Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mrs. Wilson and Her Faulty Duodenum

You get your stories where they come to you.

Today's story comes from St. Vincent's Hospital, deep in the bowels of Los Angeles, on Alvarado, where Koreatown bumps into Little Bangledesh and nudges up against the rapidly growing downtown district.

Unfortunately, I've spent the better part of last week at this oasis just north of famed Macarthur Park, where Sister Fidelis Klein and the other Daughter's of Charity have been administering to the sick in their Satan-like costumes since 1954.

Seems my brother went to spinning class last week, the first and probably the only time he'll ever do that. 24 hours after the relentless cycling he began suffering from extreme leg cramps.

I would have washed down two Vicodens with three fingers worth of Jack Daniels but my brother and I are cut from different cloth.

At 4 AM on a Sunday morning, unable to sleep, he got in his car and drove to St. Vincent's, Home of the Scarily Winged Nuns. Turns out he over-exerted himself and created muscle debris, which can be very painful and spike levels of CPK in the bloodstream.

Out of extreme precaution, my brother's spontaneous ER visit turned into a 6 day stay at the posh palace by the park, where on a clear day one can see the brown fire-ready brush of the Hollywood Hills.

Of course, this hardly bothered my brother who enjoys any time he's not reconciling bank statements or balancing credits, debits, assets and liabilities. Plus the British Open was on TV. Plus his meals, if you can call it that, were brought to his bed and the dirty dishes whisked away at his command. With a little well placed play acting he could have been put back on a Morphine-drip. I wouldn't have passed on that.

To some, a hospital stay is a welcome relief from the hum drum of everyday life.

I'm not some. While I enjoyed visiting my brother -- who was just released and is fine, thank you -- and spanking his ass at Chess, and the free Purell at every corner, there is very little to be said for being in a hospital.

Fact is, I spent an entire summer at a hospital. Good Samaritan in Suffern, NY. Not as a patient, but as a kitchen pot scrubber making an unheard of $3.62/hour. I was relegated to the kitchen after my second day on the job. Take it from me, the hospital kitchen is not as clean or as sanitary as hospital administrators would have you believe.

I was initially assigned to Tray Pass, but that didn't last long.

I'd stack the plastic covered trays on a huge hand cart and then roll them up to the floors, where I would personally deliver each carefully assigned meal.

Kosher, goes to Mrs. Schwartzbaum.
Low Salt, Mr. Vitali.
And this one, Low Fat, High Protein, that's reserved for Mrs. Wilson.

I knocked on her door. No answer.

I looked for assistance, but no one was around. I heard a low moaning sound but that was hardly unusual in a hospital, particularly on the ICU Ward.

Mrs. Wilson, all of 84 years old, did not respond. Perhaps she couldn't hear me. I proceeded. Foolishly.

I pulled back the privacy curtain and there she was. Standing next to the bed, with her hospital gown by her ankles, squatting over a bedpan stationed on the floor.

She looked up at me and let out a scream that I'm sure could be heard in Pearl River.

I stood there frozen.

The nurse ran in, assessed the situation, got right in my face and yelled, "Get out! GET OUT!!!"

I did.


I hate Hospitals.

No comments: