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ER Blues

May 22, 2014


A Pomeranian mix somehow bit a man in the side of his face, and he walks around, wearing his white gauze like its a war medal.

My son lies in his bed, complaining of abdominal pain, and the doctor thinks it could be his gall bladder.

I remember that my mother complained about her gall bladder, but I’m assured that has no bearing on my son’s condition

The poor woman in the next bed, hidden by a green curtain, moans incessantly.

My wife texts me saying that I need to ask the doctor if chia seeds could be contributing to our son’s problems.

The doctor, who patterns his bedside patter on Jay Leno, is gone at this point, and seeing to other patients.

I text back: “Chia seeds?????????”

She says that she’s been adding chia seeds to the yogurt and fruit she prepares for us and stores in the top shelf of the refrigerator.

I text back that we were told that the gall bladder produces bile to help the body digest fatty foods, so how in the world could chia seeds and oatmeal be a factor?

My wife still wants to know if the seeds could be an irritant, so being a well-trained husband of twenty-eight years—I’ll ask.

The woman lying just beyond the green curtain moans loudly again.

Her pain is increasing and so is her whimpering and gasps, and therefore, so is my anxiety.

The nurse finally checks in on her and the woman says her pain level is at an eight (on a scale from one—being none, to ten—being the worst pain you can imagine).

I wait for my son to return from having his guts scanned with ultrasonic waves.

I try not to think about the air that I’m breathing being a soupy stew of countless microbes and bacteria.

Can’t they give that woman some morphine?

We’ve been here for five hours already.

Two hours into this, I estimated we wouldn’t be leaving until midnight, and that’s only if surgery isn’t going to be necessary.

That poor, poor woman.

The nurse checks in on her, and goes off to look for the doctor again.

It’s a busy night in the ER.

Addendum: My original idea was to end the above poem as is, so that the reader would be left up in the air and frustrated because my son’s outcome is uncertain. I wanted you to feel like I did when I wrote the thing last night. But I can’t leave this post like that. My son is fine, as all the tests came back indicating he is perfectly normal. Perhaps his pain comes from some kind of digestion issue. Whatever the cause, there’s comfort in knowing that it’s nothing major.

  1. Heidi Winter permalink

    Oh Ernie, I am so sorry, PRAYING, keep us posted.

    • Thank you for your concern, Heidi. It’s appreciated. I added an addendum to this post, as it’s too disconcerting for my friends and family to read something so open ended. His test results came back normal.

  2. Isn’t it awful when something is wrong with the kids? All my best!

  3. You are 100% accurate there! Thank you very much.

  4. Rich permalink

    Update please!

  5. Rich permalink

    I just read the update. Good news
    Take care

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