Tuesday got off to a bad start. Had to report to jury duty in Beverly Hills. This would ge great if I was commuting from my West Los Angeles apartment, but I was currently staying with my folks to help look after my mom, who had a stroke recently. They lived twenty miles away. Twenty traffic-clogged miles. I gave myself almost two hours to get there and was still running late.
As I seethed in gridlock on Santa Monica Blvd, watching a distant light cycle through red, green and yellow, my cell rang. It was my dad.
"We're at the emergancy room," he said. "Your mom had another stroke. I'll call you back when I know more."
Another one? So soon? She'd come so far from the first one.
I told him I'd explain the situation to the jury dudes and get over to the hospital. I couldn't find the damn courthouse. My map was terrible. I considered just ditching the whole thing and turning around, but thanks to a mail screw up my jury summons was the "get your butt over to the courthouse or you're in big trouble" variety.
Fifteen minutes later I found it. I was sure having your mom in the emergancy room was grounds for postponement.... but there was no one to grant it. It was the 3d version of trying to speak to real person on the phone and getting voice mail. I couldn't find anyone running the place. The halls were empty and the only people in the waiting room were fellow would-be jurors and a video telling us how swell jury duty was. Then a flesh and blood robot lady waddled in, avoided eye contact, and read from a script that there would be absolutly no questions until she said so. And to turn off our cellphones.
I left my phone on. Fuck, I wanted to know what was going on with Mom. It rang a minute later, making me the insensitive ass who couldn't follow simple instructions. I walked out on the lecture to take the call in the hall. It was my dad again, reporting that she seemed to be having seizures too. Seizures!? That did it. I wasn't waiting any longer. I scrounged up a postponement form and put my name and number on it, with a note that I had an emergancy.
I rushed back to the hospital. Wait. I couldn't rush because the roads were jammed.
After some tests the doctor determined that this wasn't a second stroke. It was "only" a seizure related to the first stroke, which produced temporary strokelike symtoms. By the next day she was recovered enough to go home. Trouble was, the "temporary strokelike symptoms", while fading, were still there to keep us busy...