Reflections from ER

This post is brought to you from the Emergency Room. Clark and I have been here for the last three hours.
Unfortunately, he is the one in the mint green landscape motif that unties in the back. The sympathy contractions (two years too late) that he was experiencing this morning were severe enough to be better safe than sorry. So here we are in a cold, windowless room with the white noise of the IV machine to lull him to sleep, and a dated Real Simple magazine to keep me company. Is it just me, or every time you flip through Real Simple, do you suddenly get the urge to pick up a Fannie Flag novel and a cardigan twin set? He’s got one IV bag left to drip until we can return home to the two pantless children and the pile of half-eaten breakfast dishes that I left with a girlfriend who just happened to be yard-saling in my neck of the woods today. Thank goodness she was here. I feel like I should give her some embroidered holiday towels or a stack of VHS tapes to make up for crashing her bargain hunting adventure. I think Clark will be fine. However, I doubt he will EVER again eat my dad’s homemade trail mix. So, with no cell reception, a sleeping husband, two napping children at home under the care of my friends who missed out on the deal of a lifetime on a yard sale Thigh-Master, I am flipping through the Real Simple’s road tested featured home appliances section very sloooowly and considering this a mini-vaca. Don’t judge me. It wouldn’t matter if it was Biker’s Digest. This may be the first magazine I’ve read in 3 years.

I don’t mind hospitals like most people do. Please don’t think I’m one of those creepy people who hangs out in cemeteries at night because the peace and quiet helps me think, but there’s something about being at the bedside of a loved one sleeping off a trail mix tragedy surrounded by people who are much smarter and who went through way more schooling than myself that makes me feel, sort of… sober. Not in a too-much-Pilsner-the-night-before sort of way, but on any other day, dirty breakfast dishes and inconveniencing a friend and half-dressed children and cardigans would fluster me, but when someone you love is wearing the mint green We-Bare-All-From-Behind hospital gown, no matter what the reason, nothing else matters quite as much, and there is no where else I would rather be.

Before Clark got buzzed off an IV Pain Med and Tonic, our conversation had veered toward the sobering topic of Things-We-Thought-We-Knew-Better-Than-Everyone-When-We-Really-Didn’t-Know-Squat from our twenties. For instance, I was the perfect parent before I had children. My pre-conceived kids would surely sleep through the night, answer “Yes Ma’am” upon command, and for crying out loud, never be caught dead without pants on. Or, better yet, my contribution to bettering humanity meant I had to single handedly solve the urban homeless crisis in Calcutta or be a Bible-smuggler in Eastern Europe (unlike some Western thirty-something sell-out Real Simple subscribers I knew). Right before Clark drifted off into a drugged sleep we asked ourselves the question, “What life lessons would your thirty-something-year-old self pass on to your twenty-year-old-self?”

While I’m just busy doing nothing but catching up on the complete guide to anti-aging lip gloss, I thought I would pose the same question to you. What life-lessons do you wish you could go back and teach your less experienced self?

Doc just cleared Clark to go. Vacation over. Looks like I’m going to have to dig into the toxic trail mix batch if I’m ever going to find out how one lucky reader scored on a Splurge-or-Steal throw pillow with a bird on it. Somehow, I will survive not knowing.


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