After two years of staying home, we went on a vacation.

We did splurge on an expensive tourist experience. You are probably thinking of a first-class airplane flight with early seating and plenty of real leg room. It would include a flight attendant with beverage service and use of the elite bathroom at the front of the plane.

We would also be waiting in the executive lounge at the airport. There would be a place to recharge our phones and computers. Snacks and sandwiches, with two choices of hot soup, would be offered. One could enjoy comfortable chairs, newspapers in several languages, and magazines—not the home, garden, cooking ones. A hostess would be there if we needed anything else.

Maybe you are thinking of a Puget Sound cruise. Our tour boat would sail by the blocklong homes on Lake Washington. The banquet would serve pastry-covered salmon (with a fancy name), with ice sculptures and starched linens.

No.

We went to an even more expensive tourist attraction.

The Evergreen Health Monroe Hospital Emergency Room staff hadn’t heard it called that before. Instead the staff called it Room 4 as they wheeled my husband away.

It was not a room, it was an alcove with a privacy curtain. This privacy curtain was first class, as it was the only one I have ever seen that stayed in place. Privacy meant not visible, not soundproof.

People wanted to know the details of the visit. Each of three privacy curtains had 13 snaps on the top that connected it to a net. The net had 58 squarish-shaped holes down and 17 holes across each of 38 sections. Folds hid some the holes. As I was wearing a mask and felt lucky to even be allowed in the room (alcove) I refrained from straightening out the folds.

At discharge, we gave our count to the staff, so they could verify it because my husband’s count and my count were different. The RN thanked us profusely, multiplied it on her calculator. I don’t remember what she came up with. She said would put it at the desk. I told them I write a column and if it is printed, I would mail them a copy.

Vale writer Pauline Sheehan writes on DeLight Side regularly for the Malheur Enterprise.

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