austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Knowing what is understanding

As I was walking from the parking garage (and I'd even taken notes about which level and by which pillar I'd left the car) back to the hospital my mother's phone rang: it was my sister-in-law, asking if we'd got to the hospital. Yes, we had, just this minute. Good.

I went in to the emergency room and the security guard seemed to have a fair idea who I was, or at least who I was there for, although my mother was of course gone somewhere within the hospital and my father was, I assumed, with her. He explained that only one person could visit emergency room patients at a time and since my father was with her I would just have to wait, but that was actually all right by me. I did ask where a bathroom was, not so much because I had to go but because I knew it might be important at some time and it was probably better to go long before there was any urgent need.

When I got back and was walking over to the waiting room --- and the security guard helpfully explained to me that there were the chairs over there, which I could sit in, but the chairs over in the other direction were more comfortable and were by the TV set playing American Idol clips for some reason --- who should be there but my sister-in-law, who'd had her husband drive her in so that she could be the reasonably competent person on the scene. Also she knows the secret to calming my father down in situations like this. My brother, of course, was sent as far away as possible from the hospital as fast as possible so that he wouldn't faint, as emergency rooms take it very personally when you faint in and around them.

As she was leaving her house, she had gotten a phone call, from one of my mother's college friends --- the rain goddess, as it happens, and it was in mind that we were having perfectly heavy rains planned to last all day. She was just calling to wish a happy Easter, and they chatted a bit about were we sure that she hadn't been invited to a wedding, or supposed to be invited to a wedding, since it was really the sort of multi-state rain she usually produces at weddings. And she sensed that something was wrong, there was some sort of tension in my sister-in-law's voice and suspicion about the timing of the call. So my sister-in-law decided to break the media silence on the event and explained my mother's emergency hospitalization with all the information there was to give at the time. At the least, then, her college friends knew what was up.

Trivia: San Francisco city coroner William Walsh issued a report on the 2,195 questionable deaths happening in the city between July 1905 and June 1906; of those, he found 343 acidents, 36 murders, 177 suicides, 11 continuing mysteries, twelve hundred deaths from natural causes, and 428 officially classified as ``deaths from shock from earthquake and fire''. Source: A Crack In The Edge Of The World, Simon Winchester.

Currently Reading: Ford: The Men And The Machine, Robert Lacey.


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