A hospital stay shouldn’t be like a visit to the Twilight Zone but my wife’s stays certainly tend in that direction.
I’ve told about her experiences in seeing the ghost of Doc Holliday while in the Glenwood Springs, Colo., hospital just a few hundred yards from Doc’s final resting place. Last week we added a few chapters to the growing book with an unexpected hospital stay.
Our episode of Monster Theatre began at the local emergency room, also known as the Indigent Drifters Ward thanks to our health care system.
A woman in a bed there, separated from my wife by a curtain, had been living in a motor home with her man on the road while he looked for work. Evidently the shower in the motor home wasn’t working because the curtain wasn’t holding back the body odor.
To say the woman complained loudly through her toothless head would be a bit of an understatement. After the third call to get up to go to the bathroom the nurse said, “We’re going to have to do something about that.” The patient immediately understood that meant a catheter and began to protest louder. Two nurses jumped her and began to work on the project and the best laugh I had all day came when one called for a flashlight.
Finally we were told that my wife likely had gallstones and because of immune issues the doctor wanted to see her in the emergency room in Lubbock. We left in our own car and noticed as we left the man had found a great spot to park the motor home for the night — atop the helicopter pad.
After a cursory examination at the Lubbock hospital we were told we were going to be admitted directly. Great service I thought, can’t beat it if we’re going to have to check in for the night. Soon I found out why there was no waiting for this room.
An orderly wheeled my wife to the elevator and took us to the sixth floor where nurses were busy getting our room ready. Then I noticed it — they were putting us in room number 666. Thinking quickly, I placed my hand over the number as if leaning on the wall as they wheeled my wife past.
Wife didn’t realize until the next morning when some blond nurse spilled the beans that she was in room 666. She elevated from her bed on hearing the news and after her head spun ‘round twice her eyes glowed as she said, “You let them put me in room 666?”
“You’re not superstitious are you,” I teased?
That night, a male nurse at least 6-foot, 5 inches with huge sloping shoulders and an absolutely deadpan bedside manner was on duty. I stayed in a cot next to my sweetie’s bed all night. After seeing Bob silhouetted against the open door of room 666 at 2 a.m., I began calling him Lurch after the big, silent butler on the Addams Family television show.
When I told her Bob’s new name my wife nearly fell out of bed laughing. She admitted that because he slipped into the room so quietly while she was sleeping she had taken quite a fright looking up at him while trying to wake up.
It took longer than we wanted but the gallbladder was finally plucked out laproscopically and we went on our way. Despite the creepiness of it all, it was one of our best hospital episodes ever.
A nurse several years ago told my wife during one of her darker times, “They can cook you in here but they’re not allowed to eat you.”
Once again we escaped without being the main course.
Karl Terry writes for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org