E is for Emergency Room

They call it Emergency Room or ER in the United States or Casualty or Accident and Emergency in the United Kingdom. Whatever the terminology, it was not the best place to end up on a Friday night.
Meth amphetamine is known as Meth or Crystal Meth in the United States and Speed in Britain. If you take Meth or Speed you are more likely to end up in ER or Casualty than if you participate in other risky behaviors such as excessive cup cake eating.

There was no icing on the cake for me that Friday night. Just a severe pain in my stomach and chest, a soaring temperature  and violent convulsions that caused me to hit a police officer as much, as  for attention as anything else. When they told me the charges had been dropped as I was wheeled through the ward I didn’t care much. There was a pain behind my eyes from three nights without sleep and a feeling of guilt. I had cheated on my beloved brown powder for Speed and it was taunting me. I had a rush of love at that moment for Dr. K.

The faces of my family were indistinct. I read concern and also something more unpleasant. I had a vision of the egg shell blue skies above a Scottish castle and the soft lines on my mother’s face as she led me by the hand down the stairs of the clock tower.  It felt so long ago.

That failure had been eclipsed by this one. Now the crowd of people around my bedside parted like the Red Sea and a substantial figure in a trench coat filled the space under the arc lights. I noted the familiar features of Monty but they had hardened and matured in the six months since I had last seen him.

Monty adjusted his cravat and addressed me in a formal manner that seemed to indicate he was speaking for the whole family.

“We are very saddened to see you like this Campbell,” he said in a voice that sounded far too old and gravelly for his 18 years on earth. “Drug abuse is not something we like to talk about or to confront in this family and perhaps it was our inability to face this issue that has led you to this very sad juncture. I was very relieved to hear from the doctors that you will survive this episode but if you carry on with this reckless life, we cannot vouch for your future safety. I know I speak for the family as a whole when I say we cannot just stand by and watch you wreck your life in this manner.”

There was a general hubbub around the room and my mother finally piped up.“Please Campbell. Listen to him. Monty has just secured an apprenticeship from one of the top city banks. You are lucky not to be in jail. You can learn a lot from him. Please Campbell.”

A sickness was rising in my throat that was not entirely due to the drugs I had ingested. I nodded and muttered and looked through my family to a scene beyond where a drunk was being pinned down by four nurses.

I finally managed to spit out a few words. “If that’s all, I think I need to sleep now.”

“Very well,” continued Monty, his hand firmly inside his heavy coat like Napoleon directing his armies. “But we do need you to do something for us, although perhaps it has passed the phase when your permission or otherwise is important. We have secured you a place at a rehabilitation facility in France. We think it’s for the best all round.”

He continued in a long-winded manner that he had made his own, but I was no longer listening. I could sense the family around me was splintering up into small, nervous huddles, two fifths concern and the rest disapproval at my condition. The sickness rose in my throat. I felt dizzy like I was going to relapse. I grabbed the emergency cord and pulled it hard three times. I’m not sure whether it was because I really wanted nurses to come running to my bedside or I wanted the curtain drawn around me to shut out the small, jittery cabal at my bedside.

Chapters from my novella Transitions are entirely fictitious and no resemblance is intended to real people or events.


  1. I was worried there for a minute you'd really been through this--such a hard experience. Glad it was not yours.

    1. thanks Hart - would make writing about it easier, tho

  2. I'm much more likely to an excessive cupcake emergency. Just thinking about ingesting things like Speed, make me cringe. I enjoyed your excerpt. Loved the phrase, "small, nervous huddles."

    1. Thanks so much - speed sounds too much like being out of control for my liking

  3. I like how this bit ties the others together.

    I'm also in favor of sticking with the excessive cupcake emergency. :)

    1. thanks Jean - it's about that time of the day for a sugar high

  4. I was partway through before I decided you had written something fictional. I'm very glad it is. You're very good!
    Take 25 to Hollister

  5. thanks so much for your kind comments..


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