Inasmuch as Facebook can drive me crazy with its ever-changing features and Swiss cheese-like privacy policies, it has been an amazing platform for reconnecting with former classmates and co-workers.
When I posted a link to a story recently, a former colleague weighed in with a comment about a humorous experience we shared that serves as a reminder that we are all our brothers’ (or sisters’) keepers in this life.
This is what happened:
In the late 1990s, I worked at creative writing programs
I was there about six years when a new reporter, a blonde, ebullient pixie from Ohio, joined the newsroom. April Hunt occupied the cubicle across from me and we commiserated often about our lives.
Though only co-workers, we ended up sharing a special bond after a night in 1999.
I was home having dinner with my family when the phone rang.
It was a manager from Wal-Mart.
April had passed out in the bathroom and, since she was fairly new to New York, she asked the manager to call me because I was the only one she could think of who might respond.
I am ashamed to say this but can admit it now. My first thought was not: “Oh my God! I hope April is OK!”
No, my first thought was: “Christ! The indignity of it all! Passing out in a bathroom at Wal-Mart!? How gross! Better to pass out in a bathroom at my website.”
I headed to Wal-Mart but by the time I got there, an ambulance had already taken her to the hospital.
I sought her out in the ER.
A hospital person led me to a curtained-off examining area where April was sitting upright in bed. We chatted and I tried to keep her mind off things while we waited for a doctor.
I want to be faithful to the details of what happened, so the following passage, which includes frank language about the female anatomy, is intended for mature readers only:
There were “things” “going on” with April’s “lady parts” that caused her to pass out.
OK, you can open your eyes now…
A doctor came in and, as I recall, he was prepared right there to do an examination of “things down under” — and I ain’t talking about Australia either.
At this point in the story, it’s relevant to point out that April is a lesbian. So we both enjoyed a hearty laugh when the doctor turned to me and said: “Mr. Hunt?”
That helped break the tension!
I made it clear that no, I was not Mr. Hunt, and before he moved ahead in the examination, that I best be going!
April recalls it this way:
“You, friend, were the one person who believed me when I said I was really hurting. That’s what I remember most. That, and the fact the ER doc called you Mr. Hunt because you insisted you be able to come in and see me.”
It turned out that April needed emergency surgery the next day and needed six units of blood…!
Thankfully, she made a full recovery, part of which included me taking her to a follow-up visit to her ob-gyn because she could not drive. (Picture me sitting in a waiting room full of expectant mothers with a woman who was not my wife. Awk-ward!)
The “Mr. Hunt” comment is a fun inside joke for us but it also reinforces how small gestures in this world can mean a lot.
But I’m still not using the bathroom at Wal-Mart.
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