With the KBF event on Pickwick/Wilson/Wheeler postponed, I was all set to hook up with the West Tennessee Bass Yakker’s and fish their event on Pickwick Lake. I have said before what a great bunch those folks are so I knew it would be fun. That was on Tuesday.
On Friday night, the Friday before the Pickwick event….I was pushing brussel sprouts around on my hospital food tray. Not just to pass the time, though I did create a train of brussel sprouts that I hoped to ride out of Vanderbilt, but in an effort to decide if I was that hungry. I stuck a fork in one…picked it up…and decided not yet. But I was getting very close!!
So planning for a series of tournaments to life altering decisions about whether brussel sprouts would kill me or not in the time it took to answer a phone call on Wednesday morning.
“We need you to go to the emergency room.”
Can I not come to your clinic? It is just a few doors down?
“No, we need you to come to the emergency room.”
But I can literally see the entrance from the emergency room entrance….
Are you kidding me? In the Covid-19 environment, they wanted me to come to the emergency room at Vanderbilt….in Davidson County, with the most documented cases in Tennessee…walk in and say the urologist wants me here? The one place that had documented patients and was ramping up to deal with the rush?
The pain I was suffering due to….well, a lot of you know the history….said go. So, I went. I went to one place I did not want to go to with all of the concerns….and they gave me a bed to wait for someone to come see me.
A bed in the middle of the hallway.
Now, I am not afraid of much in this life. I am a fight, not flight, kind of guy….but I felt a bit uncertain as I sat in that hallway for seven (7, 6 + 1, 1 less than 8) hours. Around 7 pm, I knew I was being admitted three hours earlier, they even brought a tray of food to eat; there next to the closet where they kept bringing dirty brooms, mops, rags.
But a fat boy gotta eat, so I enjoyed my meal as Metro Davidson Counties finest “persuaded” a dude bleeding and cussing that he was done cussing unless he wanted more bleeding….convinced him to shut up with a less than friendly hug, about ten feet from me.
Skip next a.m. surgery details, infectious disease, endocrinologists, urologist, nurses, everyone but the janitor pulling my pants down to take a look….skip to the plate with brussel sprouts.
Vanderbilt is not the Hilton. The meals are not ordered from room service, and are proportionate in size to the small bird seed holders I have seen in bird cages….and by Friday night…well, I almost ate something I would never consider at any restaurant. And I was starving….almost…but not quite brussel sprout hungry…..
…and I considered my position.
I needed to walk, but I would pace in the room to stay out of the hallways. I didn’t push the nurses’ button unless total desperation called for it…and until that night I never asked for some crackers or a popsicle (I finally got that hungry only to learn they had sandwiches!!! Someone shoulda told me that)…
…but again, I didn’t ask for anything I did not have to ask for….
…I could feel it in their voices, I could see it in their faces…the uncertainty is very real. They would tell me thanks for being patient (a patient – hahahaha) and not getting upset. I would thank them for being there…for not saying “I am out of here” in the midst of all that was occurring in another part of the building.
When I left, I was hungry, but I was alive. I was going to walk (well, they don’t let you walk) out of there and go back to the relative safety of my home while everyone there is willing to risk themselves to care for us day in/day out.
I guess what I am saying….is thanks. Not for the brussel sprouts….but for doing your job in spite of the unknown, in spite of all I am sure you see outside of this new threat.
Thanks to the doctors, the nurses (not for poking me, but for the laughs and the phone charger and the crackers), the cleaning staff, the food workers (who were so fun to talk with), the guy who pushed me out to my car, even the pharmacy that kept me there three hours longer – I do realize that you guys are under a lot right now….thank you.
I will be hoping you all remain safe….peace.