The way I am with everything.
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No One Comes To The Hospital In A Hearse
I took Phyllis to the hospital for foot surgery. They called it a procedure but if they cut it’s surgery in my book. The foot has been hurting her for a couple of years and today was the day to get it fixed. I dropped her off at the main entrance and parked in the garage. I came back and helped her hobble into the lobby. I had her sit down while I got the information as to where to take her.
After I was told to go down this long hallway and turn right and go down another long hallway I asked, “Can you get me a wheelchair?”
The guy at the desk looked at me strangely and asked, “A wheelchair? Why?”
“Because it’s a long walk and she’s here for foot surgery.”
“Oh, okay. We certainly will have a wheelchair for her when she leaves. Standard procedure, sir.” Then he went back to doing what he’d been doing- nothing.
“Yes, I know that. What I need is a wheelchair to get her to where she needs to go for the surgery. It’s foot surgery. It’d be a big help.”
“Sir, I’ve never heard of doing that. We do it after surgery, not before.” Then he again went back to doing what he’d been doing- nothing. He thought he’d settled the issue. He hadn’t. He didn’t know me.
“I know that. How about this- get me a wheelchair now and save us both a fuss.”
“No, there won’t be a ‘fuss’. I can call security if I need to. I have to check with someone and see if this would be okay. After all, no one comes to a hospital in a hearse.” He thought that was funny. It was funny.
“But sometimes they leave that way. So what?”
“Sir, please, we don’t like to say that out loud. Doesn’t really sound right, being as this is a hospital, you know. We always have the deceased picked up at the back, you know?”
“Good for you, Now, I didn’t ask for a hearse. I asked for a wheelchair. Get me one. Don’t tell me what the procedures are or about sneaking dead people out past the dumpsters or anything else. Get a wheelchair and I can get away from you.”
“Not unless someone higher than me says so.”
Higher than you? The janitor is higher than you. The janitor is paid. “Tell you what, umm, what’s that, oh, Tom, what I’m going to do is go back and sit with my wife. Her surgery is for 11:30. At 11:15 I’m going to call back there and tell them we will be late because you won’t help us. You know how doctors think they’re little gods? Let’s see, there’s a doctor and there’s you. Who do you think is going to win this?”
He called someone and had a wheelchair brought around with a volunteer to wheel it back to the surgery department. I said I could do it myself but the volunteer insisted. Phyllis thought that was nice of them. I agreed with her.
We got settled in the waiting room. I went over to the magazine rack and saw the normal selection. There were many copies of the hospital magazine. I knew no one read them but they added bulk to the rack. There was a copy of the Watchtower, of course. There were some health magazines. I found a copy of Time and Sports Illustrated. I took them and sat down next to Phyllis. I placed the magazines under my leg.
“You planning to steal ‘em?”
“Nah. I just want them here for reading while the foot gets operated on.” I knew that as soon as you left them in the rack someone would take them and you’d have to sit there staring at the wall for an hour or two or three. I knew it because everyone did what I’d just done.
They walked me back and told me to lie down on my stomach. The doctor came in with a pleasant greeting and explained what he was going to do. He did a great job of letting me know what was going to happen. It was a local anesthetic so I wasn’t concerned. The operation didn’t bother me as long as there was no pain. The doctor looked old enough for high school biology but I was getting used to that. The doctor said he was going to rip some of the fascia on my foot to make it easier to walk. Great! I wished he had used another word besides rip but okay.
He watched the monitor as he stuck the surgical needle in. That was standard but he should have been watching my foot first. When that needle hit the worst spot I felt like he’d set the foot on fire. My reflexes hadn’t been numbed and I kicked out.
Apparently I kicked the doctor in an extremely sensitive area. He yelled, jumped back and grabbed himself. He forgot he had the tool in his hand and stabbed himself, well, in the tools. He screamed and fell to the floor. He got up and moaned while he softly said he was going to the ER. He said to get another doctor.
The nurse told me, “Don’t worry about it, He’s done this before. He forgets this part. He knows to stand to the side. We’ll rustle up another surgeon and get you taken care of, honey.”
I wasn’t worried about it. He was a doctor and they had an emergency room. I was worried about having to come back for this procedure. That’s what they call surgery if you are going home the same day. Something to do with billing codes.
A new doctor came in, laughing to beat all, and finished the procedure.
I was surprised how quickly Phyllis came back out. I was pleased to see that she and the nurse were laughing. It must have gone well. I asked where the wheelchair was to get her to the car.
“Oh, she can walk. Her foot is numb. She can’t feel any pain.” Then she started laughing again and so did Phyllis. I was puzzled.
“I’ll tell you about it in the car”, she said and started laughing again.
As we left the waiting area she looked me over pretty good. Probably to see if I put the magazines back.
As went past Tom at the desk he shot me a funny look at Phyllis walking out. I winked at him and said, “Sometimes the hearse is a mistake.”