When we left our suffering hero, Joe Boyle, in the last segment of the award winning series, Grim Reaper – Part III, Joe was deciding between 1) following his doctor’s orders to move his half dead body to St. Joseph Emergency Department or 2) making a break for Starbucks it in a state of panic.
Did you notice I slipped into 3rd person?
Well, I am happy to report Joe did the right thing. Rather than riding in the ambulance which might have set him back the price of a desktop computer, he walked the two blocks to the Emergency Department. The heart surgeon thought his wife would drive Joe, but Joe did not want to give up his free parking space in front of the hospital.
Once inside, Joe contacted the Booking Desk. Actually Booking Desk is a police term. Joe contacted the Admitting Desk, which is a medical term.
Okay, Joe is back to 1st person.
I dread going into Emergency Departments. Typically patients are stacked up all over the place. Once inside, you have hours to wait.
Apparently when you have a heart rate in the 30s, you zoom right to the front of the line. My wait was around 10 minutes.
They rolled me down the hall in a bed that cost the same as a Mercedes Benz. During my overnight stay in the hospital it was their assigned responsibility to keep me alive so I could make my 7:00 a.m. surgery appointment the next morning.
So they told me to do absolutely nothing; and if I needed something, I was to push the big red button which summoned a nurse to my room. They did not want me doing anything for fear the exertion of getting out of bed might polish me off — thereby causing me to miss my surgery appointment. Because I plan to live to age 100 and then coast, I complied with their red button instruction.
As we begin to break in our story, I am still alive but my heart rate has plummeted to an all time low of 19. Because I am competitive, for a moment, I wondered how much lower my heart rate could go? 15? 10? I knew 0 would be a bitter sweet competitive victory.
Typically a defibrillator is stored in the lunch room or out in the hall. My heart rate was so low they stuck the pads to my chest, just in case. They set the defibrillator on the bed between my legs. The defibrillator was so close I could have reached down for the paddles and jolted myself back to life.
Now you must be asking, 1) Does Joe live long enough to make surgery? 2) How low will Joe’s heart rate drop before morning? 3) How many times does Joe push the big red button asking for more hospital desserts?
Tomorrow we will pick up the story again with the fifth and final segment of Westside Story – Grim Reaper.
Until next time, if there is a next time, enjoy the blessings of each day you are given.
Greg Horn says
Great story, Joe. I can’t wait for the conclusion, which I assume went well because you are still writing it.
Did you save yourself? Mercy me!