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Happy (Not So) Healthy Holidays



March 25, 2013
Monday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska
- You know it’s a small town when the Emergency Room staff at the hospital greets you by name.
jpg Dave Kiffer

Even smaller when they say “oh wow, Mr. Kiffer, it is a holiday?!?!”

Yep, my family likes to celebrate the holidays by visiting the ER!

Sure, it seems a little weird, whiling away the hours wearing silly little open back gowns and writhing occasionally in pain while waiting for the morphine drip to take effect. But you have your traditions and we have ours!

It goes back to my son’s early years. Once upon a time,  he had a few fevers and a longer succession of inner ear problems that required some visits to the ER.

And did those problems happen during the week when the doctors’ offices were open? Of course not.

The men in our family have a bad habit of ignoring aches and pains until they become too hard to ignore. That’s probably why a lot of them don’t make to the far side of 60.

And despite Charlotte’s attempts to introduce Liam to things like hand sanitizers and vegan diets, he remains a male Kiffer. Some things are just genetic.

Anyway, when he would get sick, Liam would generally reach the breaking point sometime between midnight and 6 am.

On holidays.

We visited the ER on New Years, we visited on Christmas. We even stopped by on the odd Labor Day and Memorial Day. It became a bit of tradition. It was just not a holiday without stopping in for a visit with our ER family!

Since then, Liam has been a lot healthier and hasn’t required any bouts of advanced medical care. But naturally, the family has chosen to continue to the tradition. We like our friends in the ER and it just wouldn’t seem right to not share the holidays with them.

Two years ago, I decided to visit them on the 4th of July. It involved me breaking a foot while giving speech (insert foot in mouth joke here). Anyway, I finished the speech, hobbled to the car and went to visit the ER.

This year, we noticed that we had still not crossed Valentine’s Day off the list.

Oddly enough, a few days before Valentine’s Day, one of my acquaintances complained that her husband never thought to take her any where special for Valentine’s Day.

Of course, that raised the bar a bit. I needed to come up with something definitely out of the ordinary.

Thank goodness, Charlotte stepped it up by having unbearable stomach pain in the wee hours of Feb. 14. Turned out her gall bladder was in serious need of removal and was lobbing little crystals hither and yon in her abdomen.

I doubt that any other husbands in Ketchikan took their wives out to the ER on Valentine’s Day.

Looking ahead to next we see that President’s Day is still unmarked.

While I certainly don’t wish any additional ill-health on Liam and Charlotte, I bet I can arrange for a spot of gout to hit me on February 17, 2014. It would be just the thing to celebrate the birthdays of GW and AL.

In fact, I think I will have an extra helping of gravy with tonight’s mashed potatoes to get my uric acid level heading in the right direction.

I would hate think to have our valiant ER providers thinking that we had forgotten them on the holidays.  

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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