Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Banana Stand

adapted from a post on 365 attempts [at life]

This isn’t going to be very well written or funny (unlike my other masterpieces.) Bear with me, and you’ll understand why.  It starts with a banana.

Earlier this week, one of my dearest friends, Trish, who lives in Scotland, tweeted this photo to me, and to a friend of hers:

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I enthusiastically responded with the greatest idea of the 21st century.  (Make sure you read the text at the bottom of the image.)

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                                               courtesy of The Bloggess, aka my hero 

Trish’s friend jumped on the bandwagon too, and we all began to send photos of our respective fruit creations.

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Then, on Thursday night, I am woken up by my husband having chest pains.

If you know me at all, it won't surprise you to hear that I've often wondered how I'd deal with a moment like this.  Tony’s only 43, yes, but he has high blood pressure doesn't exercise a ton and is stressed a lot of the time, and doesn’t exactly live on kale sprouts and kombucha.  I'm constantly worried about his health.  Also, I'm the slightest bit dramatic.  But now, here we are.

This is what I’m thinking as I dial 911 in slow motion, and tell the operator what's happening, and struggle into the clothes I’d been wearing the day before.  I keep talking to Tony, making sure he hasn’t passed out, or worse, as I run around the house, closing windows and grabbing keys.  Within minutes, a bunch of men in uniforms are storming through our front door, attaching clips to Tony’s chest and asking a lot of the same questions over and over: is he dizzy, did he take any medications, how long has he been feeling this.   I sit down next to him and hold his hand, which doesn’t seem especially productive, but it’s all I can think to do.  All I want to say is, “If you promise me this isn’t a heart attack, I promise I won’t kill you.”

But the ambulance technician doesn’t seem to think it is.  From Tony’s heart rate, he deems that the pain is likely not cardiac related.  As they load Tony onto one of those chair stretcher things, it dawns on me that we might be at the hospital for a while.  So, thinking of Anne Lammott’s adage how when the going gets tough, stay calm and share your bananas, I grab one off the counter and sprint after them.  The men transfer Tony from the stretcher chair to the actual stretcher in the street in front of our house, and then into the ambulance, and since I’m not allowed to ride in the back with him, I watch helplessly as they close the doors, clutching my purse to my chest.  And then, in that practical way women do (“must not smush banana while husband might be dying”,) I reach in to put the banana on the top of my purse.  And that’s when I see the one I’ve grabbed.

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There were 4 other bananas in the bowl, and none of the rest were marked, and Tony is now in an ambulance, so you can’t blame me for taking this as a sign.  I hold it up to him through the window, and we both try to smile.  Then I get into the front seat with the driver. 

Here’s something you might want to know: when the patient’s condition isn’t serious, ambulances don’t flash the lights or run through stop signs.  They trundle along, waiting for reds to turn green more than any Montreal taxi driver you’ll ever meet, driving like 80 year olds, although I could swear this particular driver is no more than 12.  The journey to the hospital is excruciating, but also reassuring – I figure if Tony was really in trouble, they would have used the sirens.  

Needless to say, he isn’t in trouble.  The people at Montreal's St. Mary’s emergency unit are awesome – I highly recommend them, should you be in the unfortunate position of needing their services – and after a lot of testing, the doctors conclude that it's a really bad muscle strain, which stretches across the left side of his chest.  But we still have a long wait, with a lot of people coming in and questions.  Naturally, somewhere along the way, Tony eats the banana. 

Right now, he’s snoring in bed, full of Robaxicet and Tylenol, as the pain has affected his neck, too.  You know how men are with pain – earlier, when I was trying to get him to eat, I asked what he’d have if he could have anything on earth, and he said, weakly, “Heroin.”  But I’ve never felt more grateful for his complaining; or for a rainy, spring morning.  Or for my faraway friend in Scotland and her lovely silliness, and the synchronicity of a piece of fruit. 

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