4 ̶ Memorable Moments
On that first Saturday night, long after I had retired, a party erupted in my room. The festivities endured the rest of the night, all the next day, all Sunday night, and tapered off on Monday morning.
The new residents of our semi-private room numbered somewhat less than two dozen and never more than four. The patient, a guy, had some heart-related problem, so periodically a nurse turned up to hook him up on a pulse and blood pressure machine and performed other functions behind the drawn curtains. I will say this: the newcomers were friendly, and when they moved to another room (apparently to give me a break), they offered the paid-up television subscription for me to use up.
On Monday evening, a nice old lady moved in. Every five minutes, without pause, she offered some variation of “I want to go home” and “I shouldn’t be here” and “Why are they keeping me here?” Every time, a member of her numerous family would explain that she would have to stay until her assessment was complete. At one point, when everyone had stepped out of the room, she wheeled herself to my bedside and borrowed my cell phone: she wanted to call someone to take her home. I dialed a number for her. A nurse appeared and gently removed the phone from her grasp. She was a nice old lady, had been driving her own car up till a month ago, living alone in her own house, and had just turned 100 years old.
The next day, Tuesday, her family arranged for her to transfer to a room closer to the nurses’ station. I checked on her on Wednesday and she seemed fine and I wondered why they were keeping her here. At that time I was ready myself for a lift home.
My most memorable procedure was the MRT scan. I was wheeled into a half-dark chamber which seemed to double as a laundry room. The technician asked me to sit on a level surface, swing my legs over, and watch that I didn’t knock my brains out when I inserted by head and shoulders into the huge machine. I was locked in. The gurney or whatever slid noiselessly into a tubular arrangement, an emergency signal button was placed in one hand, and the technician left.
I now know what it feels like to be prepped for cremation. I couldn’t move at all. Then the noises started. Very mysterious, very creepy, very ominous noises, varying in intensity. A series of clicks and rumbles and creaks and staccato hammerings. After ten or fifteen minutes I felt myself dozing off as I waited for the burners to kick in.
The technician returned to extract me from the vault. The gurney slid out. But the gurney hung up. The locking mechanism wouldn’t release me. “Darn,” said the techie, “I’ve been meaning to fix that.” After another ten minutes he did fix that. That’s the sole reason I am around today to recall a special Robins treat.
I mentioned that I was less than thrilled with the hospital menu. Not finding myself lashed to a bed or a gurney, on the last day I ventured outside the ward to find some real food. I found myself in a single long, very long, corridor into which other wards discharged. I found a staircase and descended. Another long, very long, corridor seemed to lead to places where the action was. I eventually emerged into another long, medium long, corridor that served as the hospital lobby. Drawn to tantalizing scents, I joined a lineup at Robins. I ordered a café mocha and a glazed doughnut. The Robins mocha did not hold a candle to a Timmy’s mocha. But the doughnut, ah, the doughnut . . . !
Now, back to Level 3 North of St. Joseph’s Care Group . . .