Volunteering for the Unexpected

Isn’t it weird how when you’re trying really hard to do something it doesn’t work and then when you stop thinking about it, you do your best?

I’d been dreading last Saturday’s shift (as you know) because it was on an important night for me — Halloween. Plus I really hadn’t gotten the hang of the Volunteer thing.  But strangely, Halloween in the ER became more important to me than I thought, but not in a way I would’ve expected.

I’d heard that it would start out like any Saturday night. Last week,  Tyrell told me holidays always start slow because most people have MUCH better things to do than come into the ER.  So if it’s something that can wait it usually does, and this goes triple on a holiday — at first.

But I couldn’t write about it till now for two reasons:

First, naming names is a total No-No. Every shift we get brainwashed with the mantra: Protect Patient Confidentiality — Protect Patient Confidentiality — Protect Patient Confidentiality (you get it.)  So I had to get permission first.

Plus– I wasn’t sure how to process it all, emotionally. It was intense.

So actually, there are three reason I couldn’t write about it till now:  I wanted to be sure of the outcome with a certain patient before posting this.

Okay ready to REWIND —

Halloween in the ER

Soon as I arrive for my 9:00 sign in, Mira surprises me. The fact that she’s there (cuz she doesn’t have to be) is surprise enough, but more importantly–

she’s wearing ANGEL WINGS!

Talk about type-casting! And they’re not like any “normal” angel wings, they’re iridescent with sparkly mirrors (like they have on those 80’s hippie dresses from India) with see-through elastic arm holes to hold them on and before I can say “Nice Wings”

Mira pulls out a


and attaches it to my face.


Gotta admit, it improves my Volunteer outfit (well, nothing could make it worse.)

After an hour or so, the Triage Waiting Area starts to fill up with everything from Astronauts to Zombies, including a Tranny with a ripped earlobe who apparently got into a brawl with a Dominatrix with pointy metal fingernails. OUCH!

Thankfully we don’t see Dom, but I do smell the barf from the Darth Vader and Green Goblin upchucking their candy into pink plastic basins, while their moms fill out paperwork.

Meanwhile in Trauma…

Tyrell and his X-Ray machine rush to Bed 4 for a moped crash victim that Jacob rolls in: an out-of-it Mime with black smeared all over his white make-up. Apparently the inside of Jacob’s ambulance is now a butt ugly code brown (Ick!)

I see Mira asking an EVS guy with a cleaning cart to do Jacob’s ambulance (nice!) But the EVS guy shakes ‘can’t’ and shrugs (maybe it’s not allowed?) Still, Jacob seems to pick up on what Mira’s trying to do and flashes her a smiley and Mira beams back her biggest grin.

But her smile DROPS —

and Mira starts RUNNING into the emergency parking lot toward an old man on the stretcher in one of those pajama-y Indian costumes.

I’m right behind her as Mira calls out —

“M A G A!”

A tall skinny Paramedic wheels Mira’s Maga (granddad) up to the Charge Nurse saying things like:

82 year old male with Ortho-something Hypo- something — BP something over something – low…

I really can’t remember because poor Mira is crying because her Granddad is disoriented and she can’t get a straight answer. According to the paramedic, he collapsed when he was taking Punjab for a walk and a trick or treating neighbor dialed 911.  Mira keeps asking Maga questions he can’t answer, like —

“Did you remember to take your pills? Where’s Punjab? Where’s My-My?”

And all I can do is get her some Kleenex from Triage, where Miguel stops me and asks me to help this Old Woman in a wheelchair find her husband. I realize it’s Mira’s My-My (the sari’s a big hint) so I take off my red nose and go into–


I bring My-My a blanket and tell her we’re taking good care of Maga and ask if she knows where Punjab is.

I find Mira (who’s with Maga in Bed 5) and tell her I’m taking care of My-My and that Punjab is with the neighbor Mr. Patel.

I take a cup of tea to My-My and ask if Maga took his pills; she pulls out her own prescription and says he took one of hers instead.

I take My-My’s pill bottle back to Bed 5 for Mira where Dr. Adam (when did he get here?) seems impressed that I’ve come up with the pills (maybe new detective skills from that one CSI guest episode I did?)

I call Mr. Patel and ask if he’d keep Punjab for a couple of days.

I tell Anthony my priority is Mira and her family (so don’t effing mess with me!)

And for the next few hours I’m the messenger between

Mira and My-My and Maga since only one of them can be with Maga at a time in Trauma.

Maga gets good bedside manner from Dr. Adam and the nurses – and it doesn’t hurt that they all love Mira (so that’s a reason to volunteer in the hospital, I guess.)

IV fluids for dehydration and low blood pressure, and they admit him for overnight, just to be safe. Finally at midnight, Maga gets a room assignment and I push My-My in her wheelchair as we follow Mira follow Maga’s gurney upstairs.

Then I bring Mira and My-My more tea and some munchies from the cafeteria because they want to stay in Maga’s room with him (and they get to.) My shift goes by really fast and I don’t even notice it’s practically an hour after I could’ve clocked out but I don’t care…

Before I leave, Mira (now much calmer) walks me into the hallway and gives me a humongous hug. I walk to the elevator to leave when Mira suddenly calls out:

“Evie, wait a sec.”

Mira goes back into the room and comes out with her==


She actually puts them on me  and says,

“You earned them!”


I bet you’re smiling, aren’t you Mom?

Something in the Air

Something in the Air

BTW — Maga’s home and doing really well and he was super sweet to let me write this. Mira reports that she’s coded My-My and Maga’s medicines with different colored tape (red for Maga, green for My-My) and that Punjab is wagging his tail a lot because he’s so glad to be back home.

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6 responses to “Volunteering for the Unexpected”

  • […] appreciated.  She thrives on smiles, “thank you,” and people who say, “you’re an angel” (even when she’s not wearing wings). But take her for granted, and she’s instantly over it – ready to move on— done, […]

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  • P T:

    I just found out I was using the wrong email address while commenting maybe that’s why my picture doesn’t come up?
    .-= Check out P T´s latest: NaNoWriMo =-.

  • P T:

    The way you wrote it I can picture the scenes…

    You’re a nice friend. Mira is lucky to have you!

    And BTW CSI Miami is one of my favourite TV Shows!
    .-= Check out P T´s latest: NaNoWriMo =-.

  • Social comments for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter: That post I couldn’t write til now: Volunteering for the Unexpected at Evie Stewart’s Funny Bone http://bit.ly/4aVRDZ, thx for weighing in….

  • DUDE so epic! You can’t make this stuff up, you know.

    Good that you kept your head about you. From reading here, we realize being in a hospital freaks you out, so this is very admirable.

    I wonder what you’ll do with the wings…?
    .-= Check out nicopolitan´s latest: One Of Those Days =-.

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Sentenced to volunteer at Greater L.A. Medical (GLAM!) Hospital... I'm on-call in my worst nightmare -- ?!
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