Eulogy for the Mall Lady

I took my son, age 9, to emerg last night. He’s fine now, but there was a scary half-hour when he couldn’t breathe. (Uh, while we appreciate him finally getting a bed and privacy, I would have been quite happy with a bottle of oxygen in the hall when he first started to panic; I’m no doctor, but I suspect you could have run the fancy nebulizer off said bottle as well. For that matter, if you’d given him the slower-to-act steroid when you first told us he was next on the list, instead of waiting till it got worse,…)

They’re good people; kind, patient, thorough, knowledgeable, helpful, but this “bed” thing is nuts.

Anyhow, after things were fixed, we hung around on a stretcher in the hall. It was that or go home, wait an hour, and return for a final assessment.

The ambulance crew came in. We saw them four times in two hours. I saw the head of the person; I think it was an old lady I often see at the mall. Extreme dowager hump and slightly twisted, leaning heavily on a grocery cart. Her hair and clothes were always clean and reasonably new. She would quietly walk around the mall or sit and eat French Fries. The only things in the cart were her purse and maybe her winter coat. I’m often a bit nervous around such people; I think we all are; but she never did anything disturbing.

They said to the trainee, “We called it Code 1; they’ll call it Stat in a few minutes.” Then they took off her oxygen mask and moved her small body to the hospital stretcher. She didn’t move, at least not that I could see. Her head was bent over so I couldn’t see her face. Shortly later a nurse wheeled the stretcher around the corner. No rush.

I wish her the best, whatever that might be. I’ll miss her.


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