10 Hours – The total length of time I spent in the Emergency Room at Newton Memorial Hospital.
Four of those hours I sat in the outer waiting room where my complaint of being unable to breath was accepted as trivial compared to that of the man who walked in carrying his finger in a jar.
Three of those hours were spent on my back, on what the staff called a bed, but I’m certain was a slab of hard cold granite.
One hour was wasted waiting for the ER staff to acknowledge my presence, and two additional hours got me the help I needed for a bronchial infection that made breathing all but impossible.
As I exited the hospital I expressed my annoyance at being overlooked for such a lengthy period of time and was reminded that it was Sunday, when most doctors trade in their surgical instruments for golf clubs. I was advised to plan future emergencies for days other than Sundays.
When I got home I thought about the senseless hours that had been squandered, and let my skewed mind consider other time-consuming scenarios; real, imagined and, just a wee bit exaggerated:
– 10 Hours – How long the cat, in heat, moaned under my bedroom window last Tuesday.
– 10 Hours – How long it took my first husband to notice I’d chopped a foot and a half off of my hair.
– 10 Hours – The duration of time my evil 6th grade math teacher, Miss Kathryn Murphy, punished and humiliated me in front of the class, because I’d worn an orange neckerchief on St. Patrick’s Day, but never explained why that was wrong.
– 10 Hours – The sum total of an hour drive to the airport, 45 minutes to get through security check points, another hour to read email, while lingering over an airport breakfast, and a 7 hour 15 minute non-stop flight to Paris.
– 10 Hours – How long it took me to swallow each of Jenny Craig’s pre-packaged diet meals.
– 10 Hours – How long it takes for my arthritic fingers to hook my bra.
– 10 Hours – The time it takes to stand in line for the Ladies Room during intermission at any Broadway show.
– 10 Hours – The longest I’ve ever been able to stick with a diet.
– 10 Hours – The average wait in most DMV lines.
– 10 Hours – The time it took me to watch two weeks of the soap opera, The Young and the Restless, that I had recorded while on vacation.
– 10 Hours – How long it takes my husband to unhook my bra with his arthritic fingers.
– 10 Hours – The time it takes to drive one half hour each way, to and from work, plus eight hours of work and one hour for lunch.
– 10 Hours – The time it takes to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, only to have it devoured in five minutes flat.
– 10 Hours – The length of every Sunday football game.
– 10 Hours – The time it takes to clean up after Thanksgiving, but would normally take 4 hours, if guests didn’t insist on helping.
– 10 Hours – The daily, minimum amount of TV coverage that was dedicated to the death of Michael Jackson.
– 10 Hours – The length of time I held my breath when the hospital admitting nurse asked, in front of my husband, how much I weigh.