The ER doctor was rugged, handsome, sharp. He looked tan like the rich get tan, not tan like those who work the land or sell their wares on the sidewalk. He was Greek god tan, I spent last weekend on my yacht tan. I bet he made the softball team swoon. I found it hard to focus when he was talking.
"...going to push fluids and get him on some steroids. That should put him in better shape while we wait for the ambulance."
"The ambulance? We just came in the ambulance."
"No, the CHOC ambulance. They send their own people for transfers. We are just waiting for them to call us back."
"A chalk ambulance?" I felt like an idiot and a moron.
"We don't have a pediatric wing, so we can't keep children overnight. CHOC specializes in children, so you will be in good hands there. I'll have the nurse come in to get that IV started."
I must have been staring as he spoke. Perhaps I didn't even blink.
"Do you need some water?" he asked.
"That would be nice," I said. I sat back down on the bed as he disappeared into the hall.
I turned to Boy Two, who continued to wheeze on top of the scratchy hospital blanket. I ran my fingers through his recently cropped hair, and he smiled. My heart smiled back, and I held him close as we continued to wait. The endless, endless wait.
Getting my husband to the hospital was a logistical nightmare. We had been getting along (reasonably well) sharing my Prius for several weeks, but in times of crisis, Orange Country was not constructed with single car families in mind.
I had first called my co-worker with my hands-free as I followed the ambulance on the way to HOAG.
It seemed like the phone rang forever.
"Hello?" he answered. He sounded like he'd been taking a nap. I tried to stifle my anger as I remembered I had chosen to have children. I had chosen to trade lazy Sunday afternoons for the joys of parenthood.
"Good afternoon. How are you doing?" I stumbled for words, well aware that he was getting an unannounced call from him boss in the middle of his nap. I had no idea how to ask for something that I needed so much, for him to bring my husband to me and our tiny ailing human.
I think he said he was fine, but the exact words escape me.
"Um, well, hum. Are you busy? Do you have any plans for this evening?"
Again, I can't remember what he said, but it was clear to me at the time that he was preparing himself for a laundry list of laborious tasks, several hours of lesson planning and possibly reading a test novel for next year in the following 24 hours.
"I need a humongous favor. I'm on my way to the hospital in Irvine. [Boy Two] is in an ambulance and I need [my husband]. Can you please pick him up and bring him here? Could you please go get [my husband] and bring him to the hospital?"
Sounding significantly more awake, he asked for details such as an address and phone number as I tried to park.
"Thank you. A hundred times, thank you. I will text you with the information. Thank you. I have to go. Thank you."
I scrambled from the car and ran to the emergency bay. Boy Two was unloaded, and I followed, petrified, into the ER.