In accordance with my love for my love of writing things in a series, I’ve decided to tell some of the funnier stories that have come out of spending roughly 3 and a half of the last 12 months in a hospital. Let’s face it, you can’t put me in a place like a hospital and NOT expect some funny stuff to happen. I always said that being in a hospital for long periods of time is like being in jail – you get good at it. Maybe I watch too many shows about jail, who knows?
So, without further adieux, I bring you Hospital Shenanigans
A Pirate’s Life for Me
My most recent hospital stay had the unique caveat of being at a brand new hospital for me. Up to this point, I’ve done everything at the Medical Center of Plano. But, due to my disappointment with the way things were being handled and a lack of progress, I decided it was time for a new direction. So when it was time to head into the ER to deal with the effects of my heart failure, I chose to go to the Methodist Hospital in Richardson. I figured it was closer to the house, more highly rated, and newer – so why not?
After a very interesting stint in the emergency room (someone in another room didn’t make it and the very large, extended, very foreign family didn’t take it well), I was taken up to the first room I was going to be staying in. This hospital is quite a bit smaller than MCP, so their floors are broken up into sections instead of an entire floor being dedicated to one type of care. The first room I was in was considered an ICU room, and so there was the standard 24/7 heart monitoring and constant vitals monitoring. After a week of that, I was moved into a normal room in another section on the same floor.
Once I was in my second room, I was given way more freedom and was still training the nurses on the fact that I was a professional patient and needed minimal interaction at best. Just bring me my meds, leave me alone, don’t stick me with too many needles, and we are good. Some nurses were quicker to train than others…
One thing that was always stressed was the need for me to get up and walk around, and considering the fact that there was nothing else to do, I wandered around the third floor of that hospital like a homeless guy. I never wear hospital gowns, so other than the fact that I was wheeling around an IV pole, you’d never know I was a patient.
Another interesting feature of this hospital was that instead of having one central location where the ice machines, water, refrigerator, and coffee supplies were – they had several separate “nourishment” stations that had all of those things. So instead of one refrigerator full of goodies, there were like twenty.
I knew the “nourishment” alcove by my room very well since it was literally right outside my door. I could sneak to it and grab a free diet coke from the drink cooler without the nurses ever seeing me and asking me how much fluid I was drinking a day (I was limited to 1500ml). The refrigerator was full of fruit juices, and the freezer had vanilla, chocolate, and sherbet ice cream. Not a bad setup at all.
One night while wandering around, I decided to check out the other nourishment stations and see what they had to offer. What goodies was I missing out on that might be found in other hidden recesses? At first I was just kind of “spot-checking” them by investigating every third or fourth fridge or freezer, but quickly decided that I was going to have to be thorough to find something special. On my next lap around the floor I literally sifted through every fridge and freezer I came across.
At first they were all the same. The same juices. The same ice cream. The same drawers of crackers. It wasn’t until I’d gotten to nearly the last fridge on the very end of the floor that I found my treasure: Italian Ice. Luigi’s Lemon Real Italian Ice, to be exact. None of that FAKE Italian ice shit they try to peddle on the streets. I didn’t know who Luigi was or why Italian ice was different from any other ice, all I knew was that my freezer didn’t have these, and therefore I wanted them. I pay good money to my insurance company who then pays even more good money to the hospital, and therefore I want everything I am entitled to – up to and including ice from any country. It could have been “Nuk-aluk’s Eskimo Ice” in baby seal flavor – I was going to have it, damnit.
There was just one slight problem…
There wasn’t just one or two packages of Italian ice. It was an unopened case. The logistics of how to walk 5-600 yards in a hospital carrying a case of stolen international ice while wheeling an IV pole began to play out in my head. It’s not like I could make the box look like it was anything other than what it was. It had Luigi’s name in big, bold letters on the outside. So I did what any good pirate would do. I grabbed the box, tucked it under my arm, and walked back to my little nourishment alcove like I was supposed to be carrying it.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish just by looking like you’re supposed to be doing it. Exude confidence. Make eye contact with anyone you pass and just nod like, “Yeah, these delicious ice treats are mine, can I help you with anything?”. On more than one occasion I got a funny look, but I made it back to my freezer without anyone stopping me and asking why I was hauling a case of frozen ice treats. Once I got back to my freezer, I cleared some room among the standard snacks and deposited my loot. I’d successfully robbed a freezer. I cracked the case open and took a couple packages of the bounty back to my room to see exactly how well I had done.
Again, I don’t know who this Luigi fellah is, but I can tell you one thing: he is a damn wizard when it comes to freezing stuff. These things were amazing. Or maybe it was just the sweet taste of forbidden fruits, considering the frozen ice treats were technically stollen. It did occur to me that since they were only found in one of some twenty freezers, maybe they were there for a specific reason. As far as I was concerned, that reason was for me to find and steal them.
From that day, until the day I left, I enjoyed Italian ice everyday.