Triage [tree-ahzh] the principle or practice of sorting emergency patients and/or casualties in battle or disaster into categories of priority for treatment*
I drive (or perhaps… drove) a 2002 Cavalier. I say he is lovingly monikered Ernie because of my desire not to ascribe to gendered naming conventions, but really it’s because his first license plate was ERN.
On Monday, I was on my way home from work, driving down the highway, bopping my head along to “White Riot,” when all the lights came on and the engine died.
On the highway.
It’s almost as if Ernie said “F**k The Clash!” and rebelled by promptly shutting off.
I managed to coast to the side of the road and called my dad.
One week and a BCAA phone call later, my car is still dead and I’m at my parents’ house.
Tuesday was Fish’n’Chips’n’Glee night.
As we were tucking into our campy goodness, it was as if Bri decided that she needed to rebel against Glee in a similiar fashion that Ernie rebelled against The Clash.
She staggered up the stairs with a wad of toilet paper clutched around her hand and a shocked expression on her face: “Please pause the TV.”**
Dad sat her down while Mom and I crowded around, the schadenfreude-loving rubber-neckers that we are. Peeling back the bloodied toilet paper wad, Dad simply muttered, “I’ll be right back.”
As he took off to the bathroom to find the first aid kit, Bri explains that she was washing dishes and somehow forgot that Knives = Cutty-Cutty Sharp Time.
Meanwhile, Dad is taking his sweet time trying to find a band-aid or anything that remotely resembles a band-aid. See, our family’s first aid kit only really contains empty band-aid wrappers, a tangled tensor bandage, and a first aid manual so old it still says that leeches make a good cure-all.
Finally he returns, tapes up the gaping wound and tells us that, in his expert, accident-prone opinion, it needs stitches.
Bri is distraught. Not because she’s afraid of stitches, mind, but because her current lifetime suture count is 69 and that is something of a badge of honour.
Would tonight be the night to crack the seventies?
Mom and I loaded her into the car and searched for a clinic, but to no avail. Every clinic was closed.
That left the hospitals.
Delta was our best bet. With its near-rural status, the best we could hope to compete with in the ER were farm accidents or “natural causes.”
Once she made it through to triage, the nurse asked her to assess her level of pain on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst pain she’s ever felt (which instantly made me think of this). Bri said, “Uh, I dunno. Two I guess? Three?”
Bri looked at the nurse, thought about this for a second, then added, “If I changed that to a higher number, would I get through faster?”
The nurse was not impressed. She shook her head.
I think Bri was bumped to the back of the queue.
While she was wheeled through to the ER, Mom and I had to make do in the waiting room.
We watched the Food Network, which is really just the MTV of food. Nothing on that network is actually about making food anymore. It’s just reality shows where people may or may not have to eat things.
Bri returned about an hour and a half later.
With NO stitches.
She even argued with the doctor: “Can’t you just give me one stitch? Come on, I’ve waited for SO long! Please…. I’ve come all this way….”
Thus, the results of this week’s triage:
Bri’s Pain Level = 2, or, uh, maybe 3?
Ernie’s Pain Level = 10
*This definition is provided so as not to confuse any readers who might take the prefix “tri-” and the word’s saucy Frenchness to imply something dirty. It does not. Also, I added the and/or.
**I am still not used to the fact that you can actually pause the television these days. It blows my mind every time.
Wound is healing well; Ernie is still up on blocks. Diagnosis: his old timing belt tic has flared up again.