In an entirely bizarre Monday morning turn of events, my daughter fell, dislocated her knee, and summoned an ambulance through facebook. Through an even-stranger twist, I came home looking for her, and, when I couldn’t find her, logged into facebook. That’s how I learned she had been taken to the ER.
It was an ordinary crappy Monday. When I left the house at 8:15, Chloe was asleep in bed. I posted an authoritative treatise about watering the garden (complete with detailed instructions) ostentatiously where it couldn’t be missed.
We call these written demands kitchograms. They’re a family tradition. The kids hate them.
I drove off to Santa Fe in the family car after shouting to Chloe I’d bring it back by 11:00. I’d come home and let her drop me off at work. She didn’t respond because she was busy sleeping.
I went to my meeting in Santa Fe without even having drunk a cup of coffee. My head felt blurred. I could have sworn the woman I met with suggested I move our farmers’ market to WalMart. I’ve been known to misconstrue stuff before, and I was having trouble understanding anything. It could have been the dearth of coffee speaking.
I called Chloe after the meeting ended, but she didn’t answer. I figured she was still asleep. I was surprised, when I got home, to find the door locked.
I banged on it and shouted her name, but nobody answered. I routed around in my purse, cussing, looking for my keys. There are at least 25 on my chain and I can never find the right one. Also, I manage to stab myself with a hairstick every time.
Stepping into the study, it appeared as if the furniture had been rearranged. All the desk chairs had been removed, and the ottoman had been stacked atop the remaining armchair. “What the #$%^?” I asked. “Chloe?”
My bedroom door was closed. Two of our cats were locked in. “That’s odd,” I thought. “Why would Chloe lock up the cats?” I walked into the bathroom, and was surprised to find the armchair displaced, and the bathmat tossed away from the tub. All the towels had been dropped into the bathtub. The radio had been set on the toilet seat. A syringe wrapped in plastic was left on the counter where the radio should have been. The cap to another missing syringe rested beside it. Chloe’s not diabetic, and I’m reasonably certain she’s not mainlining anything. The syringe was a mystery. Her laptop sat on the back of the armchair where she never would have left it.
“What the @#$%?!” I asked again. “Chloe?”
She wasn’t in her bed.
It looked as if paramedics had come into the house, and taken someone from the bathroom. But I reasoned that if an ambulance had come, either Chloe, or one of the neighbors would have called. Besides, Chloe’s 19, not 91. Why would paramedics be taking her from the tub? Nineteen year olds don’t fall.
Everyone tells me I overreact. “Maggie and Gabby probably came over and picked her up,” I reasoned. “Maybe they moved the furniture because the three of them wanted to dance.”
Chloe still wasn’t answering her phone. I didn’t know what to do so I went to work.
I sat down, wondered where Chloe was, thought about moving our farmers’ market to WalMart, and fired up my computer. My brain still felt fuzzy so instead of going directly to my email, I opened Facebook.
The first post that greeted me was Chloe’s liveblog of her accident. She had fallen in the tub and badly dislocated her right knee. About five years ago, we’d had the ligaments replaced on her left knee due to frequent dislocations.
She couldn’t get to her phone, but because she’d been listening to music, her computer was beside the tub. She logged onto facebook and asked friends to call an ambulance. Grace, a high school companion now living in Albuquerque, responded.
Chloe: i popped my knee out somebody please call an ambulancw i am not within reach of a phone.
Chloe: i am at xxx e somewhere st
Chloe: espanola nm
Chloe: please hurry
Grace: Oh geesus!
Chloe: grace can you call
Grace: yes ma’am on it right now
Grace: where are you?
Grace: they say your address isnt right
Chloe: next to the rio grande cafe
Chloe: down the long driveway
Chloe: holy christ i’m in so much pain
Grace: okay i’m on the phone with them right now.
Grace: hang on chloe!!
Grace: is it your right knee or left??
Grace: ?(why the hell is it so god damn relevant haha)
Chloe: right knee
Chloe: the other one
Chloe: i fell in the shower
Chloe: luckily i was listening to music
Chloe: on my laptop
Grace: so the right knee? Or the other hahaha
Grace: yay technology!
Chloe: the right knee
Grace: they’re on their way right now
Grace: DONT DIE.
Grace: I hope you’re loling to my comment.
Calvin: yes i am haha
Jessie: Looks like someone needs life-alert
Meredith: dislocations are never fun, glad you got help.
Daniel: crazy shit happens on facebook.
Maura: Sweet fuck I hope you’re okay!
Alexandra: Hope you are okay!
Shannon: Finally, a use for Facebook!
Lydia: your beautiful
Shannon: Let us know when you are okay Chloe!
Rachael: Chloe Hannah are you okay? Let your very worried cousinita know please!
Corbin: This just happened. Chloe hope your ok.
Shabba ooooh girl…
Chloe: goddamn it Jessie Pattillo i had stored up that joke all day. i had been waiting. all day in the hospital i thought to myself “i’m gonna make a joke about life alert and it’s gonna be tops” BUT YOU HAD TO TAKE THAT FROM ME TOO
Lauren: Thanks for calling the ambulance, Grace! I came home looking for Chloe when she didn’t answer the phone. All the furniture was moved and there was a syringe in the bathroom. I went to work still calling her, wondering what was going on. I opened up facebook, which I don’t usually do during the day, and saw this post. Went right over to the ER and found her there. Thank you very much for your help! I wouldn’t have known where she was if I hadn’t checked FB!
Daniel: This was actually the most intense thing that’s ever happened on Facebook.
Rachael: Baby I love you but good lord.
JessieL Bro, you can still make the joke! GO FOR COMEDIC GOLD! I didn’t mean to take that gem from you!
I jumped up from my desk after reading the first three lines. “Holy cow!” I shouted. “That explains the syringe.”
Three or four people rushed into my office. “What syringe?” demanded Amber. “You found a syringe?”
Suddenly my head felt clear. I wasn’t going to move the farmer’s market to WalMart. And yes, the house was indeed oddly rearranged.
Words tumbled out. I told them about being confused when I got home and then finding Chloe’s post on facebook. “Do you want me to call the hospital and see if she’s there?” asked Amber.
“They won’t tell you,” said Melissa. “HIPPA.”
“I’m just gonna run over,” I told them. “Put me down for leave.”
I didn’t even take my laptop.