There we were, seven o’clock at night, Wife, #3, #8 and myself waiting in the Emergency Room. The purpose for our speedy entry to the hospital was #3, who had bitten through the corner of her lip on a nasty tumble. I probably should have felt a little guilty about the situation, because she had tripped while running to the table to get the parmesan cheese for me. After her face had a disagreement with the leg of the table, we found ourselves in the car, while luckily my mother was close by to watch the rest of our brood. I shiver to think of all those children waiting in the Emergency Room with us.
So we waited, #3 struggling to keep her mouth closed, while butterfly bandages held her lip together. I guiltily mourned in silence over my plate of uneaten spaghetti which would certainly be stale by the time we got out of the hospital. Wife’s head seemed to be on a swivel, looking from one sick person to another and back to her baby. You know hospitals, they’re just full of sick people.
While we waited Wife did her best to distract #3 with games on her cell phone. We took turned walking the baby around as the Emergency Room gradually filled and emptied again. Some one had fallen off a horse. Some one else looked like she had an extreme fever. There were a couple of runny noses and one individual with hepatitis. While I didn’t notice it at the time, Wife kept reseating us as far as possible from the sickest people, just in case they had something catchy.
It must have been about an hour and a half when we were finally taken back to a bed. A very nice little nurse looked at #3 and cleaned the blood off her face. She kept up a friendly conversation with my little girl about which princess she liked best. However, #3 kept as still as could be while her cut was cleaned and gave absolutely no response to the nurse as to her favorite princess. So in the end, after the little girl did not cry or whimper under the nurse’s hand, the nurse declared that she was, “Princess Brave.”
And then we waited. I began to eye the bed #3 was on with envy. For a moment I almost made her share it with me, but I also thought the nurses would disagree. That would embarrass Wife which would then mean I was in trouble. So I settle on the floor with my back against the wall. Wife, who I had to insist to sit in the only chair, started to complain about the germs that must be on the floor. I tried my best to assure her that the floors were clean, something I highly doubted, but in any case I didn’t care at that point. If the floors were laced with Spanish Influenza, I was going to sleep there anyway. It was past my bedtime.
It was sometime after eleven when we finally left the hospital. The poor little girl was properly sore after first splitting her lip, then having it sewn back together. No matter how gentle the doctor was, stitches always hurt. Though she was excited about the ice cream Wife had promised her. I was tiredly looking forward to a hamburger. And Wife was itching to make everyone of us bathe to wash off whatever germs we might have picked up in the Emergency Room.