by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|Weekly SCREAMS!!! win
To us 'Oldsters', complaining is an art form. Developed through years of experience, trial and tribulations, wronged feelings, terrible mistakes and lately, health conditions... no-one does it more often, nor better with panache.
We have a code amongst us for who holds the prize of being king or queen of the mountain. Those raising an irritated nurse's "Tsk, tsk" bow their heads in shame. Those who qualify for the day's waiting room contest raise a passing, busy doctor's eyebrows half an inch on the head.
All of us acknowledge the winner with a weary groan, ancient wheeze and feeble applause. I've only won once. Being as old as I am, when dressing to take Diana to her medical appointment, I'd but my shoes on the wrong feet. My corns made every step like I was walking a Polynisasn Island fire dance.
Even though it was Diana's time to complain about her aches and pains with professional staff, I was whisked in before she could utter a word. Everyone stopped sharing family nostrums that cured everything but what they had. Nurses and doctors turned into a first class football squad tackling me, and carrying me into one of the tiny closets they call a doctor's office these days.
The fix was as easy as cutting my shoestrings and rearranging my footwear. I got out without having to pay a dime.
There is a legend whispered in post operating rooms of an eight fingered, two thumbed surgeon who loves experimenting on our best aged and most revered winners as a way of revenge and retribution. They come out of anesthesia screaming about sawed off limbs, misplaced or missing organs, and sex changes done without consent. That is, if they come out alive at all.
Some parts have been tracked down by their finger and thumb prints being connected to strangers with no right to them. Cornea transplants with signed waivers cruelly made up, and unable to be contested or sued barely see the light of day. Hospitals have a way of taking care of their own and Doctor Two Thumbs takes every advantage along with pocketing the proceeds of his painful and evil acts.
You know how fishermen love making their catches grow bigger each telling. The boredom of sitting on pins and needles waiting for our turns in waiting rooms made Doctor Two Thumbs a figure like that.
I smelled something fishy going on when they separated Diana and I with some folderall about new Covid19 regulations. They had a specialist in to take a look at her many complaints.
"Complications." A harried nurse explained five hours later. The usual waiting time was only four. I was getting worried sitting there with my fanny growing numb, catching who knew what fatal illness for the coughs and sneezes erupting around me.
I was beginning to feel cold chills and hot flashes when word came back that 'they' wanted to consult with me. "What seems to be the problem?" I asked.
"We'd prefer to talk with you in private. We have some sad news to share." I was hustled beyond locked doors that read 'surgical staff only' and dumped in a freezing empty cubicle.
"Please sign these release forms. The doctor will be in shortly." I sat shivering on the only one metal chair, chewing on a plastic pen while rubbing my eyes at legalese on multiple pages, under a light bulb glaring down overhead.
I'd stabbed myself bloody, fingers shaking with frostbite unable to figure out all the Latin legal and medical terms numbing my brain when the door opened. A man wearing the outer white coat adorned with ribbons of blood entered and said, "Nothing to worry about, your wife is fine. If you've finished signing your name, I'll escort you to her in the emergency ward recovery room."
"What happened? She came in for her monthly review?"
"It is better if the attending physician speak with you." A ghostly smirk answered. "Your cooperation is appreciated. You and Diana will get out of here faster that way."
We passed a line of gurney's with I.D. tabs connected to naked toes along the way. Deeper into the jungle warren of branching hallways we went. Weeping, hand ringing figures sobbed and looked up beseechingly as we passed by.
A scream erupted behind me where sheets draping a newly arrived gurney were lifted. "My God, what have you done to him?" was followed by hysterical laughter. "You stole his nose."
"In, here, please." My guide had hurried up the pace. The door shut blindly with him racing out the opposite side.
It was dark. A single moan issued creepily before me. "Diana?" I prayed they'd put me in the wrong room. I had no idea where I was or how to respond. I'd been left alone.
Slowly my vision adjusted to the gloom. A shadowy figure lay flat on an examination table, restlessly moving as if trying to escape some personal nightmare. "Diana?" I prayed, feeling faint, edging forward. I fumbled my cellphone into my hand, using its dim light to guide me.
A travesty of nature peered back at me. "Yes," a barely remembered voice hissed back. "Get me out of here."
No way was this my wife. A variety of additional limbs, eyes, ears and noses had been attached, ready for harvest. "Before they kill me," the voice squeaked.
The University of Utah is an educational hospital world renowned for its training of future medical experts. It looked like every one of them had practiced on my wife, if this is who it was.
"Gah," I uttered, swallowing vomit burning its way down my throat as a four fingered hand and one thumb curled over one of my shoulders. Each finger was attached in the wrong place and the thumb lay where the little finger should be, pointing right instead of left.
"I've scheduled the next series of operations you signed her up for. She is quite the remarkable lady, a real trooper. Thanks for agreeing to share a kidney, one lung and grafts of skin. Your blood type is a complete Match."
"Sure thing, doc." I croaked. Give me a moment alone with her?"
Doctor Two Thumbs rubbed his mismatched fingers, thumbs and hands together, nodded and left. I managed to stuff one of my socks in Diana's mouth, taped it with gauze and white tape in place to keep her quiet. A passing foreign looking intern's white coat looked more bloody after I donned it than it had before. He now stabbed with surgical knives left in Diana's recovery room.
One wheel on her gurney squeaked and wobbled as I pushed her out her door. There were colored tiles in every hue leading this and that way. I chose a sickly looking yellow one to follow.
Eventually it led to an underground garage opening where hearses were parked in somber long black rows. Somewhere behind me speakers were sounding with alarm calls. "Almost home free."
I slid Diana off her gurney into the back of one, after checking and making sure the keys were in the ignition. We never returned home, but hide out in 24 hour emergency rooms, steal jello and other delights from left over hospital trays and look like we belong in any pre-surgery room in America, wherever we are.
Diana has gotten used to her new disguise as a human monster. We don't worry about her being recognized. She doesn't even recognize herself. She acts quite honored, winning the day's complaint contest wherever our bodies rest. She may look like a monster, but she is my monster with her heart in the right place.
No-one quite believes her tale of what she went through with Doctor Two Thumbs or even that he truly exists. Reality is a fragile thing for us oldsters and not easily accepted when the worst of it must be faced when brought into full view.