Working in a hospital on a regular basis you see a huge slice of the fruits and nuts that make up the under done fruitcake called humanity. It goes without saying that most of the people walking in and out of the hospital doors are not there for happy reasons. Quiet and withdrawn people, lost in their own worries can be found nearly everywhere walking the halls seemly trying to forget why they are there. A smaller segment or people are there for more joyous reasons. The birth of a child, a final doctor’s visit to confirm the end of a long illness, or to have it confirmed no illness exists. The again there is an even smaller segment of people that appear to have the oddest reasons for walking hospital halls.
A couple of weeks ago I was coming out of surgery fully dressed out in hospital scrubs, paper surgical cap, and mask which was hanging loosely around my neck. Just a few minutes earlier I had just finished fixing a frustrating sterilizer dispelling several dark and disgruntled wraiths in the form of surgical nurses who instantly regained human form and behavior at the dinging of a little bell signaling the successful completion of a sterilization cycle in that particular unit. With the sterilizer that three separate operating rooms depended on up and running I collected my tools in my backpack and left the area eager for a break. Approaching the elevator foyer on that floor outside of surgery I noticed a rather large gaggle of people around the five elevators. This usually signified at least one of the units is down, or that vertical human traffic was so heavy it had simply backed up. While the elevators I was waiting for were primarily for staff both ambulatory patients and visitors were free to use them as well. Given the collection of actual bed bound patients, staff needing to be someplace quick, and visitors all waiting with me meant that for various reasons I had a low priority and would have to wait till most had cleared out.
Minutes began passing and whatever traffic jam issue that existed disappeared and even with new arrivals to the foyer the large group slowly began to clear out. Realizing that I still had the surgical mask hanging around my neck with it beginning to slightly bother me I walked over to a nearby trash can and ripped it off. It was then that I noticed three people at the edge of the foyer with two them studying me rather keenly. One was an older woman which looked to be in her late fifties or early sixties, the second was a much younger woman in her thirties, and the third person was a little boy sitting in a stroller whose attention was completely absorbed in what I recognized to be the latest toy afforded in the Burger Clown’s kid’s meal. The ladies were saying something to each other that given their direction of gaze more than likely had to be about me. While I was wearing scrubs over my work clothes self consciously I found myself checking to see if my pant’s zipper was down. There were still a few people left in the foyers so I just assumed I was wrong, that their attention was on someone else and just began waiting again. However, I couldn’t help but notice that after the last elevator doors closed with ample room for at least them they were still waiting along with me.
Small talk is not one of my talents in the best of times and at that moment I didn’t have the frame of mind to do anything but smile and say hello as I looked up and noticed that indeed their gaze was upon me again. The conversational ice ended up being broken not by them or me but by the little boy who for some reason threw his toy across what was now the empty foyer.
“Here you go buddy,” I said after walking over and getting his little toy since it landed close to where I was standing. The boy, about four or five, just smiled took the toy and giggled a little.
“Say thank you to the nice man Sean, for getting your little car.” The younger lady said who I soon learned was the boy’s mother and was named Sara. On closer examination I could tell Sara was in her early thirties, wearing jeans and what I’ve been told at times was a peasant blouse that was loose fitting and low cut enough to show more than a suggestion of ample bosom. Her hair was strawberry blond cut at neck level that framed a friendly and open face nicely but her most attractive feature were her eyes that were sharp blue. While she was far from being magazine model appealing her demeanor in both her attitude and appearance made her very attractive to me. She and I easily began talking about her boy Sean, which in turn allowed me to open up a story about both my kids Darth Spoilboy and Miss Wiggles.
All the while I couldn’t help but notice the older lady who Sara said was her mother kept examining me like a scientist watched a lab rat that had just been injected with some experimental serum that would either turn the rat into a prince or kill it. But as I spoke most of my attention was on how Sara whose face seemed completely enthralled in the story about Wiggles I was telling which at the same time I noticed she had brought her hand up to the exposed part of her cleavage and appeared to be absentmindedly stroking the lowest part visible and slightly under her blouse. It didn’t take a trained drama critic to understand that Sara’s was acting to a great extent but I have to admit that from my position I was enjoying both the attention and show going on between us.
Several times an elevator arrived at our location but was allowed to precede empty since Sara, Sean, silent unnamed mom, and myself were enjoying ourselves and our little tête-à-tête. As little Sean began a long, drawn out story about his little doggy at home I began wondering what the hell these people were actually up to, I had a suspicion but I discounted it, since the two adults were in no hurry to leave. I would have liked to ask who they were here for but hospital privacy regulations pretty much have the authority from God forbidding such inquires. After the conversation began to lag I figured it was time to leave and I wasn’t surprised to find the three joining me in the elevator. Sara was adding even more over done astonishment and ersatz delight in anything I said as the ride down to the basement began. Finally I saw some sort of slight touch from the mother that ever so slightly changed the tenor of our encounter.
“What kind of doctor do you happen to be?” Sara suddenly asked as the elevator slowed to pick up someone on the first floor.
“Doctor,” I chuckled, “no sorry, I’m a biomed technician here at the hospital. Why do you ask?”
“Biomed technician?” She parroted back slightly confused with a stern look appearing on unnamed mom standing behind her. “What do they do?”
“Oh, I work on sterilizers, surgical tables, and lights. It’s pretty interesting and keeps me busy.”
“So you’re telling me you wear doctor’s outfits and carry around a doctor’s bag and you are not a doctor?” She mentioned my tool backpack that I had been carrying the entire time.
“No, sorry I’m just a glorified wrench turner at times.” I replied seeing the disappointment on Sara’s face.
Unnamed mom clearly tapped Sara on the arm and with the elevator doors conveniently opening to the first floor Sara’s face went completely blank and she pushing the stroller with Sean inside and unnamed mom beat a very hasty exit out.
Just last Thursday as I was walking out of neonatal intensive care after helping one of my co-workers I saw Sara, Sean, and unnamed mom at the elevators again. Using the concealment of a linen trolley sitting in the hallway I saw Sara showing intense interest in some story one of the residents was telling her. Sean was sitting quietly in the stroller playing with some small toy and surprisingly unnamed mom had a huge grin on her face. I guess that she knew they had snagged a prince this time. No, I didn’t present myself or say anything; the young doctor is on his own.