Man and woman do not live by serious posts alone. Sometimes, a little levity is in order, and I have decided that today is the day. Can you handle that? 

I am very pleased indeed to present a guest post today by my friend Suzanne Sombar. This blog post began its life as an extended comment on Facebook. Now, Suzanne tells me that she is a non-writer who has been writing for three years. To me, that means that she is ahead of about ninety-nine per cent of people who say they want to write, but never do.


In the interest of full disclosure, I have edited this post for brevity and clarity. 

The laughs, however, are all Suzanne’s.



I don’t know how you do it but here is the view from the other side. 
A trip to the ER will make you just a little crazy.
Have a seat.

There are people standing, squatting, walking, pacing, and sitting in this sprawling room. I hate going here. A quick scan reveals five vacant seats at the end of a row and the backs of the chairs have marked the wall.


I like my back against the wall.

The first hour of conversation goes like this:

Mike: “I don’t think my arm is broken. I just sprained it.”

Me: “Really? Your elbow is the size of a cantaloupe and your skin is the color of concord grapes. All of your skin. You just can’t see it. Can you turn the palm of your hand up?”

Mike: He says nothing but his face looks like the dentist just hit a nerve Big Time.

Me: “Told ya.”

The second hour of conversation:

Me: “I have heard the average wait is four hours. We have one down and three to go.”

Mike: “This pain doesn’t compare to a kidney stone. Now, that’s pain. I think that guy over there standing on his head has a kidney stone.”

The third hour:

Mike: “Well, at least the babies don’t have to wait. I need something to drink.”

Me: “The water fountain is over there. Iit’s been 60 seconds since tight pants sneezed on the handle.”

I wonder who had been sitting in this chair before me. I hope it was a person with broken bones and not Typhoid Mary, Syphilis Sam or Meningitis Bob. Kidney-stone man is now hunched over in a wheel chair. An ER worker brings him a blanket and he wraps it around his head. 

Two rows over, a phone sits on an end table and it rings. The lady next to it is not sure what to do. To my amazement she answers on the fourth ring and petitions the crowd.

“Is Robert here?”

Just when I think I can’t be amazed any more, Robert comes and takes the phone from her and a conversation begins. Minutes later he ends it with, “I love you.” Robert begins to move through the crowd and sincerely asks people are you okay as if he is the host and they are the guests at his party for the sick and ailing.

The fourth hour:

Me: “You hanging in there? Robert wants to know.”

Mike: “Yes.”

Kidney-stone man has rearranged the chairs and is now in the fetal position on the floor six chairs to my left. The position of his pants worries me. That blanket needs to be wrapped around his hips, not his head. His companions don’t seem too worried.

Robert is back on the phone. If you want to reach Robert just call the ER waiting room phone. He will answer.

An irritated fifty-ish man wearing yuppie sandals and escape-outdoors shorts walks by talking into his phone. I hear him say, “This wait is ridiculous! I’m leaving!” as he exits through the sliding glass doors.

Have you told Robert you are leaving his party early?

Me: “Obviously no broken bones and not sick enough or else he would wait it out.”

Now the McDonald’s bags begin to show up.

Three rather large females chow down on Big Macs and fries. I think these women belong to kidney-stone man and they don’t share.

Mike: “I would never eat anything in an ER waiting room.”

Me: Flashback to the time I had been here with my Mom. My brother and I were licking our fingers while balancing a Zaxby’s Big Zax Snak on our knees when the doctor walked into her room. He had that same look on his face that Mike just had.

I am proof that you will not die if you eat in the ER. Sometimes hot chicken fingers override your ability to make good decisions.

Me: “What is taking so long?” I know they will call us any minute now that our four hours are up.” 

I find the vending machine when I get up to move around. We share a bottle of water.

The fifth hour:

Me: “Not to alarm you but your elbow is the now the size of a watermelon.”

The phone rings again and a different person answers. You guessed it. They ask for Robert.

Robert has been called to triage (lucky duck, I think). “Take a message,” I instruct, and tell them that Robert loves them.

The sun sets and we watch people come and go. Steady streams of ambulances wait their turn to unload and no one seems to be in a hurry.

Mike: “I need to go to the bathroom. The bottle of water. . .”

We both know where the bathroom is because it was ten chairs to our left and everyone has been in there. The bathroom door sees more action than the triage door.

Me: “Both of your arms are busy. The good one won’t let go of the broken one. If we won’t drink out of the water fountain then the public restroom is out of the question. Can you hold it?”

The sixth hour:

Mike: “I feel better now that my bladder is empty.”

Me: “Ugh.”

Six and half hours:

Me: “Here’s your Big Mac. Can I have your fries?”

Seven hours:

Mike Sombar?

Mike Sombar?

Mike Sombar?

5 thoughts on “ER-arrgh

  1. Greg,

    I enjoyed it the first time…I enjoyed it the second even more! Glad you posted it, Greg. Lighthearted stories & banter seem to break a bit of too much seriousness…which in my opinion is an absolute necessity from time to time:)



  2. Very funny, very true. and… gawd, if I think about all the times I’ve been in A & E (our version of ER), they all sort of run together into one. And they’re all like this (and more!) 😉


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