We know what the inside of the ER, (Emergency) at Prince George Hospital looks like.
The other night Mrs Widds woke up with excruciatingly painful chest muscle cramps, as though a steel bands were crushing her ribs. It lasted for 5-10 minutes, and then was gone … completely.
Naturally we speed-pootled to the hospital, (thinking, as you probably did reading that last paragraph, that it was, at the very least, heart-attack-adjacent) whose location I had taken note of very soon after we landed here.
Almost every evening we are graced with a vigorous downpour from what are euphemistically called ‘localised thunderstorms’. The one that evening left the roads slick with rain, and I hadn’t driven at night, in the rain, for at least a decade.
I am nothing if not cool in a crisis, so my ‘speed-pootling’, was of the white-knuckle kind. Thankfully at that time of night there wasn’t much traffic around.
I may have known where the hospital was, but finding the ER entrance was a horse of an entirely different kettle of kittens. The rain-drenched, badly-lit, signage didn’t help … but in the end I got us there safely.
After not too long a wait, (it being just before midnight on a Thursday. If it’d been a Friday or Saturday night, we’d probably still be there) in a curtain-shrouded space on a fairly uncomfortable gurney, (no pillow nor blanket to be had in these uncertain times) the tests began.
Three vials of blood were removed from Mrs Widds person. ECG monitoring cables were attached to her person. Soon thereafter her person was whisked away for a chest X-ray.
We were thence ejected from our cozy little cubicle, (it was about 1am by this time) and sent out into the general ER waiting area … and waited …
The seating arrangements in these kinds of areas are designed to find a moderately acceptable balance between comfort and indestructability. They were however, wide enough to accommodate my generous derriere, so I wasn’t complaining. Neither of us were complaining about much really. We were too tired.
We told each other that if it were something serious we probably would’ve heard something already … probably.
1.30am – One-by-one, our fellow ‘walking wounded’, both literally and figuratively speaking, had their final consults with one of the ER doctors. They either passed through the sliding doors and disappeared into the rain-soaked night, with only the spattered light from the streetlamps to guide them, or were wheelchaired away into the well-lit depths of the hospital, never to be seen again. (by us at least)
As each person departed, we dwindling few, shifted positions in our not-horribly-uncomfortable chairs, gazed unseeingly at the TV screen playing the same healthcare messages over and over, and stared, (through the double-glazed plate-glass windows) into the night, awaiting our turn, and wondering by which means of locomotion we would be exiting the waiting room. (I’d be walking, either way, but where’s the poetic license in that?)
Mrs Widds’ assigned doctor, an impossibly beautiful young man, arrived at last, to tell us our fate.
The blood-tests – clear.
The ECG – clear.
The chest x-ray – clear.
NOT A HEART ATTACK!
No idea what had actually happened, but the three of us, Mrs Widds, the beautiful young man, and I, agreed that it was probably some kind of (excruciatingly painful) muscle spasm.
We thanked him profusely, and left that strange and unfamiliar world, filled with the energies of humanity on the edge, to its own devices, and wandered out into the rainy night, filled with our relief.
We didn’t speak much on our way back to our campground, probably too tired, I expect. Mrs Widds climbed into her bed not long after we got back, but I needed to unwind a little.
I played a few rounds of solitaire, not thinking about much of anything, on auto-pilot mostly, and by 3am I was snug in my own bed too.
Life throws us these little whirlwinds every so often, doesn’t it? One moment we’re facing a familiar path, then next, there are hundreds of paths in front of us, leading we know-not-where. And just as quickly, we’re back on the familiar path as though nothing has changed.
Everything has changed, of course, but only within ourselves. The world turns as it will, uncaring of our mortal plight. There’s comfort in that thought though, knowing that She, (Mother Earth) will always carry on.
May your night-time drives be incident free, and your test results negative.
The Adventure continues.