*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*
I have some chronic health problems that unfortunately have me visiting the Emergency Room at the hospital a few times a year for meds and pain management, and the things I see there are great.
It’s known that airports are great places for people watching. But, in my opinion, the best place for people watching is in a hospital’s emergency room.
The last time I was there the fun began in the waiting room. I was sitting across from a woman who was writhing and moaning in her chair when I noticed what she was wearing on her feet. Her shoes blew my mind.
The woman was wearing a pair of plastic Crocs with sparkly Chanel flair all over them. I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing, but it only got better when I was brought back to my room.
Safely in a gown on a gurney and feeling very nice because of the pain meds I was given, I didn’t mind when someone was rolled into the curtained off area next to me. That is, until she started to panic.
I heard the woman hiccuping from the moment she was rolled in. A steady steam of “Hup! Hup! Haayup!” Over and over again coming from her side of the curtain.
But then, the hiccups turned to cries, and the poor woman started calling out for help from one of the nurses.
“They’re not going to hear you back here,” I tried to tell her. “You’re going to just have to wait until they come.”
“But I think I’m going to die, I know it! I know I’m going to die!” The woman exclaimed to me.
I reached over as far as I could and pulled the curtain between us so I could see the woman. She was crying and panicking, still hiccuping the whole time.
“Tell me what’s wrong,” I said, because I was honestly curious, and because I was hoping that just talking to me would help calm her down.
The woman explained to me that she had gotten the hiccups - yesterday. They went on all day and night, keeping her up at night and not letting her get a wink of sleep. When they didn’t subside by the next afternoon she decided to drive herself to the hospital because… she had seen on a Gray’s Anatomy episode that a woman had died of hiccups.
I did everything I could to keep a straight face and not laugh, but I couldn’t help myself. I’m a huge Gray’s Anatomy fan and I knew exactly what episode she was talking about.
“That woman originally went to the hospital because she had hiccups, but she died of a completely unrelated, unknown heart problem,” I told the hysterical roommate of mine.
“Are you sure?” She begged me.
“But what if I have an undiagnosed heart problem?” she wailed, and started crying even harder.
I felt terrible that I might have made her feel worse when I was trying to make her feel better, but just then a nurse came in and whisked me away for a scan.
When I got back to my place in the ER, the woman was gone.
I’ve always wondered what happened to her… especially how long she ended up having those hiccups.