26 March 2003
luck of the irish

About six o'clock Eoin came up to me and said softly, breathlessly in my ear: "Can you please take me to the hospital? These chest pains aren't going away."

I grabbed my keys and offered him my arm, which he declined. He was walking slowly, and it seemed to take forever to get to my car. Like some sort of bizarre movie senario, the beautiful day had morphed into a dark, angry tempest. Driving in rain makes me uneasy. Driving in the rain in the dark drives me into a state of near-panic.

We drove first to his apartment, so he could pick up his insurance card. I waited in front of his building, four-ways on. I finally allowed myself to stop and think. Oh god. He's not even 28.

On the way to the hospital, he was quiet, so quiet that I kept looking over at him nervously. He was leaning way back, his arm tense against the armrest of the door, like he was trying to shrink back from the pain. I replayed the same horrible fantasy over and over in my head. In all the heroic stories, the rescuer always knows how to do CPR. I didn't. I imagined myself running all the red lights and blaring my horn, trying to find my way to Elkins Park hospital.

We arrived, and he was seen immediately, and I was left in the claustrophobic waiting room with nothing but an ancient Zenith bolted to the wall to keep me company. I leafed through a three month old Entertainment Weekly, and then the Sports Illustrated Eoin had brought with him. I quickly skimmed through his sketchbook, then put it down guiltily.

Eventually, I was called into the ER. It was bizarrely quiet. There was only one other patient in the whole place, and the only noise was the quiet banter of the nurses on duty, going about their tasks. I found a chair, and I sat next to his bed. He was hooked up a couple IVs as well as oxygen. He seemed fine, and the pain was gone, he said, thanks to a couple nitroglycerin tablets.

So I sat there, and we talked for most of the next five hours, in between nurses, doctors, various IVs and tests. Talked about everything from Celtic mythology to his various college pranks to my lifelong fear of needles (despite nearly 6 years of allergy shots). He showed me his tattoos (which was extraordinarly beautiful and detailed). He showed me his various scars from glass - burns and cuts. Around 10 he was finally was taken up to a room, and not long after I left.

I went back to school, and realized in my rush that I hadn't even grabbed my cell phone or purse. I got home and went to bed, but it was a long time before I went to sleep.

reading: Pete Hamill, Forever
listening: Ani DiFranco, Evolve

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