Be prepared, this is an all too long blog by a half-stoned and irritable woman who has been injured by the vermin who commute with her…
I have blogged enough about my distaste for my fellow commuters that you, my dear reader, should now realize the full scale of my irritation towards them.
On Thursday evening I was making my way home from my regular 9-5. It had started to rain and I parted ways with my friend Melissa. I hopped the bus making its way down 34th (seeing as I did not have my umbrella) and was on the tail end of a cold that had lasted a couple of weeks. The first bus to pass was packed, the second (on its tail) was near empty. I hopped on, grabbed a seat and looked out the window. All of midtown Manhattan is aflutter this time of year with tourists and holiday shoppers. As Soft Cell played in my ear I watched the people as they bustled to and fro with their umbrellas and packages.
Unlike a lot of my commutes, I was not in a particularly foul mood. I was not angry at anything. I was in planning mode. Due to the current economic atmosphere and because it is “that time of year”, I have a number of bookkeeping gigs that I have taken on aside from my regular 9-5. I was internally strategizing as to how I was going to get everything accomplished and thinking of where I could fit things in. With thoughts of money and work on my mind I exited the bus. I was carrying a much smaller purse which allowed for no room for my umbrella so I was left to run through the elements and make my way into Penn Station. On the escalator I was listening to The Cure and contemplating a bite to eat at Tracks before making my way onto the train.
That was when it happened. About mid to three quarters of the way down the escalator a guy tried to shove between me and the guy sharing the stair with me. The combination of metal escalator stairs and the newly started rain made this rude commuter’s shove damn near lethal. At one moment The Cure was telling me all about the Pictures of You, the next moment I felt as if a cricket paddle had been taken to my lower back and I was staring at the ceiling. The man who had been sharing the stair with me had my arm and was helping me up. He pointed in the direction of a man running through the station, never looking over his shoulder, never stopping to see if I was ok, never making it a point to apologize.
As I stood upright, my knees buckled. I stepped off the escalator and paused at the doors that lead into One Penn Plaza. The pain in my back was excruciating. Putting my hand to my back I could feel that it was already tender and felt like some skin may have been scraped. My wrist was hurting, red and a little scraped. “Fuck!”
I hobbled into Tracks, disoriented a bit and trying to gather my senses. My bestest bartender friend, Nev came over to give me a peck and to see to my order. I explained to him what had happened and he suggested I go to the LIRR Information Desk and file a claim, not that it would amount to much, but you never know. As I made my way there, the pain started to increase, a hot throbbing sensation had now taken up residency in my lower back. I realized my right ass cheek was numb. “Great!”
The guy at the information booth was a sweet man and I am sad I did not get his name. He asked me to wait and I leaned against the counter for support, this was turning out to be more painful by the minute. From around the corner two NYPD officers made their way towards me. They thought it prudent to file a report and to call the medics. As I stood in their office (it hurt too much to sit) a million things ran through my mind: Does my insurance cover all of an ambulance or is their a copay? If there is a copay how much do I think it will be? Is there anything more embarrassing than falling in front of hundreds of commuters? Is it a sin to wish for the perpetrator to fall in front of a subway car and live at least long enough to feel his various appendages being ripped from his body? How is this going to effect my bookkeeping and mobility?
As the medics arrived I had already decided that I did not want to incur a cost for an ambulance and thought I would be tough enough to make my way home on the LIRR and see my regular physician the next morning. The two medics were a delight. The one who dealt with me the most was not a native New Yorker as well and we shared a distaste for many a commuter. He insisted that I allow him to take me to the hospital and I refused. Once all was finished, I made my way back to Tracks, told Nev I hurt too much to try to eat and then made my way to a train that was in the station.
On the train the pain increased to an intensity that became almost unbearable. I turned my face to the window because by that time I could not hold the tears back. As my face became soaked with tears I once again began to wish for the demise of this asshole who had no common courtesy and no morals. Fuck the subway, I hoped he hurried home in time to find his wife shacked up with his best friend who is HIV positive. (yeah, I have a terrible imagination when it comes to foes). I dried my tears by my station and made my way off the train. My car was there (thank God) and I only had a couple of blocks to drive to my house.
I had texted my handful of friends and as I waited for my daughter to make her way home from college I fielded a number of questions regarding my wellbeing. When Amanda arrived we made our way to Mercy Hospital on the outskirts of Hemstead, NY. We checked in at 10:06. Around 15 minutes later I met with a triage nurse. At 11:10 I was finally registered and ten minutes later called back to the actual ER where I was guided to a chair and told to sit (nice doggie).
Even though I had told triage it hurt to sit, here I found myself sitting in an uncomfortable, high-backed chair. Like a five year old who had too much kool-aide, I found myself fidgeting in the chair. I was in constant pain by now and was hoping for a bed that I could crawl into. Alas, there was no bed in store for me. It is the procedure of this ER to have SOME (not all) of the patients sitting in these chairs. By the time the doctor made his way to me (over an hour later) I had neighbors. He asks what happens, I tell him, he asks for me to show him where it hurt. Then, like a circus freak for all of the audience to watch, I found myself leaning forward in the chair, my shirt three quarters of the way up and his pushing on various areas of my back. When I told him he had hit the tender spot he continued to poke at it. It was then I muttered (maybe too loudly) that a good punch to the back of his head might make him realize that I did not see the need to subjecting me to further “examination pain”. Seriously? He then mumbled something about meds for pain and xrays.
Meds….mmmmm. I am not a lover of pain meds. They make me sleep. I never get that happy go lucky stoned feeling that you hear about on TV and in Movies. Nope, sleep for me. Which, at that point, would have been heaven. That was when we were introduced to Robert Thomas (mumble) Killian, aka Bob. Bob came to the emergency room via ambulance. To him I turned over the freak show as now all eyes were on him and listening to his story.
Bob was an alcoholic with a litany of medical issues. He had run out of his prescriptions for blood pressure and diabetes. However, once he started having chest pains, he popped a Nitro (nitroglycerin) pill to help ease the pain. Bob was trashed and not the cooperating kind. So began the entertainment. He found Wendy (one of the ambulance drivers) to be adorable. But when she and her partner had to start removing the layers of his clothes, not a person in the immediate are could stifle their giggles. We could hear:
“Now Bob, we are going to take off your clothes, hold your arms up.”…”Oh Wendy. Oh Wendy. Oh wait, where is my cell phone? Where is my wallet? Don’t take my wallet Wendy.” The nurse entered the room, “Mr. Killian, we are going to take some blood now, it will pinch just a lit…” That was when Bob experienced what I could only guess was the largest needle in creation because the next series of exchanges (though slurred) sounded as if he were struck by a bullet, “Oh goddam that hurt. You lied to me Mami, you lied. You said it was not going to hurt. You hurt me…..” (at this point Amanda giggles, leans over and says, “Ow Charlie, you bit my finger’ – and she was right, except that this was an adult voice it was dead on the same whine.)
So, during the whole Bob process we got the cursing for the shot, the asking for food (and being refused), his calling 9-1-1 to explain how he was being held kidnapped at Mercy and wanted someone to come take him to Winthrop, and finally (once the orderly brought him a snack) and amazing snore that would rival any locomotive in existence.
By the time he was at peak snore I had finally had XRays (another hour later). The doctor walks over and asks me if I had Xrays yet. Wait, should he not have known that? Was I to read my own XRays as well? And he asked if the pain meds had kicked in. Seriously? What pain meds? I have sat and listened to the nurses discuss who was coming in and out, who was dating who, they sent someone to Dunkin Donuts, I listened to the food orders…. These bitches were withholding my meds? (in my head I could hear myself imitating the Cowardly Lion… Put ’em up! Put ’em up! – pain made me delirious). I told the doctor – nastily – that unless they were sent over via telepathy, I had not received any meds and so therefore, NO they had not kicked in yet… as I glared at the nurses. I had already heard how they forgot to order an EKG as a patient had waited for hours.
So, Nurse Kratchet brought me two pills and an injection. The vial looked to be smaller than the nail on my pinky. The needle looked huge in comparison. And as I prepared myself for the lit… “Jesus Christ! That hurt! What the fuck is in that, syrup?” I had become Bob. But holy hell that shot hurt. For a few minutes I forgot about the pain in my back as I was then unable to lean on the arm that had been my support.
I was then free to go home and sleep on one side or the other (as sleeping flat on my back was not a possibility). When I woke today, still stoned, I made my way to CVS where I was to pick up my scripts. There, while stoned, I bought a bag of chocolates, a magazine dedicated to Obama, a ceramic bowl with Frosty The Snowman all over it and lotion that turned out to smell like burnt gingerbread. I looked like a disheveled homeless person, some remnants of the my recent breakfast found on my sweatshirt, short sweat pants with funky socks and my Chucks. My hair looked like Nick Nolte’s mugshot. I mumbled to myself too. I am sure I scared a few people. Somewhere during my shopping spree I began to feel as if I looked like a scene from the movie “The Jerk”…lol
However, when I received my meds I noted two things – one was Meth(something) and the other was Tawat medicine. In my stoniness I thought, I need Meth for my Twat? (sorry, but I was then in hysterics laughing at myself and had to call my friend Erin to share).
And here I sit. 2:22AM. In a muted pain and realizing which other body parts were hurt in my tumble. And all I can think is – I wonder whether the subway caught the bastard or if he caught the wife…