Thursday, April 23, 2009 • 9:55 pm
I have the car service driver stop by the apartment. Carole brings me a bag with sweatpants, my wallet, insurance card, some fruit (we're on a diet), a couple magazines. I suspect it's going to be a long night. Max is sleeping; no sense in waking him up. At Methodist Hospital's emergency room entrance, the driver asks if I need any help. I say, “I’ll let you know.” I get myself awkwardly out of the car and shut the door. He drives away.

• 10:20 pm
They fetch me a wheelchair. It's the most uncomfortable chair in the history of seating, two bolts prodding my butt, and I really don't recommend it. B. is the triage guy. Takes my temperature, pulse, blood pressure. When he starts to type my information on the computer, I stop him. “Realistically,” I say, “how long before I see a doctor?”

He says, “Realistically, about four hours.”

“And, just to play out the scenario, the doctor's going to push on me knee and ask if that hurts and then give me a Motrin and an Ace bandage and tell me to go see an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible?”

B. says, “That's just about right.”

So, I ask for—and receive—an Ace bandage and a Motrin. No charge. There's a car service at the entrance waiting for a pickup. I tell him he can make ten bucks with me and be back here in three minutes. I go home.

• 11:20 pm
I'm on the couch. Carole brings me a bottle of water and an apple (we're on a diet), the phone (“Call me,” she says), and Tupperware with a lid “in case you have to pee.”

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