My parents have a new hospital just up the road from their house – 1.7 miles away. They know this because they had a house guest get frighteningly ill during a visit, and she ended up riding in an ambulance to the hospital, with my parents following behind.
When the kids and I arrived in Atlanta, mom became convinced that someone was going to end up in the ER. And, quite frankly, with kids’ knack for getting hurt, a trip to the ER was a distinct possibility.
Mom may have gone a bit overboard, though, to the point of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I said I had a migraine during my first weekend there, her response was, “The ER is 1.7 miles away.” When my sister had a migraine, she got the same answer.
One night, while my dad was out of town for work and my mom was at knitting, Elizabeth took a tumble off a kitchen chair and came running to me, screaming, with her face covered in blood. My first thought was, “The ER is only 1.7 miles away.” Fortunately, it was just a flesh wound, and I didn’t have to cram all four kids into my parents’ two-seater convertible for the ride.
My dad, Runnerdude in the comments, has been talking about buying a road bike for years – decades even. This year, to celebrate his 65th birthday, he finally put us all out of our misery of listening to him agonize over bikes, and he bought a nice one. His goal was to do an Olympic Distance tri at the end of the summer.
On our last Sunday in Atlanta, he headed out for a ride, intending to scope out a state park at Lake Lanier along the way. About an hour later, he called for a ride home; while tooling through the parking lot at the park, he’d hit a parking bumper and gone over the handle bars. I drove out to rescue him, and found dad bleeding with road rash and nursing a very swollen right hand.
After he got cleaned up and some food in him, he drove the 1.7 miles to the ER to have his hand looked at. The bad news is that it’s broken. The even worse news is that he has to have two surgeries to repair it. He’ll be off the bike for at least two months.
On Monday, I spent most of the day fighting off a migraine. Two doses of imitrex finally knocked it back a little, but I was still in pain. Tuesday morning I woke up feeling even worse. After a few hours, I cried uncle and asked my mom to drive me the 1.7 miles to the ER.
The doc set me up with an IV drug cocktail that was supposed to break the migraine. Instead, it made the pain and the nausea even worse. The nurse told me I had to give the meds time to work, so I curled up in pain for another 15 minutes, convinced there was nothing they could give me that would ever make me feel better.
Turns out morphine is really, really good at killing pain. Two doses later, I was feeling much better, if a bit slow and stupid, and they sent me home.
The final ER score: kids, 0; grown-ups, 2.
My parents may never invite us back.