Mario Andretti

My younger daughter and I watched as they rolled her away towards the helicopter. I immediately got on the phone. Jolly Guy, Gingham, my parents, my two best friends. I couldn’t get a hold of Gingham and I ended up calling his mother at 3am. He finally returned my call and thankfully he was closer to the hospital they were taking her to than I was and he would meet me there. My younger daughter and I had to drive back to the beach, pack up the house and then drive the two hours or so to the hospital and I was trying to get there before they brought her in for surgery. Or before it was “too late” We drove the 40 minutes back to the complex in silence again. It was dark, but getting a little lighter as the morning began to shine through. We arrived at the complex and ran into the elevator. The doors flew open on our floor and as my daughter stepped out she screamed. “AHHH!!!” and ran back into the elevator. “What now?” was all I could think of. “There’s a guy in front of our door.” she screamed. Come on, really? I thought. But she was right. I came out of the elevator and saw a man, face down in front of our door. I told her to go to the security office and get help. She was scared and refused to leave me. I pushed on him with my foot. “Sir?” I said. No movement. “Hey, buddy?” I nudged him harder with both hands. No movement. Then as he began to moan I could smell alcohol waft up towards me. Are you kidding me! After the night I just had, now I have to worry about some drunk passed out in front of the doorway when I need to pack and get to the hospital? I was livid and also laughing at the same time. My life, could not get any more ridiculous than that exact moment. I am at the beach by myself, my one daughter being rushed to surgery, the other daughter at security, a drunk guy in my doorway, jolly guy at home, gingham on his way to the hospital. I needed it to stop. Honestly. I took a breath and stepped over the drunken man and went inside to pack. I grabbed everything I could and threw it into garbage bags. I didn’t have time to wash anything or arrange anything nicely, I was in a hurry. A life threatening hurry damn it. Here’s how packing the car played out; I would pack stuff, open the door, step over the drunken man who was still laying asleep in my doorway, put the suitcase or bag on the cart, step back over the drunken man and lock the door behind me. I did this numerous times, until the entire apartment was packed up. By the time I was done, my daughter and the security guards were back and calling the police. We did not stick around to see what happened to that man, but he was still in la la land when we left. By now the sun was coming up and we still had a two-hour drive ahead of us. My daughter fell fast asleep as I drove as fast as humanly possible. She would wake up every now and then and say “Mom, you’re going to get a ticket” to which I would respond, “This is the only time I believe the police would give us an escort not a ticket once they knew where we were gong and why” Then she would fall back to sleep and I would drive like Mario Andretti. We finally arrived at the trauma hospital and I was parking the car when Gingham called me; “Hurry up, they are taking her now. RUN!” My daughter grabber her blanket and pillow, I grabbed my purse and we ran into the hospital, up the escalator, into the waiting area and yelled for someone to help us. The nurse came from behind the desk and ran with us down the hallway. “She’s in there” the nurse said. My daughter and I turned the corner and there she was, all hooked up to wires and tubes. She opened her eyes, I grabbed her hand and said “I love you” and they rolled her into the OR.

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