The way I remember it happening:
"You want me to use what?" My voice came out as a quack.
The physician stared at me.
"You heard me, Missy."
"But why? Lots of people lose use of their legs all the time, it certainly doesn't mean they need a walker."
I was getting good at that high-pitched, nasal whine. I'd used it on my mother for years.
"C'mon, let's see you try it. You're not going home until you walk from here to the wall."
“Hmmn. I wonder which medical journal that little test was in?”
I moved to the edge of my bed in slow motion, hoping he'd simply lose interest and go away. But it didn't happen; he just flapped at me to move quicker. So I upped the degree of difficulty by putting a scowl on my face--just to prove how much I detested this.
"So noted. Now will you please get your butt up and walk?"
Walk. That was funny. For the last two days my legs had been jello--and if you count the cellulite in my thighs, then jello with fruit. One afternoon while going to the bathroom, I felt them suddenly give out--like a date does at the end of a bad evening when he doesn't want to pay: I felt deflated. But, being the stubborn cuss that I am, I put up with it for another two days, until last night when I could no longer stand. Then I figured it was time to call someone. Or else, sell my Monolo Blahniks and that wasn't going to happen in this lifetime.
The EMTs were nice. They escorted me out of my house as if I were Paris Hilton at a Japanese airport and had just delivered my "I’m pretty sure this isn’t my bag" speech.
What is it about men in uniform that make me go all weak in the knees? Scott, on my left arm, certainly didn't help my condition, I can tell you that. Luckily he was the one who remained with me in the back during my transit. He felt comfortable with me, as he began asking me all these personal questions. Well, I'd never been hit on by an ambulance guy before, so this cheered me up.
"I must be in my mid-thirties."
Yes, good sign. I turned on the charm. "So, what's a guy like you doing in a place like this?"
Aren't there times when you wish you could just suck back in the words?
"You called me."
Okay, fair enough. But I had to know more. "What's your name?"
"Scott. And yours?" He caught himself, and we both laughed.
"How long have you been doing this?"
At that moment I winced in pain and became frustrated that leg movement was near to impossible.
"It's okay, just hold on, we'll be there soon." He placed his hand gently on my own.
My heart skipped.
"You okay?" he said.
Damn that heart monitor. Usually not the standard for calls with muscle weakness, but I had also been suffering chest pain for days and they wanted to make sure it wasn't a heart attack. With my Systemic Lupus, however, chest pain was normal.
I nodded. "Yes, fine." This man's sensitivity was unnerving me.
"I love your glasses," he said.
I hate it when I do this, but I dipped right into coy, "really? Oh, thank you. They are one-of-a-kind.”
“Yours are dreamy, too." Ack. Did I just say dreamy?
I think I threw up in my mouth a little.
"I'm sorry to have to do this, but I have more questions for you. What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a professional actor, stand-up comic, and writer."
The look of awe and worship on his face was priceless. "Wow! So have you done anything I might know?"
"Yes. I did a sit-com on NBC a few years ago," I said, as my ego swelled to twice the size of my fruity-jello thighs.
When I told him the name of it, he nodded his head.
"Yes! I remember that show--very funny."
Time to be bold.
"I even have a web-site. Why don't you e-mail me when you get back to the station?"
"Yes, I was just going to suggest that. Y'know, I thought I recognized you."
I gave him my autograph as we neared the hospital, and he escorted me into my ER exam room, holding my hand the entire way.
"You're gonna be just fine, so don't worry. We have to get back to the station now."
"Thank you, Scott. E-mail me!" I called after him as he exited the building.
He nodded his affirmation.
When the nurse entered the room to hook me up to the machines again, she said, "So, Scott's going to e-mail you, hunh? Pre-tee impressive. He's cute. No one's been able to pin him down for months now."
My heart soared.
"Yes, he is very sweet. I guess I just have what it takes."
The way he remembered it happening:
"Did you hear the way that chick was coming on to me, man?," Scott said to his partner, Mike.
"No, what happened?"
"As soon as I began asking her the standard questions, she started offering personal information-- y'know, stuff I didn't even ask for."
Scott considered this. "Like, she had a web-site, said she was some big hot-shot actor from Hollywood, and wanted me to e-mail her."
"No way! Man, how is it that you get all the women? So? You gonna do it?"
"Are you kidding? If my wife found out, she'd kill me dead."
The way it really happened:
"Actor, comic, and writer."
"Oh yeah? Anything I'd know?"
"Sitcom on NBC. Nothing special."
"You've got something on your glasses."
"If you have e-mail, we need to add that, and I need your signature for treatment."
"Yep; take care."
Carla Rene is a professional actress, stand-up comedienne and author. She's appeared on NBC, at The Kennedy Center, and opened for some of comedy’s biggest names. She currently resides outside Nashville, TN, with her two cats who treat her as if she’s the hired help. For places to purchase her books or find her blog, go to her web-site: http://www.carlarene.com.