I managed to restrain Ric at the corner of Holy Shit and He’s Running Into Traffic until the ambulance arrived.
“Why did you jump out of the car, sir?” the EMT asked.
“Because Jon-Marc would not stop and get me cigarettes! That’s why!”
It was true. I would not stop to get Ric cigarettes. The reason I would not stop to get Ric cigarettes was because he agreed to go to the hospital and I was racing there before he changed his mind, something he did twenty-seven-hundred times a minute.
Like everything else in our life, a seemingly simple drive to the hospital was turned into a chaotic mess starring the dynamic duo of dysfunctional and delusional. There was no way to go from point A to point B unless we first made pit stops at points C through Z.
“Can you take him to UMC please? That’s where we were heading when he jumped out of the car. That way his doctor can be his attending physician. Otherwise if you take him to [a hospital I refuse to name because it is so abysmal] we will be forced to have him transferred, which will take hours and delay him getting treatment for his condition, a condition that is getting worse by the minute”
At that point one of the EMT’s was already talking to Ric in the back of the ambulance.
“He has HIV, just started taking meds that he runs out of today and I convinced him to go to UMC because he is delusional and growing increasingly dangerous to himself and perhaps to others”. It was all part of the same song I’d been singing for weeks every time I spoke to a medical professional about Ric.
“Sir, we can’t take him to UMC. We have to take him to [the shittiest hospital this side of the Hudson]. But as you said, just get his doctor to order the transfer to UMC”.
I followed the ambulance to [if I am ever put in this particular hospital, someone please just come and pull the plug and shoot me full of a thousand bullets to make sure I’m dead]. When I arrived the ER doctor was already talking to Ric.
“Mr. White, can you tell me who the president is?”
“Bush but soon to be Obama” Ric replied.
“Can you tell me what month it is?”
“Oh for fuck’s sake! Yes, he can tell you what month it is! Yes he can tell you who the president is! He can tell even recite his home address! For the love of God, would someone please ask him about his dog Mojo, his home in the Virgin Islands, his new car and his yacht off the coast of Fiji?” I screamed.
“And you are?” the doctor asked, turning his attention to me.
“I am his Civil Unioned Partner” As I said it, I noted the acronym CUP in my head. I’m his CUP. Cute though CUP does not roll of the tongue the way husband does.
“He needs to be transferred to UMC right away” I continued.
“Well we are going to run some test here. Who is his doctor? His doctor would be the one that would order the transfer”
“I know that his doctor would be the one ordering his transfer. So please, whatever you do, get Dr. M on the phone and tell him to transfer him to UMC. That’s where we were headed when he jumped out of the car and we were forced to come to [if you are ever in this hospital you should do yourself a favor and go ahead and off yourself]. I don’t want him admitted here”
“He tried to jump out of the car?” the doctor responded, genuinely unaware of why Ric was brought in.
Are you f’in kidding me??? You don’t know why the guy you are treating is here? Do they even screen the doctors at [sometimes I have nightmares about being tied down with barbed-wire to a gurney in this place as they are wheeling me into surgery] or do they just have them watch a couple of episodes of Grey’s and give ‘em a stethoscope and some scrubs and then throw them on the floor of the ER for some hands-on training? I thought, for fear that if I said it out loud they might declare me dead right on the spot and start lifting my organs from my still-warm-to-the-touch body.
“Mr White, why did you try to jump out of the car?”
“He didn’t try to jump out of the car. He did jump out of the car!” I replied.
“Sir, I am talking to Mr. White. Now, Mr. White, why did you try to jump out of the car? Were you trying to get away from someone?” said the doctor, staring right at me.
“What? What does that even mean? He jumped out of the car because he wanted cigarettes. The reason he jumped out the car is irrelevant. The man JUMPED. OUT. OF. THE. CAR! He is suffering from HIV dementia or AIDS dementia complex. Either way, he needs help and quick and I want him transferred to UMC where his doctor can see him”
“Mr. White, is that true? Did you try to jump out of the car because you wanted cigarettes” the doctor said as his attention turned to what looked like a Blackberry.
“Why do you keep saying try? He didn’t try! He jumped out of the car. There was no trying involved. He opened the door and jumped out and then ran into traffic”
“I jumped out because he wouldn’t get me cigarettes. I wanted cigarettes and Jon-Marc wouldn’t stop and get me some”
“Well, you know Mr. White, cigarettes are bad for you”
“Well, you know doc, I hardly think lung cancer or heart disease or anything smoking related is at the top of our worries right now. With all due respect, could you please call Dr. M? I can give you his number” I said.
“I’d like to run some tests to see if Mr. White has toxo. Are you aware of what toxo is, sir?”
No, I am not. But I do know what push-me-too-far-you-mother-fucking-piece-of-doctor-caca-and-I-will-go-psycho-on-your-ass-and-if-you-don’t-start-listening-to-me-I-am-going to-take-that-Blackberry-and-make-it-a-permanent-part-of-your-face is.
“No, what’s toxo?” I replied, keeping my thoughts to myself.
As Doogie Whoseit schooled me in all things toxo I quickly caught on to what was happening. Though toxo is serious there was no reason that the test could not be performed once Ric was transferred to UMC. No, the reason we were being held up at [I’m serious as a heart attack. If you have a heart attack do not go to this place!], at least in my mind, was because the ER was slow and they wanted to get as much money as they could before they transferred Ric. Call me paranoid but I think ERs are like traffic cops -- They have a quota to meet.
Six hours later and he still had not been transferred.
“Why are you putting an IV in?” I asked as the nurse tried to find a vein on Ric’s arm.
“The doctor ordered it before Mr. White is taken upstairs” the nurse replied, still jabbing away at Ric’s arm.
“Taken upstairs as in being admitted over night?” I said as I faced the other direction so as not to watch her using Ric’s arm like a dart board..
“I don’t know. I’m just doing as I was told”
“First of all, he is being transferred to UMC and secondly, if you are going to put an IV in, you better restrain him. He will pull it out if you don’t”
“Mr. White, you’re not gonna pull this IV out of your arm, are you?” the nurse said as she rolled her eyes in my direction.
“He jumped out of a moving car! He wouldn’t think twice about pulling it out. And, did you just roll your eyes at me?
“Noooo. I wouldn’t pull it out. I never pull IVs out. He’s lying. Jon-Marc is lying” Ric responded like a five year old child getting ready to pull one over on his parents.
“Ok, that’s it. I’m done! I’m freakin’ done! Get your own damn help with all the lovely people at this sorry excuse for a hospital. I am going home. Good luck. Besides I’ve got to walk the dog”
As I was walking Trotter the phone rang.
“Yes, Mr. McDonald. I wanted to let you know that Mr. White is in the process of being transferred to UMC” the nurse on the other end explained. “To make things easier on him next time, you should take him straight to UMC. There was really no need to bring him here first”
“You don’t say? Straight to UMC next time? Now there’s an idea. I’ll keep that in mind, you know, next time. Thanks for the ad…Oh shit!”
“No, nothing. I just stepped in my dog’s poop. I guess I was so distracted by the fabulous suggestion you made that I wasn’t paying attention and stepped in my dog’s business. Is there anything else?”
“Not really. Just remember to take him directly to UMC next time. That is, after all, where his doctor is ”
I was, officially, in Dante’s 9th circle of hell.
Part XVII soon