Wounded (And I Don’t Mean My Pride)
“There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.”
-Dwight David Eisenhower
The next thing I was aware of was movement and sound. I was inside an ambulance; I had no idea how injured I might be, but I didn’t feel like I could move. There was an oxygen mask on my face, and I couldn’t see very well.
I have always thought there should be some way to quickly inform patients of their condition upon waking. If you are obviously in a hospital it would calm you if you knew what happened. These are, of course, ruminations that only come to you after a certain age. Young healthy people do not invite such thoughts into their daily musings. We over 60’s have more occasions to think about hospitals and insurance and such. Even we few who are beyond the need to worry about money think these thoughts.
I have often thought that those insurance cards should have a magnetic strip that includes all our medical history already swipe-able, for when we are unconscious. Think of it, no one getting a drug they are allergic to, no one having to worry about what insurance company they should bill through or what operations they have already had, or if diabetes is an issue, etc., etc., etc. (in the words of the King of Siam).
This seemed a nice, up-to-date ICU room, with a busy set of nurses and doctors rushing about to deal with many people, possibly mostly others from the diner.
Suddenly there towered above me a tall, thin awesomely hairy man. He was looking at my chart with the look of a man who just smelled cabbage boiling.
I reached up and took the mask off my face, “Doctor….” I wheezed.
He put the chart down and in the same movement replaced the oxygen mask, saying, “Now, Mr. Grant, you need to keep this on for awhile longer. Let me fill you in for any questions you might have. I am your Doctor, Meyer Whitte-McNitt. My wife’s maiden name was Whitte, but we decided to reverse the hyphenated version to avert an overabundance of humor aimed at our names.” He stopped and forced a smile down at me to show that he was breaking the ice; then he resumed the formalities, “You have just been in an explosion, but have received no obvious injuries beyond minor bumps and bruises. We are running every possible diagnostic test to make sure nothing has slipped past us. If you are cleared, we will move you into a room and watch you overnight and release you in the morning. Are you in pain?”
I moved my extremities and, beyond a touch of soreness that one would expect from throwing a large body across the room, I was not. I shook my head.
“That’s good, though unexpected,” he called over a nurse and whispered to her for a moment, then turned back to me, “I leave you in the capable hands of Nurse Martin until I make my rounds again in about two hours.”
He gave me the slightest of formal bows and exited the room. The nurse came into my direct line of sight, “I’ve never worked with a detective before, but the x-rays say you have had a great many injuries in your career. Does this sort of thing happen to you a lot?”
I lifted my right hand and made a “So-so” gesture.
She laughed a bit and continued to check to see that all my connections were still valid and no IV lines had come loose. “I’m going to sedate you now for a bit, so you can get some rest.”
Her talking seemed to fade into chattering as the mind began to give way to sleep.
Just on the edge of consciousness I considered that if someone had sent that car into the diner with the intent of killing me, how easy a target I would be here, totally off my guard.
Before I could say or do anything, I was asleep.
© C. Wayne Owens
Continue on to Chapter 19