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You Can't Change Horses in the Middle of the Stream

I'm just a man ... standing in front of the world ... asking them to love my writing.

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The wife lives downstairs.

I live upstairs.

That's just the way it is.

Nobody knows but our kids, though I wondered if her mom suspected that the downstairs bedroom was more than just a office with a bed in it.

We'd had lot of debates about it. How with 2 out of four kids left in the house, one of those kids should have their own room . But she insisted that she never had her own room growing up. And then there was the idea that when it got too hot in the summer, it would be cooler for us to sleep downstairs. Still ... and this was the most defining reason ... I allegedly snored too loud and kept her awake at night, as well as the fact that we were on different sleep schedules and I walked around too much at night. Yet she wondered why I cheated on her a few years back ...

The joy of my life ... What truly kept me going, glad to wake up every morning was our six daughters. I loved them with all that I had. They were the greatest part of me. So when one of them was hurting, it turned my whole world upside down.

That's what happened the other night. I had just fallen deep into sleep mode and I hear my name being called. So I opened my eyes and saw the wife standing over me, telling me that the 18 year old's heart beat was accelerated.

It was 12:30 am. And the first thing I thought was that my own heart issues had been transferred to my daughter. That she was experiencing some sort of heart failure, we'd need to call an ambulance, they'd shock her chest and then decide to put a defibrillator inside of her chest.

Her blood pressure was 149/88

Heart racing.

Shivers.

And I was scared out of my mind. Just like when the eldest child was a baby and experienced her first fever. Yep. That type of scared. Just like when child number two had knee surgery. Or when child number broke her arm after jumping on the bed. Same type of scared.

Thankfully her mother had the presence of mind to present the idea of going to the emergency room and that's when my dear sweet daughter admitted that an hour prior, she'd ingested two gummy edibles.

What?!

Someone at work gave them to her.

What?!!

She'd taken one on one day and nothing happened. Taken another one the next day and nothing happened. Then on this night she took two at the same time. And I'm guessing that's why she was now in this predicament ... Stu-piiiiiiiiiiid ...

This is the same kid who lived through the global pandemic and managed to graduate with honors while on Zoom. The same one that was holding down two jobs and was being hailed a leader at both. This was the one who wanted to study to be a writer. This same one decided that she wanted to experience euphoria by ingesting an illegal substance ... And I seriously wanted to shake her. But despite what I was feeling, I climbed in the car with my wife and the knucklehead and sped towards the hospital.

The streets were clear, except for one car far in the distance. Except for a police officer hiding behind a pump at the Marathon gas station. But I guess we weren't going too far over the speed limit to be hassled.

The wife parked the car and I walked my child inside and registered her; embarrassed to speak on why we were there.

Two clerks. One alert. One basically asleep with her eyes open.

One other patient waiting to be seen

Being the time of night it was, on a Tuesday into Wednesday, we only ended up waiting for about five minutes before her name was called.

A resident saw her. He looked young enough to be Doogie Howser. He took her vitals. Blood pressure and heart rate had gone down a bit. That was cool. But I couldn't take my mind off of the fact that we were here in the first place. And I wouldn't feel better until her motor was operating at normal speed.

Then Mr. Eugene came in.

Mr. Eugene looked to be in his sixties. He had on a baseball cap that had writing on it that designated him as a veteran. His speech reminding me of New York speech. Like if Archie Bunker was a nurse. That thought made me smile.

Mr. Eugene rattled off a bunch of questions as he typed the answers into a computer. He was also cautious about how he worded entries, trying to protect her from any unnecessary attention.

Mr. Eugene: Do you remember feeling paranoid?

Are you in pain?

Hungry?

Do you smoke?

Do you drink?

Don't worry. You're going to come through this. It's gonna be alright.

I read that the Indians used to put marijuana in the water and wait for the sun to make it hot. It would numb the fish and make it easier for them to catch for food.

At least you have parents with a good sense of humor.

[To us]: You know they all make mistakes. We did at that age. But at least she realizes what she did. And you won't be trying this again. Will you?

Mr. Eugene found us an empty room for her to lay down and be examined by the doctor. And once the doctor came in, that was the last we saw of him. And frankly I was somewhat sad about it. Because he was the type of guy you'd want to sit on the wrap around porch with and sip lemonade as cars went by ... I didn't have anyone like that in my life.

The next nurse plugged wires up to her to take an EKG. Next she hooked her up to a heart monitor. Then the doctor prescribed Ativan in a shot to calm her down, saying that she would probably get sleepy. He said that we could either take her home or let her sleep for a while. We chose to let her sleep; watching the monitor that she was hooked up to, looking for her numbers to drop.

Even though various nurses kept asking us if we wanted something to drink or eat, we declined. All that we could think about was the numbers on the heart monitor.

We finally arrived home from the hospital at 3am. And I tried to go back to bed. But I found myself checking on her over and over. Just like when she was a baby. Checking to see if she was breathing.

I don't know if it was a mixture between the weed and the medicine, or just the medicine -- which my wife suggested was just like Xanax. But when my daughter's internal clock got her up to use the bathroom, she didn't realize that she was still in the bedroom. So she proceeded to drop her sleep pants and urinated on the floor. I had to direct her into the washroom. There she urinated some more -- on the floor. Talk about dazed and confused.

The next day, she didn't remember anything that happened after leaving the hospital and was embarrassed to know that her dad saw her female bits for the first time since she was a baby. But I was happy. Because I could sense the remorse in her voice and demeanor. And I had every confidence that she was going to return to being the amazing young woman that I knew and loved.

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© 2022 LaZeric Freeman

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