by Rick Jones, Husband of the Minister's Wife
Before I was admitted to the hospital last month I spent three hours laying in a bed in the emergency room. This was after thirty hours without sleeping more than twenty minutes straight, twelve hours of the time suffering from the effects of food poisoning.
I've been told that prolonged lack of sleep can produce each and every effect of LSD use – and at a significantly lower cost. So maybe my exhaustion explains my severe discomfort. All I know is that I was considering converting from Baptist to Catholic, since I felt like that three hours suffering from that ER bed would offset a few years of time in Purgatory.
If that remark makes no sense to you, don't worry. And if you're Catholic, understand that it's not a sarcastic theological comment. It just goes to show you that I was really, really tired.
When I was told we were going up to a hospital room, I was looking forward to the wheelchair ride because I'd be out of that bed. But no – they wheeled me up on the bed from the ER. Ow. Ow. Ow. I learned that there is something worse than laying in an ER bed: laying in a moving ER bed.
We exited the elevator, went down the hall, then stopped a few feet from the door to my room. A nurse on that floor asked, “What's he doing here?” I started to answer, “Developing blisters on my --” but was interrupted by another nurse saying “Oh, we haven't finished preparing the room. Just let us make the bed.” She looked into the room and exclaimed, “We can't use that, it's a bariatric bed!” Meing a very impatient patient, I considered saying that my name was Barry Atric, or promising to gain 275 pounds . . . did I mention that I was really, really tired?
Help arrived to remove the bed It was wider than most beds, and they knocked molding off the door frame while I watched and suffered. A regular bed was quickly found and brought in. I figured it would be just a few more minutes. Then someone in the room asked, “Where's the mattress?” I asked if I could sit in a chair while I waited, but the only person who heard me was Lois. She shushed me because by then the pain had distorted my voice so much that she was afraid they might pitch me into the Behavioral Medicine Ward [which was called the Loony Bin back in simpler, politically incorrect days] if they heard me. [I believe I mentioned that I was really, really tired.]
A mattress was eventually found – a NEW mattress, which was cheery news – and placed on the bed. Some of the staff started making the bed while another person plugged it in. Then someone said, “Hey! I saw sparks!”
I guess they have some kind of rule against things like electrical shorts in hospital beds, what with oxygen lines and sleeping patients and that sort of thing. By then, as you might guess, I was willing to take the chance . . . did I mention I was really, really tired?
The call went out for another bed, and the malfunctioning one was wheeled out. Only after they brought in the next bed did someone notice that the new mattress had disappeared, having been removed with “Old Sparky.”
While we waited for this detail to be resolved, I again asked if I could sit in a chair. I figured that if I annoyed the staff enough, maybe someone would give me a shot of morphine just to keep me quiet. Yeah, I know that sounds silly, but at the time, it seemed like a reasonable idea. After all, I was really, really, really tired.