After looking at the x-ray, the doctor began bandying about the word “hospital.” This was not, however, the moment when I started to worry. The worry started when she summoned the ambulance to drive us the ten minutes to the hospital. When I realized she did not think it was safe for the baby to spend 15 minutes off of the oxygen, I had to ask the question.
“This is curable, right?”
“Completely curable,” she replied, as the nurse showed up to get a booger sample from the baby’s nose to send to the lab. That’s a job I think I would pass up – Snot Analysis.
By now it was noon, and I had called the school to tell them that, yes, the other mothers would need to take my boys home. I was also very, very hungry and unsure where in this scenario I was supposed to get lunch. Selfish though this sounds, remember that I have breast milk to make. I asked the nurse whether there was anywhere in the building to get food. A few minutes later, as the firemen and firewoman arrived, the nurse handed me a baggie filled with cookies. Butter cookies.
Let me reiterate: if you ever have any reason to interact with the staff at UCLA Brentwood, do not fuck with them or I will have to find you. These are the ladies who packed me butter cookies for my ride to the hospital with my sick baby.
The firefighters and I awaited the paramedics who were to escort us in the ambulance, which would arrive shortly alongside the fire engine already parked outside the doctors’ office. “Oh, my,” I told them, “my sons are going to be so jealous.”
We realized that we had a problem. Someone had to hold Lilah in the ambulance, but I also had to move my car, which, you may recall, had been valet parked. I could not leave it in the building overnight, and I was pretty sure the parking attendants were not going to deliver it all the way to UCLA-Santa Monica.
Fortunately, there was a woman doing a ride-along in the ambulance. (I feel like at this point my narrative has the cadence of a Curious George story and this is the point at which I should say, “George was curious.”) The plan was that she would hold the baby while I would follow in my car, a plan of which the head paramedic clearly did not approve. But, I am a pragmatic kind of person, and I knew full well that Lilah would not be any better off with me strapped to a bed holding her than with someone else strapped to a bed holding her. So, the woman seated herself on the bed.
At which point all pragmatism flew straight out the window and smacked into the tables outside Café Luxe across the street. There was no fucking way I was letting a stranger hold my baby with the oxygen mask as she rode to the hospital. The valet could keep my stinkin’ car as far as I was concerned.
And then the very nice fire fighters offered to drive my car over for me. Which is how I rode in an ambulance with the siren on, followed by a fire department car. I can only assume the fire engine went back to the station to await an actual fire. As we drove, cars moved out of the way. I watched through the back window as I held the baby with one hand and ate butter cookies with the other.
It was all very dramatic.