Mar 16, 2020

This Shit Tryin' To Kill Me

Stay safe everyone.  This Corona shit is getting pretty serious.  They say it's the same type of virus as SARS and Bird flu and stuff but I've never seen it cause so much of a ruckus around the world. Especially for me personally here in California.  All these epidemics I was able so safely watch from the sidelines but now it's creeping to my front door.  All these closures and orders to stay home.  Don't congregate in groups of 1000, then 250 now 50.   Italy is shut the fuck down.  I was supposed to go to Italy at the end of April but now unless something major happens we're grounded. 

The election stuff was stressing me out already and I'm a pretty low-stress dude normally.  I go on Facebook and rail against people who seem to be settling for Biden.  Fighting the fight for everything Bernie has been talking about since he got me hooked over 10 years ago.   Trying to talk sense into idiot Trump supporters.  

Worrying about another 4 years of Trump,  along with Bernie getting snubbed, and now something that seemed like just something that was going to ruin my vacation is now a full blown pandemic situation.  I'm having a really hard time keeping my cool.  I started having tightness in my chest last week and finally went to the ER on Friday to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack.  Short story I wasn't, it was just GERD.  They said most likely stress induced.  I wast surprised.

Sitting in an overcrowded emergency room during a viral pandemic with a motley group of sick people wasn't helping my stress and paranoia.   I spent most of my time just people watching while I waited.  An older woman with spikey hair and white sunglasses in a wheelchair with bleeding leg wounds wrapped loosely in fabric was talking with another homeless looking woman in a wheelchair who looked like she just goes to the ER to hang out and bum cigarettes all day.   I overheard the spikey hair lady say softly "I used a bong" and then repeat louder to the other woman who didn't hear her "I use a bong, I don't smoke joints"  OK that was interesting. 

There was an elderly Chinese woman with a surgery mask sitting across form me coughing endlessly.   There was an elderly man dressed like a 25 year old Weed farm owner who sounded like Slingblade.  The way the room was shaped his voice sounded like he was next to me.  At first I thought it was the teenage boy sitting 2 seats from me who was talking into his phone quietly and it was weirding me out.  

I ended up being there pretty much all day.  Luckily tho if you say "my heart" they take it pretty seriously.  They saw me pretty quickly and did an EKG and took blood.   Later I was called back in for a chest X-ray.   So during all this I would see people come and go.  I even got called into the back to get various tests.  When I came back a Vietnamese family had just walked in the main entrance.  A husband and wife with a teen and adult son.  Another man who could have been like an uncle as well.  They didnt sit together because it was so crowded but the couple sat near me and the mom kept coughing into her hand.  I made note of the seat so I didnt sit there when they got up the next time I came back.  Little things like that.  You could tell most people were on edge about the COVID19 stuff.   Many people asked for masks.  A few were wearing gloves.  People would nervously get up and use the hand sanitizer dispenser next to the door over and over.

They test the blood for some enzyme that builds up if you're having a cardiac episode.  Unfortunately for me, that test takes for-fucking-ever.  Like 2-3 hours to get the result the need and then they have to do it again to compare. So yea, I was there ALL FUCKIN DAY. 

Some friends of mine come see me but wont go inside.  I get it.  I couldnt stay out very long because I was waiting to hear them call me back.  Another friend who's been in the ER a few times recently came and brought me lunch.  My friends are the best. She leaves me when they call me in for my X-ray. 

Some time after I get back from my X-Ray a woman kept wailing and complaining in the other part of the waiting room.  It's separated into two rooms with  the doors and the reception desk in the middle with a small security guard kiosk to one side.    I was on the side sitting right behind the security kiosk.  This woman goes to the reception desk and I can make out more of what she's yelling about.  She keeps saying it hurts and urging them to let her in sooner.  Then says something like "I know it's because I'm an addict you wont help me, but I'm in pain!!!!"  And kept saying shit like that.  They told her to wait and she did for a minute but then she kind of started arguing loudly with the reception people but backed down.  Then a few mins later she goes over to the security guy and asks to use the phone.  She says she doesnt want to be at this hospital anymore and wants to go to a different one.  She dials 911 and starts saying she wants an ambulance and wants to go to a different hospital.  "THEYRE DISCRIMINATING ME!!" she yells. Then the main lady from reception comes and takes her away.   Then the lady comes back and kinda yells at the security guard for letting her do that. 

Trump is on the TV in the waiting room officially saying we're in a national state of emergency.  I get up often to get fresh air and take my mind off Coronavirus on TV and I notice that while I was getting my X-Ray they've set up a big tent next to the emergency room entrance.  No one's talking about it that I can tell, but it's kind of scary.  Like something from a Zombie Apocalypse movie.   I go back and sit down and kind of look around to see if anyone else is acknowledging it. But they really aren't.

I go back to the room with the chairs and the TV.  A woman with a toddler asks if she can change the channel and the lady comes out from reception and puts on cartoons.   I think a lot of people were happy about that.   More people come and go with various levels of emergency.  A lady came in asking if someone could help her daughter out of the car.  She looked like she was in her 20's.  From what I could overhear she had some kind of reaction and was really bad off.   Later the father came asking where they were.  There wasnt any crazy cut off limbs or anything like that. It was pretty boring.  Busy but boring.  They said they were at capacity and had no beds.  When I got called back for my second blood draw and EKG I asked if it was because of Corona and she kind of shrugged and said that it was always like this.   Good news was that at that point she said it was looking good for any heart problems.  EKG's were both negative and my first blood test showed no signs of heart problems.  Mentioned that it could be heartburn related and that it is brought on by stress.  She asked if anything was stressing me out lately and I mentioned that I was supposed to fly to Italy to have a relaxing vacation.  We both sad-laughed. 

The sun is blasting now through the big windows across from me in the waiting room and I've been there now several hours.  I put on my sunglasses and doze off.  Not sure how long I was sleeping or if I was snoring loudly or not I'm woken up by a nurse shouting my name.  I wake, and stand up quickly and head into the back with my sunglasses still on.  She tells me to sit in the same blue vinyl padded chair int he hallway I had the last couple times.  It has arms that swing down in front of you so they can take your blood and blood pressure.   I then just sat there waiting for a while.  Nurses and doctors and techs racing back and forth.  The husband from that Vietnamese couple got taken into the room across from me.  He was having problems with his Gout and the nurse asked him to take off his shoes.  I morbidly wanted to see his gnarly feet, and maybe got caught peeking. The nurse got up and shut the curtains.   More hustle and bustle then some cops come in from some other entrance.  They end up standing right near me waiting for someone to talk to. Everyone is buzzing and busy they completely ignore the police officers. Finally the tech who had taken my blood helps them and no one knows who called them.  They're just standing there like "WTF"... we make eye contact and we both shrug our shoulders.  Eventually someone figures it out and they head further into the hospital.   

Still sitting there now a doctor has talked to me a bit, and I've signed some papers she tells me they were still waiting for my last blood test to be done.  At one point a doctor and a nurse grab a chart and were discussing some patient.  I could make out the word "Vaginal..." and more words I couldn't make out "something something"  Followed by "Copious milky discharge"   Medicine is so gross sometimes.  #reallife tho.  A while later finally the test is done and it's ok.  She tells me all about GERD gives me some gross slime that's supposed to help and they say to take omeprazole to help with the acid.   Kind of a boring diagnosis but that's what it was.  

I walk out finally, past the Outbreak tent where they're now hooking up a large ventilation system with big hoses and shit.   Oh yea which by the way no one there really knew what it was for either.  We joked that it was for a wedding reception.

So now back in the real world.  This pandemic shit is getting worse. People are freaking out.  Trump is as dumb as ever and it's looking more and more like people are just giving up on Bernie's revolution.   It's really going to be hard to shut this shit out and try to relax.   Every time I turn on TV or Facebook it's just more and more and I feel my chest tightening up again. 

I'm going to try to make this noggin be the last I stress about this shit.  Focus on jokes, and art and music and skateboards more from now on. 

Stay safe, stay clean. 

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