AM – They take Mr. Capp away for an echocardiogram. They want to check his heart function. Barring any complications, they say he can leave on a Salt Free Diet. He is not overjoyed to hear this news.
11:00 AM – Mr. Capp is back, but must wait to see what the doctors say. I’m halfway through the Herriot book and feel like I’ve been out drinking all night.
Noon – Mr. Capp is released and I drive him to the pharmacy to get his prescriptions filled. A man is blocking the pharmacy entrance and is waving us away. I shrug my shoulders at him and he points to the pharmacy entrance, where there are several police cars and what looks like a SWAT team entering the building. We drive to a different pharmacy.
After that, I figured the rest of the day was shot, so I went to the bank and paid the gas bill, to the City Office and paid the electric bill, and to a different bank and made my house payment. I came home and was TOTALLY RELIEVED to find that my furnace HAD NOT kicked off and that my fish was still alive. I fed the cats and lay down on the bed, but found I couldn’t sleep. Go figure.