The father looked so broken; staring down at his son’s injured ankle. The high-top was loosened and white against his brown skin. The young man was maybe 14 and he didn’t seem in too much discomfort. The father though seemed silently suffering. A similar scene wheeled by on a stretcher. This handsome young man was even less concerned. His dad about equally unworried. A loud screaming from down the hall was rhythmic, almost chant-like with a steady timing like a woman being jarred by quickening labor pains. I strolled over to get a look and quickly saw the image of the obviously mentally challenged man wailing. A worried female friend or relative tried to usher him back into the examination room. Through a small seam in a curtain behind glass I sadly witnessed a very old woman being comforted by two other elderly folks. I wondered if the woman would ever leave the hospital alive. What an agonizing place, I thought. Every day and night it must be like this to some degree. A steady parade of sick and injured filing through the turnstiles of hope.
I was angry, and futilely trying to hide it. This was going to be expensive and she was driving home late from a boyfriend’s house I hadn’t even met! We were in the emergency room because wandering wildlife and a telephone pole got the best of Megan’s two month old car. Thanks to Mr. Breed, Megan was able to still laugh and cry, though not in that order, after climbing out the moon roof of her shattered Honda Civic. After about two hours of observation by those amazing people in the ER, Megan and I walked out of the hospital and back into life. When we got home I sent an email to some folks at work telling them I’d probably be a little late. I felt guilty that I tinged it with some humor. I guess I was looking to lighten the message a little. On my way to bed I went into Megan’s room and sat next to her on her bed. “I’m sorry I crashed my car, Dad.” I tried to speak, but couldn’t. When I finally did, I said something like “please don’t leave us. The world would be a much lesser place without you in it.” As a glass half-full kind of guy, I’ll note that I was able to skip a night of these before closing my eyes on another day in the life.