The tree outside our window is finally bare the leaves torn off through many nights of cold winds. It stands out there looking lonely with its only inhabitant a widower squirrel. The tree had a matching companion that was here when we moved in and then gone after one particularly violent summer storm. Half of it fell into our yard and ripped the electrical line down to the ground. We weren’t home when it happened. Dan was picking me up from a hospital in Chicago. I had been working in Addison and the company I was consulting for had rented a hotel for me in Villa Park.
I was on my second month getting the office turned around and had grown pretty comfortable working there. On this particular Friday I was experiencing what I thought was the same old pain I always had when my ovarian cysts acted up. I’d had them for years in fact they once almost took my appendix out because of my pain. Frequent trips to the emergency room in the middle of the night often resulted in being sent home with Tylenol and a heating pad so most times I'd opt to forgo the emergency room co-pay and instead writh around on the floor of my own bathroom for a couple of hours instead.
I decided that when my shift was over I would just spend the weekend in the city instead of the long drive home. Dan was in Baltimore for the weekend and Dave (our neighbor) would take care up the pups and so there was no reason I couldn’t just go lay down at my hotel and sleep through the pain in my side. While waiting for the end of the shift the hours seemed to drag by and the employees kept asking if I was ok and telling me I didn’t look so good. Finally one young man, Joe K. said “That’s it Jenny I’m taking you to the hospital”. I refused and told him I was going to just go lay down at my hotel and he said “No way let’s go”. I could barely stand up. He and Joe M. carried me to his car.
This was all very fitting for the young rebel Joe K. was only 17 and often in trouble at work for not listening or showing up late. I’d thought about firing him but damn if he wasn’t a charming salesman and always making quota. He put me in the front seat and started his powder blue ’67 Chevy; I curled up into a ball with my sweaty head near his leg. He kept sweeping my soaked hair off of my face and asking “Are you sure you’re doing ok?” and for the first half of the ride I was annoyed with his questioning and the second half I was screaming for him to drive faster. When we reached the emergency room he intended to park his powder blue baby but instead slid up to the outside the doors leaving the car idiling keys in it with the passenger side open while he ran in and yelled for someone to come and help. I was drenched in sweat and shaking – my appendix was inflamed and ready to kill me.
Good ol’ Joe paced the hall until my Mom drove in and sent him home. He sent flowers and a little stuffed leopard to the hospital. Poor Dan was greeted on Sunday at O’Hare airport by my Mom and the harrowing story. Shortly after that I quit my job to find something closer to home and family. The tree in my side yard is still gone like my appendix and today I wonder what Joe is doing.