TIMES PEOPLE HAVE BEEN AMBIGUOUS ABOUT A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, RANKED

  1. Bleeding Ulcer
    By far the most ambiguous and cruel. I am in fourth grade and waiting for my dad to pick me up from school. All my friends get picked up before me and I'm starting to get pissed. Then the nurse comes outside and tells me my mom is on the phone. My mom says, and I quote, "Daddy is in the hospital and (neighbor) is coming to pick you up instead." No other details. I am left to assume the absolute worst. (Turns out it was near fatal so I wasn't far off)
  2. Car Crash (car totaled)
    Wake up the morning before finals (three in one day) to a text from my boyfriend that reads: "hey sorry I can't pick you up from the airport tomorrow" I ask him what's up and he explains that he is at the ER after having been hit by an unlicensed driver. He probably should have led with that rather than the airport thing.
  3. Fractured Elbow
    Literally yesterday in the middle of medical anthropology my friend texts me to ask if I can take him to the hospital after dinner. No other information. I told him we should probably hit the ER first and he says "nah I'm hungry". When I went to pick him up his elbow was swollen to the size of a grapefruit. He still insisted on eating first. Homeboy is going to need surgery to put a screw in his elbow.
  4. Terminal Cancer
    My parents were mercifully ambiguous about my grandmother's hospitalization and terminal cancer when I was 5 years old. This is an appropriate time for ambiguity.