With lights flashing and siren wailing, the ambulance pulled on to the Emergency ramp. Four hearses blocked the way. Security came over and the EMT demanded, “Get those meat wagons out of the way! We’ve got a heart attack.”

“You will have to wait about five minutes until they get the body bags loaded.”

A blue SUV with emergency blinkers on careened to a stop. The driver sat on the horn. Security ran over, “Stop blowing your horn lady. It won’t do any good.”

She said, “That’s my husband in there. He’s had a heart attack. You need to get him in there. He’s gonna die.”

“The EMTs are doing all they can, but the ambulance can’t get in to unload until the hearses get gone. It will be five minutes.”

“Well call in there and tell them to get ready for him.”

“I can’t do that. They are too busy to answer the phone. The last time I was in there they had 20 people ahead of you. There’s only one Doctor on duty. One just went off duty after working 80 hours. The other started running a fever and she can’t see patients until her tests come back.”

Security continued, “There’s no room in ICU anyway. They have 27 patients in the halls and as soon as they have a death in ICU, they transfer a patient from the hall into the unit. There’s a contractor up there now working 24/7 to convert the 14 pediatric beds to ICU, but those beds are spoken for already. If you have any kids, you better hope they don’t get appendicitis or something. The hearses are leaving now, so go put your SUV in the parking space. There’s another ambulance coming. They won’t let you into the ER to be with him, and you have to wear a mask to get into the waiting area.”

“A mask? What for” “All this COVID stuff is a hoax.”

Are you vaccinated?”

“No, what difference does it make?”

The next ambulance wailed down to a stop. Security said, “What do you have?”

“Two people. He was drunk. They bounced off another car and hit a tree. Weren’t wearing seat belts. They’re a mess.”  

“The Hospital Administrator just called and said they borrowed pads from the jail and put them in the High School gym. Everything goes over there for triage. There’s a nurse with prisoners to help her. They get triple days off their sentences for volunteering.”

“We’re on the way. We just got called for a shooting at the Mall. I hope they have a lot of pads over there.”

A big Silverado pulled up. The driver said, “My mother fell and broke her hip. We couldn’t get an ambulance, so I brought her myself. She’s in a lot of pain.”

“Take her over to the gym. They have pads on the floor over there. It’s the only space we have left.”

“The gym? Pads on the floor? She’s 95, she’s not gonna lie around on any gym floor. I’ll take her somewhere else.”

“Good luck, but there is no ‘somewhere else’. There is no room anywhere. It’s a pandemic. Are you vaccinated?”

“No, what difference does it make?”

“Ask your mom.”  

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