My most memorable St. Patrick’s Day experience happened several years ago. My husband came home from work not feeling very well, so I encouraged him to go take a nap. A short while later, he stumbled out of the bedroom, holding his stomach and moaning in agony. Afraid that something was terribly wrong with him, I insisted that he let me take him to the emergency room.
The ride to the hospital is only about 15 minutes, but it seemed like the longest drive of my life. He was in the most pain I had ever seen anyone suffer and he almost yelled out each time we hit the slightest bump. I was trying to get him there as soon as possible, but I was scared to go too fast because every little movement of the car almost had him in tears. When we finally reached the hospital, I missed the turn off for the emergency room and ended up having to circle around the entire block.
Once I found a parking spot, my husband leaned so heavily on me while walking into the waiting room that it almost felt like I was carrying him. This was a real struggle since he is half a foot taller than me and weighed almost twice as much as I did at the time. Once we signed in at the registration desk and took our seats, the real horror began.
First of all, Steve only got worse and worse as we sat there. There were times that I really feared he was dying, or that at the very least he would soon pass out on me. Soon I realized that it was no ordinary night for the emergency room. When I asked how much longer it would be until my husband could be seen, I kept getting the same answer, “It’s St. Patrick’s Day.” Soon I came to realize why this was so significant.
I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of folks coming in who had obviously had a little too much to drink. The waiting room was filled with these patients who were likely suffering from alcohol poisoning or who had gotten into fistfights while partying at the bars. The nurses said that there was also a surplus of car accident victims arriving by ambulance due to the idiots who choose to drink and drive.
I have to admit it started to make me mad. Here I was sitting with my husband who was in intense pain, and yet we had to wait for hours longer than normal due to the fact that so many idiots were drinking, fighting and deciding to risk their own lives and everyone else’s by getting behind the wheel.
Many hours later, my husband was finally seen and they gave him some morphine to ease the pain, so I was finally able to relax a bit. Since we were waiting for test results, I decided to take a little break. As I walked down the hallway to get a cup of cappucino I happened upon a family who were hysterically crying because they had just lost their son in a car accident thanks to his reckless decision to get in the car with a driver who was wasted.
As I walked by them, my anger faded and I started to feel real sympathy for this family. I said a little prayer for them even though I didn’t know their names. Now, every time St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, I remember that family and the many others like them who have been touched by the foolish choices that other people have made. Whatever you do to celebrate this St. Paddy’s Day, please drink responsibly. A little irresponsible fun is not worth the lifetime of pain you could potentially cause someone else.
PS. My husband finally felt better after a day or two, although the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They thought it might be appendicitis, but he tested negative for that, so they just kept giving him pain killers until he felt better. Weird.