The searing pain that ripped through my knee birthed out a screech the likes of which I didn't even know I was capable. This was no playground yelp; this was a visceral, dirty, deep down in the gut, throaty howl - the kind that could only be motivated by something like buckets of ice and water being thrown onto raw flesh. Raw flesh exposing my knee cap.
"Your kids can hear you."
Impaired judgment: "Can't you move them into another room further down the hall?"
Lots of explaining that no, we're in the ER, remember? And won't I just let them put me under?
"No, what if they die? What if I die? No. No. Just give me a towel n' I'll fuckin' bite down on it."
My aunt holding my hand, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Suddenly I'm being rolled down the hallway, a doctor explaining to me that I no longer have the choice, it's not just about my knee anymore, my liver is bleeding and my spleen wants to fall apart. They need to open me up and "explore" to make sure my pancreas isn't crushed. Not to worry, my youngest will be in the O.R. next to mine.
I don't comprehend this.
The next thing I know I'm in a different bed with a belly full of stitches, a vacuum pump holding my knee together, and a tube up my nose. The room is dimly lit and I think I'm dreaming.
"All of you at once?" I ask not believing my eyes.
There before me stood my most original unit: my mom, my dad, and my older brother. A clan of people I hadn't been in the same room with at the same time since my parents' divorce - 28 years earlier.
"Are you all actually here?"