The Wizard of ER
When he asked me to bare my breasts, I wondered why more men didnâ€™t go into nursing.
I get to ER a lot. During my most recent trip to the emergency room (OK, OK, it does seem to be turning into a bad habit), I had a male nurse who asked my age and raved about how great I looked. You look 25, he said, which even in my bleary state was tough to believe. When he asked me to bare my breasts, I wondered why more men didnâ€™t go into nursing. For a cardiogram, he added, then circled my left breast with littlestickers.
On the other side of my orange curtain divider was an elderly African American woman, all alone, hooked up to some almost-had-a-heart-attack machine. Beyond her was a heavyset Russian man who needed to supersize the narrow hospital cot. He had one visitor. And me? I had not one, not two, but three friends who insisted on rotating in, one at a time, from the waiting room to my side. Talk about a bonanzaâ€”with my entourage, I had the best friends a girl could ever ask for.
Iâ€™d organized the evening to celebrate our friend upcoming matrimony. Not a bachelorette party, which was too traditional for our taste. Just a low key get-your-drink-on dinner followed by dancing at a lesbian nightclub. That plan got waylaid at the Mexican restaurant by me feeling faint, putting my head in Piperâ€™s lap, then full on collapsing as they tried to walk me to the car.
Some time before that everything had gone red and Iâ€™d been blind. And some time after Iâ€™d literally clawed my way out of a dream, my arms scratching at the air, to find myself on a brown tile floor near the heavy wooden legs of a chair with my friends asking if I could hear them and looking very concerned in that holy shit! way that freaks you out even more. Iâ€™d been unconscious for eight minutes, and turned so translucent you could almost see the tile beneath me. Meanwhile the other guests in the crowded New York restaurant were doing a great job of ignoring me and my personal swat team.
Four hours later, a tall 20-something doctor in clogs and sweet dark eyes finally stopped by my bed. (By now my exhausted friends were reevaluating their loyalty to me, trading bets on if I was pregnant and inventing my new nickname. Flopsy). His diagnosis? â€œYou fainted,â€ he said. Since my vital signs were excellent (and if I do say so, so were my breasts), it could have been dehydration. He couldnâ€™t say, but after chatting with me about the type of writing I did he urged me to come back to ER for a follow up. â€œYou should have asked for his number,â€ my friend David said. â€œHe was cute.â€
The next day at the park when an errant soccer ball slammed into me I wondered: whatâ€™s the protocol for asking your doctor out in ER? Just in case thereâ€™s a next time. I have a feeling there will be.