What to Read In An Emergency

Josie Leavitt - May 21, 2010

This past Wednesday I found myself in a new position when my brand-new cardiologist suggested that my minor symptoms of chest and jaw pain necessitated a trip to my local emergency room. Wednesday, when hauling in boxes on the hand truck brought on the chest and jaw pain again, I called my doctor. Not only was I told to I had to go to the ER, but that I couldn’t drive myself. Elizabeth was working at home, so I had fifteen minutes to pace the store before she came to pick me up.
So, what does a bookseller do while awaiting transport to the ER? Well, I carefully picked through galleys I thought I looked good. My thought process was surprisingly complex: what books could I pick that would fit every mood I might have at the hospital? I was anticipating the worst, that I might have to stay in the hospital; I needed books that would take me away, that looked compelling and looked fun.
I chose an adult galley, Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann, that just looked wonderful and large enough to captivate me. My younger reader was Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, a book of friendship and romance. To round out my selection I chose The Invisible Order by Paul Crilley for any fantasy mood that might strike me.
Each of these books filled a need in meĀ  as I waited to go to the ER. What I didn’t know is, even after spending the night, the hospital is not a conducive place for reading. I had a cardiac catheterization done and while I had six hours of waiting before I was cleared to go home, I could neither move my head off the pillow or raise my right arm above my heart. So, I lay there, barely able to see my stack of books out of the corner of my eye.
The only good thing about all of this is my heart is just fine and now I have to take the next three days recovering from the procedure by doing nothing but reading.

15 thoughts on “What to Read In An Emergency

  1. Miriam

    I hope you feel better soon!
    I guess the lesson for all of us in the future is, also bring an audiobook and something on which to listen to it. Not the same as properly reading, now, but it’ll do in a can’t-lift-my-head-or-arm pinch.

  2. Margaret

    At least I had more than fifteen minutes to decide when I had scheduled surgery a couple of months ago!
    I ended up taking THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER because I decided that Strengthening Medicine was probably the kind of comfort that I was going to need: funny, familiar, and reassuring.
    Thank goodness I was allowed to hold a book, because between post-anesthesia itching, compression wraps breathing in an old like Darth Vader, and various hospital staff checking on different things every hour or so, sleeping through the night was NOT one of the available options.

  3. Josie Leavitt

    I’d like to thank all the well-wishers. I’m doing just great, in fact I’m having a really hard time not doing anything. And, if you see someone zooming by you at BEA on an electric scooter, that’s me, doing the best I can to not walk too much at the show. Finally, I brilliant way to collect swag and galleys and not get tired!

  4. Mary Quattlebaum

    A get-well ditty
    for Josie in her store so pretty.
    Hope you’re feeling lithe and flitty
    and not too awfully blah and (er) gritty.
    Okay, it’s so NOT Emily Dickinson but best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  5. Erin Murphy

    Josie, how frightening this must have been! I’m so glad it turned out well. Continued speedy recovery to you!

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