Grady Memorial Hospital is literally the heart of the city. It is a level 1 trauma hospital and if I am not mistaken, it has two helicopter transport pads on the roof. There are only so many reasons as to why you should go to Grady. If you just got shot like Tupac, go to Grady. If someone just so happened to burn your house down while you were still in it, go to Grady. If you slept with one too many and now you feeling funny down there, go to Grady. If you just so happen to get stabbed while on your way to Grady to address one of the above, then please take your ass to Grady. If you are pregnant and go into labor, kindly ask the Uber driver to pull over on Edgewood, help you deliver your baby, give them a 5 star review, give a big tip, and then tell them to take your ass to Crawford Long. I was not born in Atlanta. I was born in Virginia. However, most natives of the city are proud to have a t-shirt on that says “I’m A Grady Baby”. This upsets me because Crawford Long is right around the corner. They actually provide ice water at Crawford Long. Try that shit at Grady.
Remember when “Nah Nanah Nah Nah, Your Momma’s On Crack Rock” came out? During that time that was the top joke/ put down you could run on someone. The second place runner up, was that your daddy, momma, sister, brother, auntie so crazy they put them on the 8th floor in Grady. Or the spin to that was “you are 8th floor Grady crazy!” These “jokes” were around in the 1980’s. Well guess what, the 8th floor is still in full effect in 2015. Except for now, they have acquired three additional annexes to help with the sorting of “crazy”, you have the emergency waiting room, the entire outside perimeter of the hospital, and for those extreme cases, you have the 12th floor. Either area, there are no clean up crews to address anything that happens in these areas. So this is a “come at your own risk” type of situation.
My beloved Chico has decided to sit this one out. I know he loves me, but he is not going to be seen at Grady. I can’t blame him. This will be my second time visiting Grady. The only hope that I have in being able to mix in without being considered crazy myself, is that I actually have on regular clothes and you could mistaken me for a nurse or doctor. On the outside, I look well put together. In my mind, I am ready to run like hell to the nearest plane. I believe that the people that are looking at me know that I have just left the “Doom Room” and that I am on the run. I can’t afford to get caught out here and sent back or put into another mental facility here, just on “GP”.
I enter into the main lobby not knowing where they have put my sister or what her current situation may be. There is a receptionist at the front desk and maybe five people in front of me waiting to find out information about their people as well. “Ms. South Atlanta” is no joke. She weighs in at a healthy 285, which I am sure is not considered obese, but “slim thick”. She clearly has decided that it was far more important to add rhinestones in different designs on her nails than to pay off that faithful Captial One credit card she just got. Her hair on the other hand… It’s a green and black ombre and it is not moving for at least another week and a half. By that time, she would have already come up with a new color and a new style and this one would be considered a thing of Instagram past.
She tells the third person standing in front of me to back the hell up and stand behind the line. “You don’t want no body knowing your damn business so back the hell up so yall can give this man some privacy”. We all back up to give each other space and I will tell you that this process is making me anxious and I am ready to say fuck it and let the cards fall where they may. However, I know what it feels like to be in a hospital and not knowing who is going to come to your rescue. So I am not giving up. I am sweating. My heart is racing, but she needs me. I know she does. For the life of me, I don’t understand why getting information from this chick is taking so long. It is finally my turn and I tell them that I am looking for my sister Jordan Jones. She sucks her teeth as if she already mad at me for no reason at all. She types something in the computer, careful not to tap too hard on her crystalized meth nails. “Oh, I’m gone need a state ID to get you a pass to get to this floor”. Fuck! I still have a Florida’s driver’s license. Smartly enough, I still have my Virginia’s driver license that is still in date and has the last name “Jones”. I pass this ID to her hoping that this will suffice and get me through the system. Seconds later, the printer is printing out a name tag with instructions and directions to where I need to go to see my sister. Ms. South Atlanta yells “Next!” and I move off to the side to see which elevators I will need to take. I review the directions again and damn if it doesn’t say take the H elevators to the 12th floor. I am damn near ready to faint.
My phone beeps and I notice that I have a new text message.
Charlie: WTF! I heard you were back in Atlanta. Say it ain’t so?
How she knows this information is beyond me. Charlie has an internal radar system that just happens to know everybody’s information. There is no need for me to even ask or wonder how she knows this. I just need to assume that her radar detector has gone off and she knows. There is no sense in trying to turn shit around or play it off.
Jacinta: It is so. What’s going on with you?
In just three short seconds, my phone is beeping with a new text notification. It is like she has thunder fingers when she is typing.
Charlie: Where are you? I am coming straight to wherever you are. Text me your address.
I think about my response to this. I love Charlie. She has really been a good friend to me. I just feel overwhelmed with all that is going on and for the life of me I do not need for all of the world to know that I am back home. I am hoping that talking to her face to face will help her realize how important this is to me.
Jacinta: I will text you my address. I am not at home right now, but I will text you and let you know when I am on my way there. For now, it is really important that you don’t tell anyone that I am back. I need to trust you on this…
Charlie: Gurl! What is going on? Are you ok?
Jacinta: Yes, just have my back on this one and we will talk when I see you later.
Charlie: Then you need to hurry up and get back to the crib, because I will be waiting in your driveway.
The H elevators have finally come to the lobby level. I get on the elevator with another couple. They push the fifth floor button and I push the twelfth floor button. They look me up and down as to say they didn’t peg me for that floor. The stigma has already been planted. Idiots! I give them the “but your ass is down here at Grady too” look. DING! the elevator has stopped on the fifth floor and they step off. The doors close and I am sweating. I have no idea what I am about to walk into. I just know that I know nothing about the twelfth floor. I just know that we are at Grady and no floor is good as far as I am concerned. I get off and there are directions posted on the wall for visitors. It occurs to me that these are “Matrix Room” rules. I breathe. I breathe some more. I finally hear someone on an intercom speaker that is asking me who I am here to visit and can I scan my visitor’s pass on the scanner next to the door. I didn’t even know anybody could see me in this lobby. I look around and I notice that there are cameras everywhere. I do mean everywhere. I scan my pass and the lady on the other end tells me I am to go to room five once she buzzes me to through the double doors.
The noise alone scares me. What the fuck did she get herself into now. I walk towards her room and right across from her hospital door, there is a nurse’s station. On the wall across from them is what seems to be a CNN production room wall full of television monitors. Every camera is showing what is going on within this entire floor. There are at least three Atlanta Sherriff Deputies lounging around and looking at the monitors. I look up and see where one of the deputies is watching intently. It is room number five. I look at the screen only to see that Jordan has on absolutely nothing! No hospital gown, nothing! I am mortified and pissed off. The deputy is not monitoring her. He is simply getting a free show of what my sister’s body has to offer. I am mad enough to kick his ass. I push through the door to find Jordan in a fit. Not only is she naked, but she is refusing to put anything on to cover herself. She is shocked to see me.
“And just what the fuck are you doing here? Ain’t nobody tell you to come up in here!” I don’t know if she recognizes me or not. For all I know, she thinks I am one of the nurses. I don’t even know if she realizes that it is me. I don’t ask. I don’t know what to say or what to do. Only god can help us now.