“Gotta run, guys.” David clicks off the video chat, calls 911. He hears the ambulance siren screaming its way toward the house before he’s finished explaining to the operator Sasha’s situation, her pregnancy, the fact that he cannot rouse her.
The EMTs are brisk, efficient, kind, as they load her into the ambulance, explain that he cannot come with them, the rules are all about preventing more virus transmissions, but he can call a specific phone number at the hospital, someone there will help him understand what’s going on.
His phone pings, pings, pings, with texts from the crew, asking if he’s okay, if Sasha’s okay. He doesn’t know how to answer them, so he doesn’t even try.
Rosa texts: Call me. I can help.
“Is it Sasha?” she asks. He cannot find words, but somehow she hears his nod over the phone. “Okay, darling.” She calls everyone darling or dear or honey. He immediately loves her for this. “What’s happening right now is that the on call OB-GYN is evaluating her status. And the triage team is figuring out whether they have room for her. They have to keep a certain number of beds available for, you know.”
“Can I see her?” David finally finds enough air to push his voice out through his larynx, but it doesn’t really sound like his own voice. It sounds like the voice of a man in the grip of panic.
“Not yet, honey. Did they give you a number to call?” He nods again, somehow she knows it. “Okay, good. That’s the patient advocate. Give them about 30 minutes, and they’ll be up to speed enough to give you a status report.”
Thirty minutes? How is he supposed to tolerate a wait that long?
“Here’s what you do for now: Pack her a bag. Put her favorite PJs, warm socks, a toothbrush in there. Something she loves, a book or a picture or something. At least seven changes of underwear. A cozy sweater. She might be in there a while, you want her to be comfy. Okay, dear?”
He nods again. “Good. Call me again when you’ve finished packing, and have talked to the patient advocate, okay? Oh, and go drink a big glass of water now, darling. You’ll be okay.”
David notices: she didn’t say Sasha would be okay.