If hospital confinement is in your future, bone up on history and keep informed of current events. Nurses quiz patients to keep your mind alert. For example, “Name the last four presidents,” my nurse said.
“How about the first four instead?” I asked.

Then there is the classic, “What season is it?” (Spring, summer, fall or winter)
“Baseball,” I answered.

“How would you rate your pain on a scale of one to ten, one being none and ten being excrutiating?” nurses asked every time they entered my room.

“What is your birthdate?” asked by personnel delivering my food tray and by nurses before checking my vitals every four hours.

I thought I had joined the departed from this world when a young student nurse checked my vitals. “Good!” she beamed. “No temperature!”

One night nurse charged into my room and flipped on the bright overhead light POW! like a searchlight and awakened me from a deep sleep. “TIME TO CHECK YOUR VITALS!” she announced.

Another  daily question, “Have you passed gas today?” ceased when I began dancing the Aztec two-step every 20 minutes.

Nurses waste no time getting patients up and about.  No small task when the patient is attached to a companion intravenous drip system of three clear bags of fluids-in on top and two bags of fluids-out on the bottom hanging from a pole maneuvered on five casters, only two of which roll in the same direction. Approximately 100 yards of clear vinyl tubing connected me, including tubes inserted up my nose, down my throat, and dangling from my neck and arm. My nurse fastened a long belt around my waist and held the other end like a leash in case I started to fall.

A remote heart monitor, weighty as a brick, attached to white, green, brown, red, and black wires was stuffed into my gown pocket. In addition, I wore a white ID wrist band, a red allergy band, a yellow fall-risk band, a purple do-not-resuscitate band, and a pink restricted-extremity band. I resembled a Christmas tree. Or a scarecrow.
“Are we ready for our walk now?” my nurse asked. “Name the seventeenth president.”

Hmmm . . . this requires some thought. Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth. The Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations paralleled similarities, one that both vice presidents were named Johnson. “Andrew Johnson was the seventeenth president, right?”

“I don’t know,” my male nurse replied. “I’m Australian.”


About Lynne Schaefer

Lynne Schaefer has written two newspaper columns ("The Schussboomer" about skiing in California, and "Notes from Lynne's Journal" about Oregon wildlife); travel and garden articles for regional magazines copy for DVD tours of the High Desert Museum and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, both in Bend, Oregon. She has published three non-fiction books, A Traveler's Guide to Historic California, Christmas Trivia Quiz, and His Daughter's Remembrance.
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  1. Heather H. says:

    That is hilarious, but oh my gosh, Lynne, are you okay?


    • Lynne Schaefer says:

      I wrote this piece several years ago as medical humor and it was initially accepted then rejected at the last minute. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for viewing.



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