The 5 Worst People You Could Meet in the ER

When I left my apartment at 11pm this past Saturday to take my small dog, Jack, out for his night walk, I never expected that a mere hour later, I would be sitting in the waiting room of the Lenox Hill ER with a bleeding, lacerated eyelid. Long story short: in an effort to prevent Jack from engaging in a toothy grappling match with an even smaller dog, I picked him up, at which point he started thrashing around like a catfish, scratching my arms and accidentally catching his tooth on my poor, delicate eyelid in the process.

Of course, the only appropriate response to having my eyelid torn open by my dog’s fang was for me to immediately take him home and then collapse to my knees in my front hall while calling out weakly for my fiancé. I vaguely recall muttering the phrase “he hurt me” around 15 times from my spot on the floor before I finally decided to quit whining and have a look in my bathroom mirror to assess the damage. There, I was confronted with a rather gruesome sight: a bruised, bloodied and sliced right eyelid that definitely had to be looked at by a doctor ASAP and possibly stitched back together. I burst into tears all over again, not because my eye hurt (though you know it did), but because I was terrified that I was about to walk into an ER that would be packed with sick and/or badly injured people. While my fiancé and I hurtled down the West Side Highway in the cab to the hospital, I mentally compiled a list of the 5 worst possible archetypes that I could encounter in the ER. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. The Puker: I have a severe vomit phobia, one that’s so bad that I will switch subway cars if I think there’s even the slightest chance that another passenger is about to throw up. Owing to my severe aversion to barf, I was extremely worried that I would have to sit in the waiting room next to someone who was spewing uncontrollably, possibly into her handbag out of sheer desperation. I decided that if I walked into the ER and saw any single hint that someone was throwing up, my only course of action would be to accept the fact that I would now have to spend the rest of my life with a Fetty Wap eye and go back home.
  2. The Wailer: I get that everyone deals with pain and stress differently. With that said, it would be really shitty to have to deal with your own pain and stress while someone else is howling histrionically right next to you. I can deal with low moans, sure, but I knew that if I were forced to listen to someone caterwaul with reckless abandon while waiting to see the doctor, I would have no choice but to put that person in a sleeper hold and lower them gently to the floor, blissfully quiet at last.
  3. The Belligerent, Rich Drunk: Unless I’m drunk myself, I absolutely cannot stand drunk people. They’re loud, they’re sloppy, and more often than not, they’ve forgotten their ability to regulate their emotions back at the club. Given that the Lenox Hill ER is located in the West Village, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in New York City, I had visions of being trapped in the waiting room with some entitled, boisterous, wealthy douchebag in a whale belt who had injured himself while doing something like sabering the cork out of a bottle of Dom Perignon. I actually wasn’t too worried about having to confront this archetype, mostly because I was pretty sure that someone else would beat me to the punch – literally.
  4. The Chatty Cathy: For some reason, strangers in every country I’ve been to always insist on striking up conversations with me. I think it might be because my version of “Bitchy Resting Face” is “Friendlier Resting Face Than I Intend to Have,” and I’ve got a habit of raising my eyebrows in repose, which must look like a signal that I’m a bit simple and would be happy to talk to literally anyone because it means they’ve noticed me. Listen, I’m as gregarious as the next guy, but there’s a time and a place for small talk, and it sure as hell isn’t while you’re waiting to be seen by a ER doc at midnight on a Saturday when you’re wearing your pajamas and bleeding from the face. I’ve often thought about the best way to stop an unwanted conversation before it starts, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this problem is most quickly solved by listening to the Chatty Cathy’s opening line, pausing momentarily, and then responding by squealing like a pig as loudly as I physically can. I’ve never tried it, but I’m pretty sure that this technique would also be a great way to get someone to give me their seat on a packed subway.
  5. Brad the Impaled: Every now and then, there’ll be a story in the news about some luckless fool who accidentally impaled himself on a spiked metal fence and had to be rushed to the ER with a 3′ long iron pole sticking out of his abdomen. Every time I hear a story like this, I physically shudder with horror, and I live in fear that one day I’ll be unlucky enough to witness this kind of horrific mishap, because that’s some straight up Final Destination shit right there and I don’t need any curses passed onto me, thank you very much. I think I would actually faint if I had to wait in the ER next to someone who had been impaled, and while one would hope that this kind of injury would grant you an immediate admission to the hospital, I do vividly remember a particularly horrifying anecdote that a doctor I used to work with once told me about a former patient of his. The guy had come into the ER, waited patiently for a few hours until his name was finally called, and only THEN revealed that he had A 10″ KITCHEN KNIFE LODGED IN HIS GODDAMN BACK. Shudder.

Miraculously, when I finally arrived at the ER on Saturday, it was completely empty – completely! – which meant that all of my neurotic planning had been for naught. Plus, I didn’t even have to have my eye stitched, although I did have to have it surgically glued together and bandaged with an unsightly, Nelly-circa-2003 steri-strip that I have to keep on my eyelid for a full week.

In closing, this experience taught me two important lessons: one, that I shouldn’t pick up a dog who is in the throes of a blind fury, and two, that I shouldn’t worry trouble until trouble is barfing into her Kate Spade tote next to me.

If I Drop Dead, My Obituary Will Be Terrible

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of true crime. I’m currently watching the premiere episode of a 6-part miniseries on ID called “The Vanishing Women.” It’s about how six women all disappeared from the same small town in Ohio between 2014 and 2015. Four have been found dead, two are still missing, and the investigation into their disappearances is still ongoing.

As is the case with many of the true crime shows I love, this first episode begins with a scene in which three family members of Tiffany Sayres, one of the murdered women, fondly reminisce about her with tears in their eyes. They talk about how hard-working she was, how kind to animals. They all agree that she was never without her purse, which always contained a bottle of soda and a spare t-shirt. And while watching this depressing, exploitative, ghoulish conversation, all I could think was, “If I were to drop dead tonight, my obituary would be terrible.” I’ve been thinking about what it would say, and so far I’ve got this:

Caroline Nierman, a native New Yorker best known for her resemblance to John Goodman in photographs, died June 9, 2016, according to her family. She was 29. Nierman was born Caroline Nierman in May of 1987, and she aspired to use the stage name Saucy Goblin if she ever performed on stage. When she was 14, Nierman fell on a treadmill while paying rapt attention to an episode of ‘Say What Karaoke,’ and her right knee was never the same. 

Nierman attended a university in Scotland for three years. She spent the vast majority of her time in the United Kingdom outside of the classroom, either enjoying a local restaurant’s signature pancakes or sleeping. In 2008, she returned to New York City and took her first administrative job, which barely covered the rent on an unnecessarily expensive studio apartment that she insisted on moving to. While living alone, Nierman managed to rack up an impressive $4,000 of debt by using her credit card to pimp out an Ikea bed, which she loved like a child, and then ignoring the bills. 

While Nierman worked at a number of different companies over the course of her career, her proudest professional moment was when she was accused of locking a disturbed four year old into a room that had no lock on its door while she was working as a summer camp counselor in high school. Nierman could always be counted on to laugh at YouTube videos of people falling down, and she loved nothing more than catching up on The Daily Mail while curled up into the fetal position with earplugs in. 

Despite her shortcomings, Nierman spent her life loving and being loved by her endlessly supportive and hilarious family, who she was so attached to that she insisted on being picked up from 98% of the sleepovers she went on in her lifetime. She also miraculously managed to reel in the very definition of a catch when it came to her adored fiancé, who is now the sole parent of their delicious dog, Jack (Instagram: @JackieTheBean). 

There will be no funeral, as Nierman found funerals to be unbearably depressing. In lieu of gifts, please donate money to every single animal shelter and rescue organization in the world – seriously, all of them – or else Nierman will, in her own words, “haunt your sorry, callous ass until you’re withered and gray.” RIP. 

Phew. Glad that’s over with! Now back to my program.

 

Damnit, Cupid, SO NOT OK: The OkCupid Trials, Date 1

I first joined OkCupid back in December of 2009. Back then, I was working full time, I had my own apartment, and I was more of a developed adult than I am now. The only thing that was missing from my grown-up life was a boyfriend – so one night, I created an online dating profile, and the hits started coming in. 

By ‘hits,’ I definitely mean ‘weird messages from dudes who were clearly single for a reason.’ Every girl on OkCupid attracts a different sort of unsavory suitor. Mine can be described only as ‘gym-rat muscle heads with disproportionately shrunken heads,’ and there were definitely a bunch of messages from them, but there were also lots of cute guys to meet, so I started booking dates. 

I went out with around 10 guys the first month I was on the site. The first one seemed like a laugh riot online, but when we met up in person, I was startled by the fact that he had an unnaturally shiny, red face and an incredibly high-pitched lady’s voice. Seeing how I have a deep voice for a woman, it was deeply unnerving to be on a date with a guy who spoke in a higher octave than me. We went to McSorley’s, where I was forced to squeeze into a seat right next to the wood-burning stove or whatever that thing is. Predictably, I managed to lean against said maybe-stove and give myself a third degree burn on my tender, fleshy bicep. Date foul, for sure. We said goodbye on the subway and I’m pretty sure he gave me a high-five to end the night, which suited me just fine, except for the fact that his hand was simultaneously clammy, cold and smaller than mine. 

Daily Aggravation 29: When Women Bleach their Mustaches Instead of Waxing Them

Seriously, ladies, if you have what looks like a caterpillar on your upper lip, you have to wax that shit the fuck off. Bleaching it does nothing but make you look like a gross, furry version of a ‘Got Milk’ ad/The Monopoly Guy. Get your act together.

Daily Aggravation 25: When Old Women look better than I do

One thing that really bugs me is when I see an old woman with a better body than me. Even if her face looks like a wrinkled, slapped ass, if she’s got a flat stomach and a space between her thighs, I feel a twinge of jealousy. After all, if she’s 300 years old and looking better than I do at 24, what the hell am I going to look like in a couple of decades?  

Daily Aggravation 21: When People Think I’m Pregnant

I’ve been mistaken for being pregnant twice in my life. The first time this happened, I had just bummed a homeless woman a cigarette. She paused before lighting it, gave me a once over, and said, “You know, you really shouldn’t smoke while you’re pregnant.” I mean, did you ever? How insulting is that? Unfortunately, she was already smoking the cigarette and I was frozen with horror or I would’ve snatched it back from her and said something to the effect of, “Actually, I’m pregnant with the Devil’s baby, and I just decided that his first earthly chore after being born will be to find and harm you.”

The next time it happened was a few years later, as I was standing on a street corner smoking another cigarette and waiting for the light to change. I had just bought the dress I was wearing; it was blue satin and spaghetti strapped with an empire waist, and I thought I looked fly as hell. Then a WASP tapped me on the shoulder and leaned in conspiratorially. “You know,” she said, staring at my gut, “you really don’t see a lot of pregnant women smoking these days – but I’ll be honest with you, I smoked through my entire pregnancy, too!” I guess she was expecting me to high five her for making the awesome and responsible decision to damage my unborn baby with toxins, just like she did, but instead I said, “I’m…not pregnant. This is a new dress. I guess I’ll be taking THIS back later.” She didn’t even apologize! She just awkwardly stood next to me until the light changed, and then we parted ways while I fumed.

The moral of the story is this: unless a woman is in the actual process of bearing down and expelling a baby that you can SEE CROWNING, you don’t know if she’s pregnant or not. Some of us ladies just like to eat mad cake, so it’s safer to assume that everyone you see who looks pregnant is just fat and sedentary.