The Price of Tea in China: Loft collapses, mind expands at hospital

This past Monday, in the wee hours of the morning, I started thinking about how little I, along with the majority of the student population, know about Ball Memorial Hospital.

And that's when my roommate's loft collapsed and landed on my head sending me on a magical adventure to the emergency room. In the name of journalism, some sacrifices just have to be made.

When I arrived at approximately 1:30 a.m., a medical assistant took me back to bed No. 2. If you are ever fortunate enough to visit the emergency room, do not let a medical assistant put you in bed No. 2 because it is an oubliette.

They will only remember that they put you there when someone like you, who has been severely cranially squished, comes in and they find that bed No. 2 is occupied. Then they will stuff you in a broom closet or begin the embalming process and ignore the next person in line.

This is just one of many services provided. Ball Memorial Hospital will also ignore birthday parties, wedding receptions and bar mitzvahs.

Unfortunately, I was unable to do much observational research because my head and neck were held in place in a wraparound head vice the medical assistant called a "collar." It was very important I keep it on. It was for my own good -- much like being spanked as a child, only less comfortable.

It must have been a busy night for the Loft Destruction Fairy because after only a couple of hours on bed No. 2, I was moved to X-ray.

As it turns out, X-ray has about the same temperature as your standard arctic tundra, but with a more boring ceiling.

It was here that I had a number of neck and jaw X-rays taken, all of which involved "relaxing my arms," which meant that the technicians stood at the foot of the table and pulled my arms downward as if I were a relaxed Neanderthal woman who had come to ER because I had been clubbed by a potential suitor.

At 4:30 a.m. the technicians decided that they were through with me, took my collar off and wheeled me out into the hallway and said, "Someone will be here to get you shortly." And they left me there.

I wondered for a half hour (the time it took for someone to actually come to get me) why they could not have taken me the twenty feet back to my poor friends who had come with me. I concluded that it was because they had things to do, such as making sure no one turned on the heat.

My research was concluded when I was sent on my merry way at 6 a.m. with only a bruised neck and face.

All-in-all, my stay at Ball Memorial Hospital was unpleasant -- mostly because of the circumstances. The staff was unbelievably patient with me, and despite the ungodly large amount of time I spent there, they were the ones who finally reassured me that my neck was not broken, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Speaking of celebrating being alive, my birthday is coming up.

I wonder if Ball Memorial Hospital is booked.

Write to Aleshia at bari_girl@hotmail.com..2*}'-¦haselden 9.27.02 DNEditorial..2SORT&+â-ä2AUDT

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