About three years ago I was living in Stratford, Ontario for work. I lived in a huge off-season B&B with two housemates in a huge bedroom with a king-sized bed and a private bathroom.
One evening I woke up at around 2:00am, with piercing pain radiating through my abdomen on the side where your appendix sits. By piercing pain, I actually mean that I was incapable of moving my body at all below my chest because my entire body had seized up in reaction. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't get off the monstrously sized bed. I couldn't REACH MY CELLPHONE to call for help. I was crying like an abandoned baby. I was a mess.
I can remember reaching out towards my phone and whimpering piteously in hopes that it would come to me when I needed it.
I finally did a weird shuffle-roll which connected hand to handset and called my mom. This is an instinctive reaction dating back to my childhood and my still-present belief that my mom will be able to fix anything that's wrong with me.
Me: "...and it HURTS! I think my appendix is bursting! Am I going to DIE in the middle of this HUGE EFFING BED!?" Mom: "What am I supposed to do about this? I am 2 hours away. Go to the hospital if it hurts." Me: ".......what?" Me: "...Oh.... " Me: "...I'll call you back and keep you posted, okay? So don't worry." Mom: "Fine. If it will make you feel better I guess you can call me back."
I didn't want to call 911 because it didn't feel like I warranted an ambulance, I just wanted to know if I should be in emergency or not. So I called the operator who connected me to the hospital.
Me: "...and it was so sudden, and I am stuck on my STUPIDLY HUGE BED and my appendix is definitely bursting..." Hospital Nurse: "Okay. So on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is a stubbed toe and 10 is being hit by a car, what level of pain are you at right now?" Me: "Uh.... 4?" Hospital Nurse: "I thought you said that you can't move your entire body and you are stuck on your bed." Me: "That's right." Hopstial Nurse: "That suggests to me that your pain level is at least 7 or 8." Me: "I imagine being hit by a car would REALLY hurt." Hospital Nurse: "You can either come in or not, just decide and let me know."
So I hung up and called Telehealth Ontario, which is a free hot-line with a more sympathetic nurse on call who will answer all kinds of questions, like whether or not I should go to the hospital.
Me: "My APPENDIX is BURSTING. It hurts but nobody cares and it's only a four on the pain scale but maybe it's an 8 or even a 9 if getting hit by a car means you only got lightly hit by a car and I can't get off my bed even though I need to pee. Do you think raisins could cause this?" Telehealth Nurse: Did you do anything strenuous today that could have pulled a muscle? Me: "Oh, shit."
Earlier that day it had snowed more than a foot of snow. My roommate, in all of her glorious disregard for pedestrian crossing signals, decided to run across the intersection on the way to work in front of oncoming traffic. As discussed in the post about street screaming, I followed her. But traffic came faster than anticipated and blocking my way up onto the sidewalk was a huge mound of snow. I did the only thing a girl could do, I did a flying leap over the snow bank and promptly forgot the entire thing.
Until the helpful Telehealth Nurse reminded me.
I was still in pain, but knowing that I wasn't dying made it possible to sort of fall back to sleep, after I called my mom to re-assure her that I was fine.
In the morning I explained the entire thing to my roommate over breakfast. When I got to the part about not wanting to call an ambulance, she asked why I didn't just wake her up. She has a car and could have easily driven me to emergency. I could have even called her cell phone from my bed.
I had no answer. In my hysteria, I flat out forgot she existed.
The point of this story? Running across the street after people and panicking about nothing make you look dumb. So don't.