I lay with my eyes closed hoping sleep would take me, but it refused to cooperate.  Around me was the constant hum of low conversations from the other three sided rooms.  Each fourth wall was, in fact, a curtain on rings.  The sound of those metal rings on a metal rod occasionally punctuated the low conversations. 

The regular beep of needed machines added their touch to the stream of sound, as did the occasional instruction called out from one nurse to the other.

Just when the rhythm of these sounds was lulling me to as near to relaxation as I could get in these circumstances, an elderly voice called out from the next room.  “Can somebody help me?” 

From the other side I heard, “I brought your lunch.  I think this is meatloaf.”  and the response was, “I’m legally blind.  I can’t see it.”

“Don’t worry about it.  I am here to help you.”  promised a soft, caring female voice.

I then heard a foreign tinged voice asking for test results.  I made a bet with myself that I had just heard the doctor.  I won that bet.   She walked into my little room and gave me the positive results of my tests.  A feeling of relief poured through me.  She had no smile, no reassurance.. no bedside manner at all.  She made her statement and left me there wondering what she had just said.  A moment later, a male nurse with a dazzling smile hurried in. He handed me my release papers and took the time to explain everything about my test results and what I could do to ease the discomfort once I was home.   His name was David and I let him know that I appreciated his help.

When he had gone, I dressed and as I slipped into my shoes, I heard the elderly voice once again. 

“I need help!  I have to pee.”

You have to love the emergency room.

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