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I could hear his gut wrenching screams from down the hall. There were no individual rooms in the ER. It was just a long row of beds down a hall that reeked of bleach and ammonia. The beds were separated by curtains. And behind one of those curtains, Thomas was screaming to the top of his lungs and putting up a fight with the nurses. From the sounds of things, I really couldn’t tell who was winning.
“Get the fuck away from me! Get your goddamned hands off of me!” I looked at Mama in horror. What the hell were they doing?
A nurse came whizzing by us, and I grabbed her arm. “What in the world is going on?”
As I said that, Thomas let out another string of profanities and then, “NO! NO! You are not putting that in my dick! GOD PLEASE DON’T!”
Wide eyed, I looked back at the nurse.
“They are trying to get a catheter in him and get him started on a stomach pump. He’s not making things easy as you can hear.”
And she whizzed past us down the hall.
I turned to Mama who didn’t hide her smirk quick enough. She was loving this.
“Seriously? This is funny to you?” I snapped at her.
Thomas started screaming again, but nothing I could clearly make out.
“Yeah, a little. But I’m here.”
I rolled my eyes, but she was right. She was here.
“Sit here, Melanie. I will be right outside those doors. There is a payphone out there, and I’m going to call around and see if I can’t reach his mother.”
I slumped down in the uncomfortable metal chair. “Okay, thanks, Mama.”
Thomas had quieted down. The nurse was kind enough to step out from behind the curtain to tell me they had managed to get the tube down his throat, and they were now pumping saline water into his stomach. This would cause him to vomit up the ingested pills. After his stomach was emptied of its contents, they would give him charcoal to absorb any remaining toxins. It was nasty business, but he would be fine.
About an hour later, Rena showed up at the hospital strutting in on wobbly high heels looking a hot drunken mess.
“Where the fuck is my son?” She started screaming, that hot tempered Italian blood boiling out of her. She looked up and down the ER hall until her bloodshot eyes landed upon my mother.
“Thank you for calling, Jenene, but I’ve got it from here.”

“Sure thing, Rena. Let’s go, Melanie.”
I wanted to stay with Thomas, but honestly, that woman scared the hell out of me.
As we were leaving she called out, “I know what you think of me, Jenene. Think you are so high and mighty up there on your fucking horse. But you are no better than me.”
My mother, always the classy lady, just smiled at Rena and said, “Just happy to be here for Thomas until you could make it.” And we left.


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