How To Get A Free Dinner At The Hospital

I can handle horror films. I love blood and guts. In fact, when I was in High School my dream was to become a special effects make-up artist. Give me Karo Syrup and food coloring and I’ll give you a bloodbath!

Real blood and guts however…different story. I’ve never been able to handle even the lightest discussion of the stuff. In college when I had my lower wisdom teeth removed, I stood next to the Doctor who’d be doing the job and he was pointing at the x-rays saying how he was going to cut into my jaw and I got instantly hot and sweaty and pale and waved my hands. “Just do it. Don’t tell me about it!” I said. He turned to me and sat me down and called the nurse for smelling salts. This has happened a few times. I’ve never blacked out completely though.

Until yesterday.

Tuesday my mom sent me a text:

Everything ok. Dad in hospital. Blood clot in leg and lungs. Will call later.

Back on December 27th, he had Rotator Cuff surgery. Everything went great but apparently for his troubles he got a blood clot that started in his leg and decided it’d prefer to be in his lung. He was admitted to the hospital quickly and started treatment. He’s doing great now and will be coming home (hopefully) tomorrow.

So yesterday I finished up the work I was doing on the next Henson Podcast, hopped in the car and drove straight to the Hospital in Northern California. I should probably mention that I ate at 10:30 that morning and aside from a bag of peanut M&M’s on the road, had no other food in me when I pulled into the Hospital parking lot at 7PM.

I went up and was visiting with dad. He was in good spirits. Joking, laughing. WIncing occasionally. Then he began describing his surgery and how it was supposed to take 2 hours and wound up taking 6. And he began describing why and I started getting sweaty. And woozy. We’d actually moved onto other topics, but I was feeling worse. So I figured I’d splash a little water on my face.

“Can I use this restroom?” I asked dad. He said sure. I stood. Took off my jacket. Took off my hoodie. Took a step towards the bathroom and the next think I remember was my forehead and nose slamming into the door of his room. Just a quick flash. Then things went black and another quick flash as again I hit my head on the door*. I remember thinking through the blackness, “Why do I keep hitting the wall?” Things went black again. I was out.

(*I’m getting woozy just writing this. Luckily I’m lying down.)

The next thing I know, I’m propping myself up in the doorway of my dad’s room. I remember weekly saying, “Hey Dad?” and holding my head. I was utterly shocked my nose wasn’t bleeding. I hit my face HARD. I was in pain.

The crack staff at the hospital was there in an instant. Asking me if I was okay. I was hooked up to a blood pressure machine. The night nurse, great guy named Mark tried to get a reading three times, but couldn’t though my long sleeve shirt.

So I sat there for a few as he tried. They ask when the last time I ate was. 10:30 I tell them. They bring me juice. Crackers. Cool wash rag. I have a nice little picnic there in the door way. As I’m eating crackers and they are taking my blood pressure again I look over towards Dad who’s leaning up in his bed to see. I give him a goofy grin and thumbs up and he shakes his head and leans back.

When they finally get a reading and my systolic (top number) was 80. Mark says, “That’s not good.” (120 is normal) They repeatedly ask me if I want to go downstairs to the emergency room. I say no. I’m good. They walk me to the chair I’d left minutes before and I sit down. Mark informs me he’s ordered me dinner and it’ll be up momentarily.

Sweet. Free dinner.

While I waited for my meal Dad and I chatted. He said, “I heard you hit and I thought, ‘Oh brother he’s putting on a show. Doing his pratfalls’ and I leaned forward and your hand was way up against the top of the door. And then I looked again and you were on the ground.”

My Dad knows me TOO well. He thought it was a ‘bit’.

I had a nice dinner (food was actually okay). They took my blood pressure again 105. Still low but Mark says, “That’s better.” I visit with Dad a bit more then head back to Mom & Dad’s.

I know that Dad’s called Mom because she meets me in the doorway.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes. I assume Dad called.”

“Yes. He wanted to make sure you made it home safe.”

“I’m fine.”

“Good I’ll call him and tell him.”

I told her to tell him I made it home, but I drove into the family room when I got here.

So there you go. How to get a free dinner at the Hospital. I’m very dissapointed this morning that I don’t have the two black eyes I was sure I’d have. I was down at the Hospital today visiting Dad with my Great Aunt and she asked if she could take me to lunch.

I just smiled and said, “I can get us FREE lunch. Just do what I do!”

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6 thoughts on “How To Get A Free Dinner At The Hospital”

  1. Grant: I know what you mean, I used to be like that and almost passed out watching a friend have blood taken. It hasn’t been so bad since I’ve had kids, though, maybe that’s the secret. So glad your dad is doing well, blood clots can be a very bad thing, indeed. Take care and don’t forget to eat. *hugs*

  2. Similar story when my wife was getting her epidural (sp?) during my daughter’s birth. I saw them put a 2 foot long wire into her back and got woozy and sat down hard in a chair as my legs collapsed under me. Luckily I didn’t need further attention. So much for being ‘supportive’ 🙂

    Hope you’re better and up and around.

  3. Yeah, blood and stuff totally freaks me out too. Glad you’re doing okay, and same for your dad. And I’m glad you got free food.

  4. When someone goes into detail about a surgical procedure or injury, do you tap on your knee or other available surface? That’s what my husband does. I take it as his “safety” sign and I back off of the description.

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