I have been waiting outside of the emergency room for over two hours. As soon as I was able to get rid of the smoke and put out the fire caused by burning pancakes, I drove Aunt Sandra to the county hospital. It was tough getting her out to the car, especially since she was unconsious, but she had lost so much weight over the past few months that I was able to drag her to the passenger's seat. The emergency room doctors took her in right away, before a man with a bloody bandage on his head and a boy in a sling.
But I was not allowed to go in with her.
I am sitting on the floor outside the swinging doors when a woman in a lab coat and holding a clipboard walks out, her face contorted with the right amount of optimism and sadness that they are taught to have when dealing with emotional patients.
"Your Aunt is a very lucky woman, Miss Laney," she says, pronouncing Aunt with a fancy long vowel. I can't look at her face, and turn my head away. If she saw me crying I wouldn't be able to take it. "I cannot imagine how you were able to get her out of that house in time! Her lungs are coated with smoke, but she is still breathing. She is not yet consious, but I believe she will be in the next hour. The pain medicine she was taking knocked her out, and that's why she could not wake up." The doctor stops talking for a moment, and I wonder if she is done yet. She's not.
"Is there anyone else you can call, Ada? A close family member or relative?" No, I have no other family besides her, I want to say. But I can't burden her with my problems. Not when my Aunt could be taking her last breaths. So I lie.
"I might be able to get in touch with my mother," I say softly. She falls for it.
"Would you care to use the office phone?" I nod, and stand up. She leads me to a desk and another woman smiles tentatively at me as she gestures for me to come around the side. There is a phone attached to the wall behind the desk, and a small room right next to it. The office woman tells me to go in, and the doctor says she will be right ouside if I need her. Which I won't.