If I hopped into an emergency room carrying one of my legs, would I still have to fill out paperwork before being treated?

The thing about emergency rooms that I don't understand is why they seem so casual.

Last week, my son was in an ER in Omaha after a freak accident on the baseball field.

His injury was far from life-threatening, and at least outwardly, he was handling things better than Dad, because I was anxious to get him treated. I was a wreck inside, wondering how extensive his injury was.

But there he sat at the receptionist's desk listening to her jokes while answering questions.

I can't help but think of the Saturday Night Live skit in which Julia Childs cuts herself and is spouting blood all over. Wonder if that would have moved along the process?

But then again, they are more experienced with blood than the rest of us.

I'm sure we did not spend a lot of time proving we had insurance and that I was Alek's father, but when you're in the moment, it seems like a long time.

I know they have laws to follow, and if he had been brought in by ambulance, treatment would have started immediately, but when it's your child nothing else matters.

Once the receptionist finished her one-woman show maybe they are trained to try and lighten the moment, but no one was laughing we went from one room to the next.

The first stop involved more questions, more jokes (was I on the set of Scrubs?) before he was finally taken back for treatment.

From that point, although it was a long evening, everything went well. Even though Alek did not get the answer he really wanted yes, he would be sidelined for a time he handled the ordeal well.

It helped that his coaches and teammates stopped by to lift his spirits, and there were phone calls and texts and people brought food by the house the following days.

When something like this happens, you find out how much support you have. While the accident could have been a lot worse, it meant a lot to have so many reach out and check with us to see how Alek was doing.

The worst part for me was having to call home and tell my wife that Alek was in the ER.

I asked her if she was sitting, then proceeded to tell her what happened, emphasizing that he was doing well.

Alek advised me not to call or to tell her his hand fell off but I knew walking in the door with no heads-up would not turn out well for me.

My wife did OK with the news, and then her medical training kicked in and she rattled off a laundry list of questions I needed to ask. Maybe I shouldn't have called.

My head was spinning by the time I got off the phone, and I did what I usually do in cases like this, I listened to the doctor, asked what I remembered to ask and trusted the doctor knew what he was doing.

Alek is now on the road to recovery, and barring any speed bumps, his time off the field will be minimal.

He'll have a nice scar to remember what he went through, but most importantly we know that our baseball family is there for us.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.