Christmas Eve at the Emergency Room
Christmas Eve started off well enough. I got all kinds of things done in the morning, including wrapping all the presents I’d bought the day before, and finishing decorating the house—I like to plan ahead, but only to a certain extent. Then I made a cheesecake to take to my brother’s house later for a family get together. Sometime around noon, I started feeling a little strange, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Right before we were about to leave, I went upstairs to finish getting ready, and that’s when I had a rather shocking revelation: something wasn’t in the place that it normally was. In fact, according to my rudimentary knowledge of female anatomy, something was definitely in a place that it should NEVER be. I had a moment of panic, then I did what any reasonable person would do—I screamed for Ken. After discussing it with him, I called my doctor’s emergency line. I got an answering machine which told me that no one was available to take my call. Which makes sense, right? I mean, why staff an emergency line on a holiday? People with holiday emergencies can just go f*ck themselves, or wait for the office to open on Tuesday. So I called Telehealth Ontario, and after a very convoluted conversation with a nurse, during which she told me several anecdotes about surrogate grandmothers and breastfeeding 12 year-olds, she told me what I had already assumed. I’m not going to get into the details—that’s not necessary; in fact, that’s the point of the story if you’re patient (no pun intended, haha)—but within the next 5 minutes, Ken and I were on our way to the hospital emergency room. I envisioned a ward of hundreds of sneezing, sniffling people, all in line ahead of me, but when we got there, it was actually really quiet. We saw the triage nurse within ten minutes, I got put in a bed in a private room with a nice, warm blanket, then we waited for the doctor. And we waited. And we waited. 2 hours later, I was visited by a lovely young man who looked African but was educated in England, judging by his charming accent and the way he exclaimed, “Bloody hell” as he tried unsuccessfully to make a 3D diagram of my problem out of Kleenex. In the end, he reassured me that while it was frightening, I would live to see Christmas, and he referred me to a specialist who would call me to arrange an appointment. Also, he told me to go home, get lots of rest, and not do ANY work for the next few days, which is why I’m writing this a day early while Ken cleans the house and makes scones. But on the way home, I started to get really pissed off. I said to Ken, “This is SO unfair! I had to spend Christmas Eve in an emergency room, and it wasn’t even for some COOL reason. What am I supposed to say to people? Instead of being all like “Ooh, wow!”, people will just be worried. Why couldn’t it have been something like….” And here I was stumped. I couldn’t think of anything offhand that would actually be a COOL reason to go to the emergency room. “Come on, Ken,” I said. “Think of something that would make people be all amazed.” So Ken and I tried to brainstorm:
Ken: I know. You broke your butt.
Me: In what possible universe would “breaking your butt” be cool?! That’s not cool, it’s just embarrassing!
Ken: Oh, ok…what about…getting shot in the butt?
Me: What?! How is that any better? It`s still your BUTT!
Ken: Well, maybe you got shot in the butt while you were trying to save someone from being kidnapped or something.
Me: It sounds more like you were running AWAY from kidnappers instead of trying to rescue someone from them. And it’s still your butt. Wait, what about this? You were carving the turkey for Christmas dinner and you accidentally cut off your finger, so you had to go to the emergency room to have it reattached.
Ken: THAT’S not cool.
Me: Why the f*ck not?!
Ken: You cut off your own finger. That’s not cool; that’s just careless.
Me: I’ve got nothing else.
Ken: Me neither.
Bottom line: There is NO cool reason to go to an emergency room.
Earlier that week: I have a festive misunderstanding.
Last Monday, I went out for lunch with my two aunts. We went to a local Indian restaurant called ‘Tandoori Night’, which is supposed to be one of the number one Indian restaurants in the region. It was a beautiful looking place with a lovely atmosphere, but things got off to a bit of a rocky start when the waiter, who seemed to be new, had difficulty describing the specials.
Us: So what are the specials today?
Waiter: They’re all curry.
Aunt: What do you mean, ‘they’re all curry’?
Waiter: The chicken special is curry, the lamb special is curry, the beef special is curry. Aunt: What about the seafood special?
Waiter: It’s curry.
Aunt: Yes, I get that, but which curry is it? There are 3 different types of seafood curry on the menu.
Waiter: It’s the shrimp. Curry.
Me (trying to be helpful): I think he means that it’s shrimp with a curry sauce?
Waiter: Yes. Shrimp with a curry sauce.
Aunt (exasperated): OK, let me explain. There are 3 chicken curry dishes on the menu, and they are all different. Which one is it?
Waiter: It’s the one with the green chiles.
Aunt: Sigh. Just give the Chicken Vindaloo.
5 minutes later, we heard the owner taking an order from the table behind us, and sure enough, he was pointing out each dish on the menu that was the special for the day, which made things a lot clearer. In the end, I ordered the Tandoori Chicken and it was absolutely delicious; the reviews weren’t lying. Aside from the waiter, who wasn’t a great communicator but was actually a pretty good waiter, we were all really happy with our food and the general experience. When we went to the counter to pay, we complimented the owner on the food, and I told him I’d definitely come back again, possibly with my husband. He was pleased and said, in his heavily accented English, “Vee’re also open on Christmas Day.” I expressed the thought that it would be awesome to have Indian take-out on Christmas Day, but my aunt said to him, “But that means you have to work though, right?” The conversation which ensued is a wonderful demonstration of how an accent can throw off an entire conversation, and make me look like an idiot at the same time.
Owner: Yes, I have to vork all day. It’s too bad—it’s a big Sikh day.
Me: Oh, what do you call it?
Owner: Tandoori Night.
Me: Like the restaurant? Cool.
Owner: Yes, that’s the name of the restaurant.
Me: Oh, I see. No, I meant, what do you call your Sikh day? Does it have a special name? Owner: No… (goes over to a table)
Aunt (sotto voce): You know, I don’t think he’s Sikh.
Me: But he said it was a big Sikh holiday. Maybe the other employees are Sikh? Although, I didn’t know the Sikhs had a celebration around this time of year…
Me to Owner: So, do you celebrate your special day at the same time as Christmas or do you have it some other time in December?
Owner (confused): We don’t have ANY celebrations in December.
Me: I’m sorry, I thought you said that Christmas was a big Sikh day…
Owner: Yes, because everyone calls in ‘seek’. No one wants to vork on Christmas. Just like New Year’s Day. They all go out and party, party, then they all call in seek, hahaha! So I have to vork.
Me: So not a holiday, then.
Owner: Not for me, hahaha!
Aunts: *hysterical laughter*
Me: Oh my god, I have never been so embarrassed in my life.
Aunts: *continue laughing hysterically*
Moral of the story: Know your religious festivals. Happy Kwanzaa, everyone.