Posted by: kristabella | November 28, 2007

3 AM

Today has been a hell of a day. I’m exhausted. Literally worn down to the nub.

At 3 o’clock this morning, my phone rang. My landline home phone. Which no one besides telemarketers and my family have. Because I only have it to get DSL.

I had just recently gotten up to take some Advil for the toothache from hell (seriously, if a throbbing tooth wakes you up, it’s a bad night), so I wasn’t completely out of it. At first when the ringing started, I looked at my cell phone. (OK, maybe I was out of it.) And finally realized it was my house phone. Then I looked at my cell again. Three AM? Who the hell would be calling? Must be a prank caller.

So I waited to hear the answering machine pick up. And then I waited to hear the inevitable beep whenΒ the prank caller decided to hang up and not leave a message and just be the World’s Biggest Prick for even thinking it was funny.

One second passed, no beep. Two seconds, no beep. Ten seconds, no beep. That’s when I began to panic. Someone was actually leaving me a message at 3 o’clock in the morning. And everyone knows that unless it is a weekend and people are drunk dialing, phone calls pre-dawn are never good.

It’s my brother. And he’s talking and I’m not processing. Because what the hell is going on? Where am I? Is it really 3 AM or did I just dream this? And why do I still have my night guard in? It doesn’t make the talking easy.

I pick up the phone. It’s 3 AM, have I mentioned that? And my brother is in Kansas. On a work trip. But my sister-in-law Kim is not feeling well. She’s having chest pains. She needs to go to the emergency room NOW. And she needs someone to watch the kids. Because she’s by herself. My brother is in Kansas.

So I get dressed. I put in my contacts, take out my night guard, brush my teeth, grab my laptop because I may not be at work today. And I hit the road.

My first thought is that I’m glad the kids are OK. My second, and a lot of subsequent thoughts until I get the fuck over myself, are selfish. That I’m tired. And my tooth hurts. And I haven’t really slept at all this night. And I get whiney.

And then I slap myself. Because Kim? She hasn’t slept AT ALL. And she’s having really bad chest pains. Any time she tries to lie down, it feels like her heart is going to explode through her chest. My problems are so not even in the same universe.

Did you know it is really kind of eerie at 3 AM outside? I mean, I live in the city of Chicago. And there wasn’t one car on the road. It was dead silent.

As I’m driving, I debate about getting coffee. I don’t know how long she’s going to be at the ER, and I’m tired, but I also know the kids don’t get up until 7 so I can catch an hour or so of shut-eye before they get up. Plus, do I really have time to stop to get coffee when Kim needs to go to the EMERGENCY ROOM? Again, selfish. And Dunkin Donuts wasn’t open yet anyway.

As I’m driving past the closed Dunkin, I’m stopped at an intersection. The light is red. I’m turning right. There is NO ONE on the roads. I inch a little over the line and stop, look and make sure I’m able to turn right on red. There are no signs forbidding this. I turn right on red all the time at this intersection.

Well Holy Fancy Moses, they’ve added a red light camera at this intersection. This is a new development. I think. So as I inch over the line, to check the NON-EXISTENT traffic, all of a sudden all these lights are going off. Flashing lights everywhere. Is it fireworks? Are they gun shots? WHAT. THE. HELL?

No. It’s the fucking red light camera. Taking my photo! Because I stopped at a red light. To turn right on red. In which you need to lean a little into the intersection. As to not accidentally drive your ass into oncoming traffic. And forgive me if I wasn’t paying the best attention. It was 3 AM! And my sister-in-law! And chest pains!

To add stupidity to asinine, I got pulled over on the way up there too. Because who the hell drives around the north suburbs of Chicago at 3:30 on a Wednesday morning? Drunk people apparently. Or people just generally up to no good. Because I’m sure that’s what that cop was hoping for. You know he was all “she’s got a headlight out. Maybe she’s got a bag of weed on her passenger seat too. Jackpot!”

No, asshole, turns out I just have a headlight out and I’m too lazy to change it in the DARK during the week because I live in the city and I park on the street and there is no light.

He gave me a warning. Because I claimed to have no clue. “Whaaaaa? I doooooo? Get out!” (Yes, I said “get out” to a cop. It was early. And I’m stupid.) And I didn’t even have to throw out the “my sister-in-law needs to go to the hospital!” card. But Jesus H. Christ, why then? Stupid suburban cops. If they aren’t pulling me over, they’re killing their wives.

I finally got there. Kim had called one of the neighbors and the neighbor’s husband came over because Kim couldn’t wait for me to make the whole hour drive up there. Plus, he goes to work early, so he was up anyway.

I went to sleep, figuring it was going to be a long day and any little cat nap I could sneak in would help me get through the day. After about an hour, I heard the garage door open. She was back. And she was fine.

Diagnosis? Pretty severe panic attack. She had a chest X-Ray and an EKG and everything checked out OK. So she’s fine. Everyone is fine. And my brother is home from Kansas.

See, last time my brother went out of town, Kim had a bad reaction to the antibiotics she was on and had some similar chest pains. But her mom was there at the time. So the kids were taken care of.

Fast forward to last night. She’s not feeling well. Her mind begins to wander. “What if I need to get to the hospital? Who will watch the kids?” So forgive her if she started to panic a little bit. Who wouldn’t?

The thing is, my sister-in-law, she hates the doctor. And she hates asking people to do things. So for them to call me at 3 AM and have me drive 50 miles, it was a big deal.

I’m so thankful it was a panic attack. It could have been something worse. Panic attacks can be fixed. It’s why God invented Xanax.

The poor girl felt SO bad when she got back. Making me get up like that. And driving all that way. For just a little over an hour. She was embarrassed that it was something so minor and she made me go through all of this. And then I shook her because “are you kidding me? This was NOT minor. You were sick. You needed to get thee to an ER. And this is what I’m here for!”

It didn’t even cross my mind to not do it. Sure, I may complain and be a little selfish, but nothing would have stopped me from helping her out. I would do it again in a hot second. Because that is what family is for. And it makes me so happy that I’m the first one they call. That she trusts me enough and doesn’t even think twice about leaving me with her children. Because we all know how much I love those two kids.

So I’m tired. Kim is fine. Everything is fine. And this is what is important. Who cares about a stupid job? This is what matters most to me in my life. This is worth being tired for. Helping people you love is worth the lack of sleep.

The rest is just filler.



  1. WOW. Glad your SIL is ok and that the cop gave you a break on the headlamp! You’re having a rough week. Your attitude, however, is gold-star worthy!
    House of Jules

  2. what is a night guard?

  3. hahahahaahah! i don’t mean to laugh… but a night guard?? does it have holes in the front so the drool can come out?? hhahaha! glad to hear all is well however. AND your headlight is still out?? that is another story you can add to the shenanigans of kj and $tabone… and i have no idea what your text was about tonight, i am a little slow, it’s 124 am east coast time and i’m a tad crunk, imagine that! hi mom!

  4. Yikes – 3am has got to be tough! Glad she’s okay though, and BUGGER on the stupid red light camera.

  5. Oh Lordy, there’s almost nothing scarier than a 3am phone call…. Glad to hear your SIL is OK and that you survived the whole, surreeal-sounding night.

  6. Just the phone ringing at 3am would have done a major number on me. I’m glad you got there safely and that Kim is OK. Unless you’ve had a panic/anxiety attack, you have no idea how frightening they can be.
    Until I read your post today, it didn’t dawn on me that you’re sooooo right….THIS is the stuff that matters…you’re so smart & insightful.
    Hi Rich.

  7. Oh my gosh, glad to hear that your SIL will be okay. And how lucky she and your brother are to have you close by. Think Red Bull today πŸ™‚

  8. Ugh, having been on the giving and receiving end of that story, that’s a kicker.

    You’re a good SIL for rushing to her aide, and not being pissed off that she didn’t have something worse wrong with her. I can TOTALLY imagine her, though, sitting in the hospital thinking, “Shit, it’s only a panic attack. And I made Kristin drive all that way.”

  9. DD was CLOSED? What kind of effed up place do you live in???

    Glad she was ok and that the cop wasn’t a total ass.

  10. How the hell you managed to get funny into that story is beyond me, but you succeeded.

    Glad Kim is okay. Glad you’re okay. Get the damned tooth fixed – they’ll give you drugs if you’re nice. πŸ˜‰

  11. wow, what a night! glad she is okay. you are a good sister and SIL!

  12. That was all sorts of beautiful. It’s so nice that your family can depend on you.

  13. >>Did you know it is really kind of eerie at 3 AM outside?<<

    It only seems that way when you are sober. πŸ˜‰

  14. Thank God Kim’s OK… So glad you made it there safely… Hope you can catch up on sleep later.

    Get your headlight fixed today, while you’re not at work, if you can. πŸ˜‰

  15. Wow, what a night! I’m so glad your S-I-L is okay, and glad that you could be there for her and the kids. Great story… hope you don’t get a ticket from the red light camera!

  16. Glad she’s OK … the red light camera/cop thing? Would SO happen to me.

  17. I’m so glad to hear that she is alright and the cop let you off. Those little cameras are bastards. We have some by our house and I hate them. I tend to run the end of the yellows and know that one day I will receive a ticket with a photo attached in the mail on day. Oh freaking well! Hope you get a good nap in soon πŸ™‚ It’s almost the weekend for you! My ass is off tomorrow, yahoo.

  18. You are a gem! So nice of you to be so caring! The red light camera-holy hell, were all the fireworks REALLY necessary at 3am??? you poor girl!

  19. I love how you ended this. And, truly, you’re so right. And they called you! Look how much they heart you.

    I hope you skipped work and napped. Or will skip work to nap. Or at least finally got that coffee.

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