I had an ovarian cyst burst while I was pushing liquor on my martini-promoting job. I went into China Grill, that silly uptown place where men and women smoke cigars in public to prove their masculinity. It was a new account and I was dressed nice. I was a bit under the weather?didn't want to do it?but knew it would only take two hours. And I needed the hundred bucks.
Just when I introduced myself to the manager in his three-piece suit, my ears began to ring intensely. "Hello, I'm Jill Morley, here for the liquor promotion," I said as I shook the manager's hand, adding, "Lovely establishment. Would you mind if I sat for a moment, I'm feeling a little ill." I plopped into a chair and had a seizure. At least that's what everyone said it looked like. My head went back, my eyes rolled into my forehead and my mouth dropped open. I basically passed out. When I came to, the manager had me moved to an upstairs room so his patrons wouldn't think it was the food. My right ovary felt like it had spontaneously combusted. Three medics were checking my blood pressure and asking questions. Was I diabetic? Have seizures regularly? Ever had my appendix out? No. No. No. Blood pressure was low. I went to stand up and passed out again. Then one of my most embarrassing moments ever happened.
The medics wanted to put me on a stretcher, but would have never made it down the minuscule spiral staircase. So they put me in a chair and carried me down to a captive, well-dressed audience at the bar. I joked with the medics that I knew now what it was like to be the bride at a Jewish wedding. They were impressed at my comic abilities, knowing how low my blood pressure was. Once we maneuvered the staircase, they put me on the stretcher. Too embarrassed to look at my audience, I pretended to pass out again: rolled my eyes to the back of my head while being rolled out of China Grill. Through my eyelashes, I peeked down at the array of shiny Italian leather shoes that surrounded me. What a fucking exit.
It was kind of fun being in an ambulance, having my stretcher secured by a calm medic guy named Carl. Not at all the kind of guy I date, but maybe I'll start if I live through this. His energy was handsome, strong, stable. I wanted to flirt with him, but was too tired. The siren was going and we were speeding. I felt important, like it mattered that I was sick and needed to get to the hospital quickly.
Carl softly brushed the hair out of my eyes, behind my ear. Then he said, "We're here, kiddo." He was cool, made sure I got immediate attention. He told me I was going to be okay, that he was going to see to it. He gave me his pager number and told me to call him if I needed him or got scared. In a brave act on my part, I gave him my number and said, "If I don't call you, could you call me? I'd like to get to know you better." He smiled and wrote my number down on the back of a matchbook and put it in his wallet. Can't believe I picked up a medic! I have a lot of chutzpah for an ovarian-cyst-bursting, passer-outer, ambulance-riding girl.
I called my friend Jonathon since I didn't want to scare my parents. He used to be my roommate?my gay husband?before he left me for another man. He came to the hospital with some chicken-dinner leftovers in a Tupperware container, complete with fork and napkin. He figured I was starving. I was. It was about 11 p.m. and I hadn't eaten since breakfast, which had been a chocolate chip cookie.
The nurse grabbed the plastic container away, chastising me about not having an X-ray done yet. My mouth was still watering from the smell of the meat and my stomach growled at her for taking it away. Jonathon used to make chicken for me the exact same way when we lived together.
I was glad to have Jonathon witness the crazy woman with her shaky hand. At first we felt sorry for her and were somber. After a while, we started giggling like naughty schoolgirls. When they rolled her in she was passed out. She came to and stared at me, in the bed across from her, with big glassy eyes. "Where am I? Where am I?" she dreamily inquired, trying to make out what kind of creature I was. I felt like a little girl with a tummy ache in my bed. Pains sporadically shot down my leg. Surely she thinks she is in the pediatrics ward, I figured. She looked at me with wide eyes and asked, "Is this the psychiatric ward? 'Cause I'm not crazy!" Guess I looked more like a lunatic than a little girl. "Why? Why? I don't know why!" she moaned. "I'm not drunk! All I had was a White Russian and a frozen margarita!" This was her mantra. "It's my birthday today. I'm allowed a little something." Her hand still shook uncontrollably by her side. "Your birthday?" The nurse condescendingly said, "Happy birthday." The woman was quiet for about 10 seconds. "Yeah! Happy fucking birthday!" she bellowed.
Jonathon and I turned our heads to the wall, laughing with our mouths shut tightly. "I see you've not been taking your Prozac," the unmoved nurse said while reading the chart. The same mean nurse who wanted me to starve to death. Who Jonathon and I will forever refer to now as Nurse Cratchet.
"I never took Prozac! You have the wrong chart, you monster! You fucking bitch!" Jonathon and I could conceal our laughter no longer and burst into fits of it, even though it was excruciatingly painful for me. Nurse Cratchet shot us a killer look, which only served to heighten the humor in our corner. Jonathon pulled the curtain around our section for privacy, which somehow made the whole scenario even more hilarious because the voices were disembodied. Plus, now Jonathon and I could make faces at each other and mimic the poor lady's cries without anyone seeing.
That may sound cruel, but when 3 a.m. rolls around and you're waiting for test results in a hospital filled with every sicko imaginable, including yourself, there is no humanity. The doctor finally came in and told us that I had an ovarian-cyst rupture. Thank God for Jonathon; he called the liquor promotion company for me. Turns out they think I am a big drug addict and are giving my account away. Fine with me. I just want to get the hell out of here. Forget this madness. And maybe go out on a date with Carl. God, what it takes for me to get a date in this city.