In effect, I got unplugged.
Whatever plans I had for the evening, whatever priorities topped tomorrow’s to-do list, whatever tickets I had purchased for the weekend ahead, I became whoever I could continue to be in an emergency room cubicle.
Without drama and fortunately without pain, I had entered the work day of a number of people I did not know. Nothing these professionals might uncover about symptoms that had begun earlier in my afternoon would be reason for any of them to re-think their own plans for the evening or their to-do lists for the next day.
As someone with high blood pressure and a heart episode in his history, I had not been surprised by my doctor's nurse and what she told me over the phone when I called her an afternoon six weeks ago. Directed to get an EKG at the nearest emergency room, I suspected there were various readings for the physical sensations I had begun to have after lunch that day. Only an EKG, however, could rule out the most troubling possibility.
It was with relief that I stood outside the emergency wing entrance later that evening. A friend was on her way to pick me up. I was going home - that was the good news. For a few hours I had not needed my ordinary Thursday routines and expectations. I had effectively been unplugged from them.
I work better now.
Evenings are fun.