Friday night Finn had karate down in Columbia and the timing was such that we decided to splurge on something I’d been talking about since being laid up in the hospital: hitting the Red Lobster. Laugh all you want, but after two weeks of eating nothing, the commercials for LobsterFest looked really good. We walked in expecting a particular atmosphere but were pleasantly surprised by how upscale it felt. The food was about as good as Sysco-trained chefs can prepare seafood: the lobster was chewy and doused in butter, which did not live up to the visual hype of the commercials. Jen and I walked in with our eyes open, however, so our expectations weren’t completely shattered, but I think Finn expected more from the Ultimate LobsterFest.
Saturday morning Jen mentioned to me that she was having pain in her abdomen, on the right side, where the appendix lives. She’d had it since the previous evening but it was getting worse, and had made an appointment with her GP for the early afternoon. We got packed up and went through the abbreviated testing they can do at a doctor’s office on a Saturday (that place was a ghost town; no wonder modern physicians’ practices can’t compete with 24-hour clinics) where the doctor told us it was most likely a UTI but couldn’t rule out the appendix, or a kidney stone, or something more sinister with an ovary. Their lab doesn’t take our insurance on weekends (again, what’s the fucking point of a consolidated physician’s office if they don’t stay open when people are sick?) so our choices were a 24-hour clinic or an ER. We’ve had middling success with the local Hopkins-affiliated ER, so, worried about possible emergency surgery, we elected to drive to the Hopkins ER downtown.
So at about 3:30 we walked in the door, registered at the desk, and proceeded to wait. It was an hour or so before they called Jen back to get some IV fluids, and the PIV they put in was as painful as her abdomen. The only bright spot at this point was watching a woman down the hall scream curses at the nursing staff about having to pee while rattling the handcuff attaching her to the bed. They made us wait in the hall until after dinnertime, when a male nurse came and shooed us back out into the front waiting area. Here we sat and waited, and waited, and waited. As the sun went down and the air got colder some of East Baltimore’s finest wandered in and joined us; a heavily tattooed man sat down next to me and engaged me in lively conversation about his life, his patent (for a vibrating interchangeable tongue piercing), his jail time, and his pending lawsuit. In the corner, two intoxicated men shared dinner and then made edits to their cardboard panhandling sign with a sharpie. Another man sat at the center of the area staring blankly at the same page of a crumpled magazine for six hours, pretending he was a patient, reeking of hobo piss.
Poor Jen dealt with the hard plastic chairs this whole time, her abdomen still hurting, and finally had to have the nursing staff take the PIV out because she couldn’t bend her arm and it was hurting. Finn watched a couple hours of America’s Got Talent and then curled up in my elbow as it got past 11PM. By 12:30 we were ready to just bail but one of the nurses told Jen they were 1/2 hour away from taking her to a bed. At 2 we were finally led back to a room and the girls laid down on the bed and napped while I sat in the chair and tried to doze. A doctor came in at 3:30 and asked the same questions the GP did, and then disappeared for an hour. Another pair of doctors came in and looked her over, and then a third, and then they finally decided they didn’t know what she had but needed Cipro to take care of it. By the time we got home it was 6:30 and we all shuffled straight into bed.
I had standing plans to help Brian H. and a crew of Scout friends remove the rear end of his Edsel on Sunday morning, but after our adventure I couldn’t face up to a 9AM wakeup. I slept until 11 and made it over there at about noon; when I got there they had the axle out, the springs off, and were cleaning grease off the pumpkin. We hung out and shot the shit for a while, he treated us to lunch, and then we looked over his car. An Edsel is a magnificent thing to behold in person. It’s all compound curves and 1950’s craftsmanship, which means one square foot of it has more style than an entire modern dealership. He’s got a lot done but has a long way to go; it’s a New Hampshire car so there’s rust in every corner.
From there, Brian T. and went and got a beer and caught up, which was a really pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.