I write. It’s what I do. I got a random text last night from a colleague of a friend who I think would mesh with me on a personal level. We’re scheduled to have lunch on Monday. She texted last night– she’s a fellow journalist– hoping I could review her application for a special project. Let’s just call it a grant.
I needed that last night. I received a text from her this morning. She’s never requested my professional skills before, and I didn’t really think about that before I agreed to help her. I just heard, “I need someone to look at my thoughts.” And the former managing editor/grant writer in me just kicked in. She was on a tight deadline, and I was close to bedtime. But I did what I could.
Her text this morning said, “Holy shit. You’re good.”
But let me back up… and let me tell you why I’m struggling to digest the 24-hours of my life that started with 3:30 p.m. on Valentine’s Day and ended after work yesterday.
Happy Valentine’s Day, The Teen!
So, The Teenager considers the hamburger chain Fuddruckers one of her favorite restaurants in the world. Which is funny when you consider her favorite, favorite restaurant in the world is Kachapuri in Moscow. And mine, too.
We had a Fuddruckers a few blocks from her grandparents house for a couple years when she was in preschool. Her connection to this place goes back that far.
They closed it when she was about four. The two closest Fuddruckers now are in Hershey (1.5 hours away) and in New Jersey (1 hour away). We drove by the exit for the Hershey Fuddruckers during our service dog appointment Monday. But I wasn’t hungry, and at this point I can confirm that poor diet spikes my blood pressure.
Somehow, we negotiated a trip to Fuddruckers in New Jersey for Valentine’s Day. But a wrinkle came to the plan when her car’s service appointment took longer than anticipated, and more money than anticipated. But we decided to go anyway. Because at this point, the poor kid is miserable. She got nailed with owing federal income tax, her car insurance has doubled and her car is an enormous money pit that might be a ticking time bomb. Really, the transmission might be next. But we’re working on manifesting luck and joy. Hamburgers, it is!
I locked up the house and I discover an envelope in the incoming mail. The design of the envelope itself ruins the surprise of what’s inside. These kids today, they have all the tension stripped from their lives.
Now, our trip to Fuddruckers was officially a celebration.
And this Fuddruckers, according to the Teenager, is way better than the Hershey Fuddruckers. We’re apparently connoisseurs now.
Note to self: my bacon bacon jamburger was amazing.
Conversations in the car got a little heavy as conversations in the car normally do, and I went to bed missing my family. But that’s another feeling for another day.
Wednesday, February 15
I performed well at work on Tuesday. Perhaps too well, at 132 fixes. My official observation was nearly 107%. I felt the warning creaks in my body Tuesday night that maybe all the car rides and the full day at work might have stressed my lower extremities.
This story takes a turn, and could have ended in tragedy, but it didn’t. But it’s a lot of emotion and a friend nearly lost their life. So if that doesn’t appeal to you, stop reading.
There’s a crew of us at work. We all used to work second shift together. Then we moved to the 10-hour Sunday cohort, Then we moved to day shift. When they rearranged to break schedule to make larger lunches, we gravitated together. And I’d like to believe we have a bond.
One of us went to the hospital Superbowl Sunday with chest pains. This person has a history of past heart attack. And the hospital, from what we understand, tested for hernia, gall bladder and gave an EKG but never did cardiac enzymes. They sent our friend home. This person has been in intense chest pain on and off since Sunday. This person forces themselves to come to work on Wednesday, because we all need to work. We’re not living lives of leisure and passive income.
We’re sitting at our normal morning gathering spot in the breakroom, and we had seen the car of the person in question, but this person had not arrived in the breakroom. We figured this person needed to talk to supervisors. Makes sense.
I receive a text. “Are you at work? If so come to my car.”
My friend was sitting in the car, tears streaming, clutching at the chest, stating there was pain in the arm. My friend was about to throw up from the pain. Apparently, my friend planned to drive to another hospital after a supervisor offered to call an ambulance. We went into the building, where my friend went into the bathroom. Another colleague had to escort her out of the restroom.
This is when another friend declared that an ambulance had to come and told our supervisors to call. And our security head monitored vital signs.
Our most confident and bossy colleague went to the hospital and we’re told she kept the staff on their toes.
Our friend had a heart attack in front of us.
Our friend received the care needed, but THREE DAYS after first going to the ER.
I’m angry at the system. And I feel guilty for not pushing harder for better care sooner.
But right now, we’re all solemn and grateful that we didn’t lose a friend.
ADVOCATE for yourself and your loved ones.