Friday, April 28, 2006

My First Belgian Hospital Experience - Chapter Trois: Oh, Please! Not That Room!

Turns out, Damian was the least of my problems. (I knew things were not going to go my way in the sympathy department when I looked down at the feet of the nurse taking my vitals and saw that she was wearing those Dr. Scholl's comfort clogs.)

Once she finished with my vitals, the nurse told me to wait for the doctor in one of the chairs lining the wall in front of the exam rooms. I took the chair on the end, which left me with a partial view of Exam Room 3. I say "partial", because all I could see was half of the room and one incredibly gnarled foot. What I couldn't see in Room 3 was made up for in sound and smell.

I'm very much a sympathetic vomiter. If I see someone get sick, if I smell vomit, or, if I hear someone vomiting, I'm right there with them. Come to think of it, I don't do well with other people's body fluids at all. Given that I was queasy to begin with, sitting outside of Room 3 was not a good move, since whatever was connected to the foot in Room 3 had lost control of all his bodily functions. Between the retching and the stench, I thought I just might die.

A doctor came and told me that she would see me as soon as an Exam Room was free. A janitor was then dispatched to Exam Room 3. He arrived with this industrial-sized blue trash can on a cleaning cart. He walked into Room 3, turned around, walked out, picked up a phone, and the next thing I know, another janitor with an industrial-sized trash can cart arrived - STAT. I could see the janitors, who, by the way, are grossly underpaid in my book, mopping and sweeping the room, making faces and holding their breaths. It was BAD.

During the clean-up process, someone came for the patient in Room 3. As they wheeled him past me, I got my first glimpse of the owner of the foot. I swear on everything dear and holy, the man looked like someone straight out of Tales from the Crypt. His skin was pulled tight over his face, his jaw was open and locked, his teeth, or what were left of them, were black. His arms were bandaged and crossed on his chest, a la open-coffin style. Forget knocking on death's door, this guy had a VIP card to get him to the head of the line. As they wheeled him past me, I threw up a little prayer for his soul. (Ok, that's a lie, but I was concerned about his well-being - much later, like, when I got home and started telling Dan about my day.)

Once the janitors were finished, the male one looked at me and said something in French. I knew what he said, but I ignored him, shaking my head as if I didn't understand. He repeated it, slower. I ignored him again. He tried it in Flemish. Again, I ignored him. He started gesturing with his hands, which I ignored as well. He then said to me, in English, what I had been ignoring in French, Flemish and sign language. For some reason, Mr. Clean didn't get it. He could have used 15 different languages and smoke signals, it would not have mattered. There was no way in hell I was going into Room 3!

So as I am walking toward Room 3, I'm thinking about how grossly overpaid - and pushy - hospital janitors are in Belgium. Just as I was about to step into Room 3, and start the whole vicious cleaning cycle anew, I heard my name being called from out in the hall. It was the doctor, calling for me to come to Exam Room 1.

Stay tuned for Chapter Quatre: Mama, She's Crazy

© 2006 by Cindy Lane. All rights reserved.


Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

OH, oh, oh. This is beyond heinous and gross. You deserve a medal for your encounter with the Crypt Keeper. Cindy, this is starting to sound like an episode of Fear Factor for me.

I think at this point, I would have wandered out onto the street with my possible cerebral hemorrhage, called a taxi, taken a hot shower and crawled between my own sweet sheets, telling myself that if I fell asleep and didn't wake up, at least I'd died clean and comfortable.

BTW, have you gone shopping for Birkis yet? : )

3:57 PM  

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