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  • Last Thursday night I had the best mojito of my life. Consequently, it probably was also one of the worst mojitos ever. However, if you just spent the last 6 hrs in an emergency room with a co-worker you have only known for a few months, I am telling you, any mojito you will have after that will be the best of your life.

    The day started pretty uneventfully. My team had been flown down to Miami for a few days to work on a project. As this meant leaving the bitter cold and snow of NYC, we were not complaining. That Thursday afternoon my co-worker, bravely fighting what seemed to be the flu all the way from the east coast, suddenly got dizzy and nearly fainted. As he was not getting better, we called the ambulance. As I was the only one without some sort of flu, cold or allergies, I volunteered to accompany him to the hospital.

    Halfway to the hospital, while the ER folks were busy running tests on my co-worker, a cab driver jumped out of in front of the ambulance to try and stop it. As I was in the front passenger seat, I saw the whole thing. Apparently the driver or his passenger was having a heart attack or something. The ER guys debated what to do but knew they could not take care of 2 passengers at once and told the cab driver they would call another ambulance to that spot. It was becoming a very interesting night...

    Anyone who has ever been in an emergency room knows the chaos, confusion and incessant waiting that comes along with it. As my co-worker seemed to be passing out from lack of energy, a very slow heart beat, possible dehydration or whatnot, I was not sure what I should be doing to help. The nurses said not to leave him alone while they stepped out. So I didn't. To keep the energy going, we talked about our previous ER experiences (his pancreas, my badly broken arm) how crazy this trip was, and trying to guess what was happening while the nurses were running more tests.

    As the IV drip was added for hydration and my co-worker's BMP started rising, he kept getting better and more alert. 3 hours must have passed. My manager and team lead came to the hospital as well. They wanted to replace me so I can get some rest but nope, it was now a team effort. By then we just waited and waited and kept ourselves occupied in the small room by observing the UX design of the ER, finding it wanting. We talked further of our medical histories, as at this point nothing was off the table, especially if you get to see your co-worker's pee jar. By then, all barriers are lifted and you cease becoming just co workers.

    As we were staying in South Beach across from a strip joint named Madonna, I made a joke about being dragged into a pole dancing class once and making a fool of myself. At that point, being at the 5 hr or so mark in the ER, we all needed a good laugh so I pretended to dance on the IV drip pole, making clown faces and tripping all over myself. So wrong but so necessary. We joked about all the stickies they attach to measure vitals, giving my co-worker an unnecessary free wax. Now he knows how girls must feel. Maybe it will make him an even better UX designer. Empathy and all...

    We observed (and heard) a crying child in the next room being given a rubber glove pumped with air and shaped into a rooster. We avoided doing this as long as possible but the clown in me could not resist. Before you knew it, we had our own set of giant blue rubber hands making devil sings, giving high fives and of course, flipping the middle finger. Our little ER room was roaring with laughter when the main doctor walked in to give his final say and hopefully, dismissal instructions. He humorously wandered out loud if we escaped from the psych ward next door. And then, we were dismissed. Dismissed into the warm Miami rain at midnight, into an empty parking lot, into a cab. The cab that two wonderful security officers called for us when we got lost on our way out of the ER. Good people working within bad information design.

    We knew we were going straight to a 24 hr diner. We have not eaten in almost 12 hours and ER rooms have no chairs for the visitors. 6 hours on our feet. This was going to be a dinner with drinks, well deserved drinks, not just the mindless crap you order at happy hr. after work. The girls ordered mojitos while our patient ordered some juice for sugar and hydration. When the mojito finally came it was in an over-sized glass, made with well liquor, wilted mint, and was entirely too strong. The first sip was glorious and made me woozy immediately on an empty stomach. It was the best goddamn mojito I have ever had. It was the best because I was now having it with 3 new friends who have just shared one crazy, random, unbelievable experience and turned something scary and uncomfortable into something to remember.


    Week 8 of 52 - Story a Week in 2014
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