A voice in my head says 'have it checked', but another voice, the one that likes the lawn to get very long before mowing it, says: "just a muscle spasm."
One day passes, two days, three days ...
Seven days now and the pain hasn't gone away.
Finally, the nagging voice wins and I arrive at EMERGENCY.
The triage nurse asks how long I've had the pains. Like a truant schoolboy, I confess to only
She leans forward, smiles, pats my hand, and
The word "NEXT" echoes in my mind. I imagine metal tongs prying my chest open, a quadruple by-pass, a dead person's heart being jammed into my empty chest.
Still, I sit as far away as I can from the other emergency room petitioners. Foolish to pick up a cold on my way to having a heart attack.
Before I know it, I'm squeezed into one of those tiny hospital gowns with too many personal parts hanging out. The nurses draw blood, take temperature, read blood pressure, administer ECG, x-ray bones-everything but floss my teeth.
One hour passes, two, three. Many people in white coats pass, but none stop at my cubicle.
I wonder whether they've forgotten about me or whether they've decided to ignore me because there's no immediate problem.
"As punishment for waiting 7 days, let him sit for a few more hours," imagination's evil doctor whispers to the triage nurse.
I can't quite imagine being dead, but related thoughts stream in: I should have done my will, pre-arranged the cremation, hugged my kids more, told someone I was coming in Š
in the next cubicle–
Like a fish leaping out of the water, the need to escape surfaces. I consider getting dressed, bolting out the door. I imagine orderlies dragging me back, the triage nurse's 'tut-tut' as they carry me back lashed to a stretcher.
Finally, the doctor arrives, scans the charts, hums and hahs, says: "All clear. Guess you had a bit of a scare, eh? Next time come in right away."
published in Haiku Harvest