At about 2:00 a.m. on Monday morning, I woke up unable to bend at the waist. This phenomenon occurs maybe once a year, and usually results from spending too much time bent over some project (like the basement sink I was fixing on Sunday). I don’t mind the pain, but I hate the gymnastics I am forced to perform just to roll out of a sitting or laying position and get to my feet without bending my back. I know if I just give it a few days, my back muscles will loosen up, and I’ll be able to move again. But I’m a busy man. I have things to do, and I hate walking around like I have a stick up my butt. I decided to head into the ER to see if they could help me out.
Since Sunday was Diana’s only day off, and she was scheduled to work on Monday, I snuck out of the house and drove myself to the hospital. It was snowing like crazy, but I was the only one on the road. I was also the only patient in the ER. They put me in an exam room and took my vitals. They had one of those automatic sphigmom… sphygmoma… blood-pressure cuffs. It kept tightening and loosening, tightening and loosening.
“We’re having a hard time getting your blood pressure.”
“Am I dead?”
“Nope. Your resting pulse is 106, which is pretty high for a dead guy. Let me readjust the cuff.”
After several tries, they finally got a reading. My blood pressure was very high. Go figure. The doctor came in, poked and prodded for awhile.
“Yes, your lower back muscles are locked up tight. I think we can loosen them up a bit.”
Doc left, and was replaced by a nurse:
“Okay, I’m going to give you an IV with three drugs. The first is to combat the nausea you might get from the second drug, which is for pain. The third is an antispasmodic. Do you have a preference for which arm you want it in?”
“Either is fine.”
“Wow, you have nice veins.”
“Thank you, you have nice earrings.”
The nurse painlessly inserted the IV into the crook of my arm and administered the cocktail.
“You should start feeling some relief soon.”
“How long does it normally take to… Hooooooooly crap.”
The nurse smiled.
“I’m falling. Why am I falling?”
“You’re not falling. That’s just the Dilaudid kicking in.”
“Dilaudid. It’s for moderate to severe pain.”
“Like the cry-ee face on your wonderful wall-chart-of-pain?”
“Yes. Just like that. How is the pain now?”
“I am fairly certain the pain is still there, however, it is no longer of grave concern to me. You may consider me the smiley face on your chart.”
“You’re not from Nebraska are you?”
It is a curious fact that when under the influence of certain mind-altering substances, my accent reverts back to a natural hybrid Mississippi/Kentucky drawl. When this happens, I tend to overcompensate by dropping my contractions and using 19th century vocabulary whenever possible in an attempt to sound more lucid and less like a complete hillbilly. The result, apparently, is a sort of stilted Foghorn Leghorn.
“I am not from around here, no. Why do you ask?”
“Well, you kinda sound like that rooster on the Bugs Bunny cartoons.”
“My Dear, I am inclined to be offended.”
“Oh no. I like it. It’s different.”
“Then I withdraw my previous statement and declare us the best of friends as ever there were.”
“I’m going to let you rest while the muscle relaxer does its work. I’ll put the rails up so you don’t fall out of bed.”
“I am forever in your debt.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
Some time later, my pulse was back to 64, I was dressed, and I had tearfully and repeatedly thanked the hospital staff for their care and dedication to making the world a better place for humanity. I then called Diana at about the time her alarm would have normally gone off:
“Good morning, Darling. I require your services as chauffeur, friend, and soul mate.”
“Where are you?”
“It’s square and my shoes are here… no… yes, there they are… my shoes.”
“You’re at the hospital.”
“I am indeed. How did you know?”
“You’re talking like Foghorn Leghorn.”
“I woke up this morning unable to move.”
“Honey, why on Earth didn’t you wake me up so I could drive you?”
“As you did not wake up when I fell out of bed and knocked over the night stand, I assumed you were very tired. I did not wish to disturb your repose.”
“I am so mad at you.”
“I am so in love at you. You are beautiful and sweet and kind to people and beautiful… and sweet. I do not deserve you.”
“What in the world did they give you?”
“Get a prescription.”