Page 71 - Vol. VII #8
P. 71

 I could’ve told them it was serious. A bone fragment might have floated into my bloodstream and killed me. That can happen, you know.
treatment for insisting we take Megan to the hospital, but only after he made sure I felt terrible about being overprotective.
By the time I got back to the ER from X-ray, things had quieted down some. The only sound was quiet sobbing coming from the cubicle next to Frank’s. Through a slit in the curtain, I could see a woman in bed, crying. Her husband held her hand, crooning her name, “Ana, Ana.”
“We can go to urgent care in the morning. It’s a lot cheaper than the emergency room. Don’t we need some sort of referral?”
Frank was resting. Clare perched on the edge of his bed, caressing his face, which was white as chalk dust.
I ignored him as I always do when he’s in that kind of mood. I wasn’t going to risk Megan’s life because he’s a cheapskate. In the car, I gripped the wheel to control myself. For no apparent reason, Megan began to cry.
He turned to her and said, “Clare, Clare.”
‘C’mon, hon,’ I said. I twisted around in the seat and patted her good knee. “Everything’s going to be okay.”
“I’m here, Frank.” That woman never let go of his hand, not for one minute.
In between sobs, she asked, “Am I going to die?”
“Now that I was on the mend, I
was getting all the at- tention in the world.”
“Grandma went to the hospital and died.”
As I waited, I noticed a young girl sitting with her mom. Cute little thing wearing a stained yellow sundress. She was carrying a small conch shell in her dirty hands, and she had a huge bruise on the side
The drive to the hospital was long, more so for the silence. Even Joe was quiet. By the time we arrived, it was nearly seven. The emergency room entrance was a zoo, and the admissions clerk told us we’d have to wait for triage.
of her leg. Her mom didn’t look like the type who’d abuse her kids, but who knows? After all, what kind of parents let a child bring a shell carrying who- knows-what germs to the hospital?
As I settled Megan into the only empty chair, an or- derly wheeled an old woman with a fresh cast on her arm into the lobby. She stared at the bull’s-eye rash on Megan’s leg and then glared at me as if I were guilty of child abuse. I would have loved to find somewhere else to wait, just to avoid that woman’s
Meredith: My husband, Michael, gave me the silent
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“Oh, my God, of course not, silly. Why would you think that?”
I reassured Megan that she was going to get some medicine and be just fine.
“And how about Lucky?” she asked. Lucky was a her- mit crab, her new pet. Michael had bought her that vile thing during one of their recent boardwalk adventures. Of course, I didn’t know at the time she’d smuggled the crab out of our hotel room and into the hospital.
 After the doctor taped up my cast, the nurse forced me to sit in a wheelchair to take me back to hospital lobby. Now that I was on the mend, I was getting all the attention in the world. She told me she wouldn’t release me unless someone came to drive me home. Otherwise, I’d never have called Pete to ask him to pick me up. Of course, he was hard to reach. When I finally got through, he said it’d take him a little while to get to me. He was out for his evening walk. What choice did I have but to wait?
“Lucky can take care of himself,” I told her. “Hermit crabs are tough little creatures and used to being alone.”
Just then, Michael appeared at the hotel entrance carrying baby Joe. As he came closer, I debated leav- ing him at the curb, but I knew Megan would feel better with her father along. He buckled Joe into the car seat and climbed into the passenger side without saying a word.

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