I was, however, quite lucky. Because the friendly ER staff had arranged a play for my entertainment.
It was a busy Friday night in the ER. I found a computer and phone to work at, and began writing a note. As I scribbled away, some paramedics came in, wheeling a well-dressed woman in her 30's past. A nurse told them there were no rooms available, and to put her in the hallway, across from where I was working. I heard the paramedics talking. Lady who's allergic to oregano, but accidentally ate some at a restaurant. Brought in with complaints of shortness of breath.
Though this all, Mrs. Oregano didn't move. She lay there with her eyes closed. Breathing calmly. She didn't have an oxygen mask on. A blood oxygen saturation monitor reading showed her to be at a perfectly normal 97%.
After the paramedics walked away, the awesome ER nurse went over.
(curtain rises, play begins)
ER nurse: "Are you okay, ma'am?"
(Nothing. No movement. Nurse checks pulse, blood pressure, and glances at oxygen monitor)
ER nurse: "Ma'am, I know you can answer me."
Mrs. Oregano's eyelids fluttered open. "Where... where am I?"
ER nurse: "You're in the emergency room."
Mrs. Oregano: "Oh my God! I can't breathe! They gave me Oregano at the restaurant! I told them not to do that! I could have died!"
ER nurse: "Do you have any pain?"
Mrs. Oregano: "I CAN'T BREATHE, DAMNIT!!!"
ER nurse: "You're breathing fine, your oxygen saturations are normal and..."
Mrs. Oregano: "HOW CAN YOU BE SO CALM! CAN'T YOU SEE I'M NOT BREATHING AT ALL? I HAVEN'T TAKEN A BREATH IN OVER AN HOUR! IS THIS HOW YOU TREAT DROWNING PEOPLE? I WANT TO SEE A DOCTOR!"
The ER nurse, showing remarkable calm, restraint, and an iron ability to keep from laughing hysterically, walked away. She went into the doctor's area and said "We have a winner..."