Magic Mike 6XL: The ER at night

Michael D. Davis

Emergency rooms are such weird places, am I right? I mean, you go in there when you’re sick and feel like death warmed over, and they usually ask you to take a seat.

I have been in my fair share of emergency rooms; I’ve even had my fair share of ambulance rides. All of which were eventful, but it is always the waiting room that truly fascinates me. Sometimes it’s empty, sometimes the place is packed, you got old people, babies, people bleeding, and people with headaches, broken bones, and the occasional mental health crisis. No other place on earth can gather together such an eclectic, diverse group of people at three in the morning.

Just this last Sunday, I was in the ER waiting room, actually waiting, because someone else had a health problem this go around. I was with a few members of my extended family that I don’t see too often; we were all sitting on the cushionless hospital chairs laughing, and telling stories. My Dad, who just turned Seventy, only told stories that predated the Obama administration; some even predated the Nixon administration. We talked, we chuckled, and my Aunt physically threatened me in front of some blue-haired old lady that was having chest pains. All in all, it wasn’t the worst time.

I could have ended this spiel with the last paragraph, but I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you the story of this one ambulance ride I had. So, It was years ago; I forget exactly how old I was, middle school age probably. I was having problems with my asthma, and I needed to be taken by ambulance to the Marshalltown Emergency Room. I’m lying in the back (of course) with an oxygen mask on and an EMT getting my stats doing whatever they do, as my Ma rides shotgun upfront. As there was nothing else to do, I just stared out the back windows at the lights and all the cars we were passing.

Now, there was construction on the road at this time, and I don’t know how fast we were going, but we were hauling butt. So, I’m laying there looking out the back window, trying to breathe, when we hit a bump, and what else, but an orange traffic cone comes flying up and smacks the back window.

Apparently, in the front cab at this moment, my Ma turned to the driver and said, “It’s just a cone!” The driver then stared awkwardly at Ma, as he obviously didn’t get the reference to 1998 classic movie, “The Wedding Singer.”

I have had a couple of ambulance rides since, but nothing comes close to that. Every time now, when I’m laying in the back of one of those things watching everything speed by out the back windows, I’m just waiting for the next traffic cone to go sailing by.