I’m a story collector. As in, wherever I go, I try to remember the ridiculous, or unusual, that happens.
Take my two week stay in the hospital…the first few days I was under heavy morphine and was barely awake, but in my moments of clarity I remember the “room-mate”. It’d be hard not to remember actually. Since there was only a piece of fabric separating the room, I heard my hospital “roomie” had been stabbed, jumped on, and suffered great tragedy involving gang fights and a bar. I guess it was a good fight because the incident got on the news. This information seemed to be greatly celebrated as his family and fellow gang friends crammed into their half of the room and listened as my nameless
“roomie” retold it over…and over…
In my sleep, I remember thinking that the story was getting more interesting…and I hoped that I didn’t meet anybody from his gang. The “two guests at a time” sign on the door was not effective, so finally the nurses ushered most of his guests into the hall. Apparently, they started having mini potlucks there. However, I’m certain they were nice as they offered one of my parents a donut. Nice people give donuts.
My brother Cameron, who is part angel, took it upon himself to try to move me to a new single room. The constant chatter and exploding story was a little much for my head. So they moved me.
I no longer had a room-mate, but the people next door to me were just as interesting. The guy on my right would, in his booming voice, beseech and beg for help. He’d first call out the names of what I assume were previous lady friends, and when they didn’t reply, resort to “Somebody, help!”. His talking was a constant, and by that I mean a factor that does not vary or that is regarded as completely invariant. If he didn’t like what was happening, which was 75% of the time, he’d use “words” which are still pending permanent review in Webster’s dictionary. We’ll just call him Sir Swear-a-lot.
Then there was guy just a little down the hall…he was chained to his bed with two police officers guarding the door. One night, chained up man grew weary of Sir Swear-a-lot. This produced a yelling and swearing match which rivaled the disagreement of Balrog and Gandalf.
But then, I’m not entirely innocent. I admit there was one night, around 5 in the morning, where I lost my sense of decorum. Sir Swear-a-lot was particularly animated and was asking for everyone to “Shut up”. The persistence of that man is to be commended. He never lost vision of what he wanted to say and tireless kept at it. That’s dedication.
My nurse came in and forgot to shut the door for two hours. From 5-7am I listened to an even louder rendition of “Help me Marilyn”. This was followed by a second chorus called “Shut up”. I’ve chosen to place blame on the headaches, but I finally lost my mind and yelled, “No, YOU shut up!”.
Not a soul heard me. My voice was so weak I had adopted a mouse-like quality…not unlike squeaking. However, I was surprised by how satisfied I felt after so vulnerably sharing my feelings.
I must have felt a little guilty though, because, once I was able to shuffle down the hospital halls, I gave a smile as I passed him. However, he was locked in his room at that moment, so after I smiled he looked at me and groaned, “That just made it harder. Someone let me out.” That may or may not be the last time I smiled at him.
While I can’t say I ever reached the point of enjoying my neighbor’s colourful language, you realize that these people are oh-so precious and have been through a lot of hellish experiences. My reaction was to send love their way via prayers rather than excessive smiling. I may have been starting to feel a little paranoid…
This slight paranoia snowballed directly after. A few days before my accident I made the grave mistake of watching the movie “The Good Doctor”. Never watch this. Essentially, it’s about a handsome new-to-the-scene doctor who falls in love with one of his first patients. So much so, that he starts tampering with her meds/treatment to keep her sick longer…which, of course, keeps her in the hospital and eventually kills her. All I can say is, “Orlando Bloom, you have made poor career choices. I’m ashamed.”
Anyway, the trauma team would often come and check up on me, which included the doctors, nurses, physios…whatever… and there was a handsome newly trained doctor. Then, he started coming apart from the “team” meetings, like…by himself. I literally just started replaying the movie in my head and would freeze every time he entered the room. “Not good. This is just like the movie. I’m going to die.” I thought. Looking back, I wasn’t my pleasant self to him…in fact, pretty icy. He’d stand there and not say anything. Just stare. I realize now that doctors need to think and they certainly don’t need to talk the whole time, but in the moment, I would freeze panic. After one of these moments, he said, “Who do you get to do your eyebrows while you’re here?”
At the moment I thought it was the strangest pick-up line I’d ever heard. I stuttered, “They’re just…that…way.” Then I froze again.
Moral of the story: Sometimes doctors don’t know how to make a frozen patient be relaxed so they say something weird. Also, doctors don’t always travel in packs. It’s okay, and completely normal, to make a solo mission. Additionally, don’t watch hospital movies…it’s completely unnecessary.