Saturday, October 25, 2008

No, I'm not a doctor but...

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 Quiet and withdrawn people, lost in their own worries can be found nearly everywhere walking the halls seemly trying to forget why they are there.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.


Mike said...

Oh man, it takes all kinds. I think the kind you described can best be referred to as pathetic.

•♥•♥[V]♥•♥• said...

dude, how clever ,treacherous ppl are..

still i think u should have walked over and told that doc.
anyways take care mate

C.Rag said...

"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"

You are so right. I know I look stricken as I walk the halls and enter the NICU with all the beeping & alarms until I see that little baby of mine then I brighten up.

Mike is right, DoctorSharks are pathetic.

joan said...

Wow. They were doctor shopping. I used to watch young nurses do that but not folks off the street.

a rose is a rose said...

this is a GREAT STORY. for a while i was one of those who wandered the halls (quiet and withdrawn, NOT doc-baiting).

you escaped but i sure do feel sorry for sean (the pawn so to speak)

Keshi said...

Omg I really cant believe there r such ppl in this world! Wut kind of ppl r they? I mean how low wud they hv to be to do that!


Colonel Colonel said...

Wow, fishing for doctors.

What an odd world this is.

lime said...

crimony, what a weird, weird scenario. #1 that she is trolling for doctors. #2 that she has her son with her, #3 that unnamed mom is overseeing it all. can you imagine the whacked out family dynamics???

oh and i finally answered the meme you tagged me with too.

Beach Bum said...

Mike: "Unnamed Mom" was the weirdest, she was like some cold calculating observer. When I stumbled over them a few days ago seeing her smile sent a shiver down my spine.

V: You know I thought about warning him but for all I knew I could have been complete off the mark on my assessment of the situation. People in these parts of South Carolina, to me, are different from those of the Lowcountry. Sara and unnamed mom could have been in the hospital for a real reason and the conversation I had with Sara and how she ended it could have just been how she did it to everyone. Had a buddy during my final years of the National Guard that could literally walk away from a conversation during mid-sentence and start it back up month later right where he left off.

C Rag: Been in NICU several times where I work and the staff has always impressed the hell out of me. As for people walking the halls I've been working at the hospital for three years now and it still tears me up to see a person or family get bad news.

Joan: Seriously, had the bad luck to be in an operating room working on a surgical table and two nurses step in real quick to discuss how they would get a particular married doctor in the sack. I was at the base of the table down low and they didn't see me. Heard about twenty second before I "coughed" to alert them that someone else was in the room. Lets just say that while I would have loved to hear what else they had planned beside a threesome I didn't really need them thinking I was deliberately listening in. After my cough one turned red, the other laughed, and honestly I turned dark green with envy.

Rose: With security like it is at the hospital more than likely they were there for a honest reason given all the doctor's offices that are attached to the main building. Little Sean looked fairly well cared for just from what I saw, but given my duties I expect to see they prowling again at some point down the road.

Keshi: One of the doctors I know has both a Corvette and a Hummer. SHE is an utter babe and half the guys, including me, in the hospital would do just about anything to get next to her. But as it would be expected she is married to some doctor.

Colonel: I was rather off my usual territory when I saw the prowling trio again so I'm not familiar with the doctor she was working to catch. But the internal bulletin does mention marriages at times. If I see one saying the doctor is from NICU anytime soon I'll probably laugh my ass off.

Lime: Like I said earlier, I'm still leaving a chance open they were just talking but my gut feeling said it was far more than that.

Vigilante said...

Outstanding story, Beach. I read carefully, but somehow didn't catch the color or texture of her hair. Was it straight and raven-red?

Keshi said...

**One of the doctors I know has both a Corvette and a Hummer. SHE is an utter babe and half the guys, including me, in the hospital would do just about anything to get next to her

So it is cos she's a babe or cos she's a doctor? :)


Randal Graves said...

Holy hell, this is the best story I've read in a long time. What a collection of truly creepy humans!

Jessica said...

That's a great story! Talk about trolling!

Beach Bum said...

Vigil: Ravenhair update! She is now happily married with a new baby. Given all the tragic events that happened in my family after that weekend I really feel that something special slipped away.

Keshi: Given that men are by nature lowlife pigs its because she is a babe.

Randal and Jessica: Writing about them proves the point that real life is very often much stranger than fiction. But just in my little time working at the hospital they are relatively minor compared to what can walk through those doors.

Vigilante said...

Thanks for putting my restless mind at ease, Beach.

Anonymous said...

Great post...
Thanks for sharing......

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