Sunday night in the ER, I registered and they sent me to the waiting room. It was initially empty, but I was soon joined by a few other patients, one of whom spoke loudly and angrily. Every sentence contained at least one swear word.
“Who would XXX-ing do this? What a XXX-XXXX XXX-er! The Galleria is high-class mall! And they didn’t do anything to help me.”
There would be short a pause and he would begin his rant again. I covered my ears. The man next to me put in headphones.
Eventually, a security guard approached him and explained that there were other people around him and he needed to keep his voice down.
When they called me back to the ER, I was relieved to be away from all that. They gave me a space that was separated from other patients by curtains (no walls). And before too long, I could hear the guy on the other side of the curtain. Yes, that same guy.
I decided to listen to his story. Filtering out the expletives, I gathered that he had been at the “high-class Galleria mall” when someone punched him in the face with brass knuckles. The Galleria called the ambulance for him, and he said they told him that the police would meet him at the ER.
The nurse was infinitely patient as she explained how she would do his stitches, and that he needed to be quiet because there were a lot of sick people around. Some of them even had cancer. (I didn’t like being on that list – made it sound like the sickest of the sick.)
While the nurse worked, he continued his ranting and raving, repeating his story over and over, and the nurse eventually told him that she was done and he was fine to leave.
“I need to find a dry place to sleep tonight.”
Yikes. He had to be homeless. And it was raining. That would stink. Maybe I heard him wrong. But then a friend of mine came to visit and noted the odor, further convincing me that this guy was homeless.
He continued on his rant. “Where are the XXX-ing police? I need to file charges. The Galleria said they would be here!” It occurred to me that they probably told him that to get him to be quiet.
His body pushed through the curtain into my little space, and I could see that he was in the far back corner of his little space. He was trying his hardest not to leave. I felt badly for him – there was no way for me to know what it was like to walk in his shoes – but having him not only verbally but also physically in my space was a bit much for me. I asked him to get back into his space, and he quickly moved. My heart broke for him: He so readily accommodated my request while he could not get anyone to give him what he was asking for.
I remained struck by his statement of finding a dry place to sleep.
As I sat there under the bright ER lights in my way-too-big hospital gown, nervously waiting to see what the plan was for me, I gave thanks that once I got through with all this, I could return to a safe and warm home with a cozy bed and family around.
May you feel all the beautiful blessings in your life,