Mining My Life

Joe’s Post #53

mark twainOne of the greatest writers (no, not me) said, “It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” Mark Twain.

So let me look back at this week in my life and put that to the test.

Tuesday: 10:00 am. Meet a doctor who was so pale that the white walls behind him had more color. Like he had never seen the sun. Like he was allergic to it. I wondered how he managed to avoid the sun so effectively. Hmmm. He wore the thinnest glasses I’d ever seen. Pencil thin. Half an inch from top of the frame to the bottom. I wondered how he could see out of them at all. Hmmm.

Tuesday: 10:30 am. There I am. In an elevator crowded with patients and doctors. The doors open. More people stream in. One lady, a bit of the large size, wearing a blue hospital smock marches in, stands beside me, pivots 45 degrees to stare at me. Just stare. At. Me. I pretended not to notice, but it gave me the willies. “Maybe she was doing a test on how uncomfortable she could make people feel,” I was told by the funniest person in my life.  Hmmm.

skatesTuesday: 4:00pm: Lace up a 6 year old’s skates. I work really, really hard at doing them up tight. I pull. I yank. I strain. And finally I get them so tight, you couldn’t slip a gnat’s butt-hair between those skates and his ankle. I am so proud of myself. Later, an hour after skating on them later, I’m told that I put the skates on the wrong feet. Hmmmm.

Wednesday: 6am: Huge pain in stomach. Upper region. This is something new and completely unpleasant. Try to will it to go away. 7am. It’s not going away. It’s getting worse. A lot worse. Do I head to the hospital right away? Ah, no. I shower first and shave. If I’m going to die, I figure, I want to at least look ok and not smell like last week’s laundry. Drive to hospital. Not as easy as you think when you’re in a lot of pain. Grunted a lot. Swore a lot more. Got into emergency at 8am. And that’s when the fun began.

Wednesday: 8am: Give me information inform the nurses that I have, ‘severe abdominal pain’. ‘take a seat’. So I do. And I wait. And it’s getting a lot worse. A LOT. I can barely take a breath. It’s 9am when I go back to the nurse’s station and a nurse is chatting with a doctor. I sit, because, well, the sign says sit, so I sit and neither one of them looks at me. I manage to peep out, “hey” and the older one, the doctor, snaps, “we’ll be with you in a minute!” Like I’m bothering her. Like it’s not her job to kinda look after sick people. Like I’d come to her house and knocked on her door and tried to sell her time-shares in South African slums. Beside her is a sign that says foul language and threatening behavior will not be tolerated. I think there should be a sign that says foul language and threats will be expected if hospital staff are douches.

Wednesday: 10am: Who else is in the waiting room? I have to get my mind off the pain. There’s one drug addict waiting for his, what, fix, methadone? He’s lying across 2 chairs in what looks like clothes he’s dragged out of a dumpster. Another sits rocking back and forth has two different shoes on. The third patient is someone who says he’s going to do something to himself. The forth, well, he looks healthy so who knows, maybe a rash on this testicles or something. Amazingly enough, all of us are waiting. The drugged up guys I kinda get why they made them wait. But me, I’m in serious distress and the guy who’s going to do something to himself, why yes, sir, just have a seat and we’ll get to you sometime before you stab yourself in the neck with a bic pen. Sigh.

morphineWednesday: 10:02: Blood taken, three jabs to find my deeply hidden veins, EKG done, and then on to a bed. Nice nurse. Close-cropped black hair. “What’s the pain level, Mr. Cummings, On a scale of 1-10?” “10!!” I shout. IV stuck in. Morphine applied. Ten minutes later. “What’s the pain level, Mr. Cummings?” “Two, dah-doo-da-doodle. Two-tattoo. Two-badoopeedoo.” Ah, morphine. It was my friend that day. They never did figure out what was wrong. Just what it wasn’t. Wasn’t gallstones, wasn’t an appendicitis. Probably good, since if it was the latter, I would have died in the waiting room while the doctor was discussing her choice in coffee creams.

Is there a story in any of those events? Probably not. Not even about the woman who took care of me and the friend who looked after my dog while in the hospital. But characters, sure. The rude doctor with her blond hair like dried hay, the drug addicts or my personal favourite, the guy who was going to off himself and was told to wait in the waiting room. Or the creepy lady who stared at me like she knew something was wrong with me, like maybe she put a curse on me.

Ah, who knows? But life is full of all sorts of grist for the writer’s mill. This week, more than most.

6 thoughts on “Mining My Life

  1. Oh come on! Surely something was wrong! Or did they really send you away without any explanation.
    I’ve never had the chance to try morphine. Alison doesn’t like it. But I’d give it a whirl, preferably without anything being wrong. Maybe it could replace my lorazepam.
    I bet sitting in emergency for a night would give a writer a whole lot of raw material.

  2. ever thought of writing literary fiction…
    strange i enjoyed reading this so much given that i was so worried about what was wrong with you. seems you have a talent or something. such a strong voice when you write like this. more please.
    (and find out what was wrong. okay. please)

  3. What? Really? A story without an ending? Joe, I’m worried about your stomach. And I’m worried about your story. Take care my friend. Update please! PS: It’s good to mine your life. But not with live land mines.

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