November 2007, Austin was in the ER with an abscessed tonsil. Having arrived around midnight, being pumped with serious pain medication, and finally having the problem resolved around 7am, we were more than ready to get out of the hospital. The only problem, as soon as it was time for the nurses to begin the discharge process the Emergency Room became suddenly busy. So we had to wait, and wait, and wait. Which became amusing in and of itself.
At some point, during the waiting process, Austin decided it was time to go. He peeked out of the curtain area of the bay we were in and stated "Let's go." I explained we needed to wait until we were discharged. He didn't like that answer and decided to figure out an "escape" plan. He stated he needed to use the bathroom, which was down the hall, around the corner. I wasn't sure if I trusted him to come back and gave him strict instructions that he could go to the bathroom but had to come right back, the same way he went. He assured me he would, and as he walked down the hall he looked back mischievously. He pretended to go the other way, glancing back to catch my evil eye warning him not to do it. He was a good boy and did come right back.
Shortly upon his return he spotted a cart of dirty linen rolling by the room, being pushed by one of the hospital staff. He declared, matter-of-factly, that we could escape. All he had to do was climb into the cart of dirty linen and have me roll him out of the hospital. There, problem solved! I think he watched too much TV. I laughed, shaking my head, letting him know we weren't going to sneak out.
As he grew more restless, still feeling no pain, thanks to the medicine they'd administered earlier, he came up with other ideas of how to get out of the place that was holding him hostage. I just laughed, reminding him we had to wait and that he could not cross the threshold of the curtain doorway. He'd stand with his toes just over the edge of the line of the "doorway", rocking back and forth like a little kid testing the limits, as if to say, "See, I'm not leaving, but my toes are over the line. I really want to get out of here, please!" Then all of a sudden, with a twinkle in his eye and a smirk on his face, he looked at me and declared, "I know why they won't let me go. They liiiike me!" Then he turned around, came all the way back into the room, jumped up on the bed, satisfied with his epiphany.... they liked him!
When I was home this past June, running around, getting ready for the "Forever Young.... Remembering Austin" event I smiled as I thought of this story for the hundredth time. When I got to the last part, tears pooled in my eyes, and I quietly said "Yeah Austin, we didn't want you to go... because we liked you, we really liked you. Correction, We LOOOOVE you.... I love you."