Recently my wife, Beth, was ravaged by a sudden, unexpected outbreak of modern medical care.
Well, OK, technically she also had a medical problem, which I won't go into here except to say that it quickly faded into dim memory once the treatment began. Which is exactly the point. As you know if you've ever been subjected to modern medical care, the whole theory is that if they can make you feel awful enough, you'll begin to look back on your original ailment with actual fondness.They take out all your blood and put you in a tiny room where they expose you repeatedly to daytime television, and every few hours total strangers come in to give you Jell-O and stab you with small medical harpoons and insert tubes at random into your body. Then they say, "Are you feeling BETTER NOW? Or perhaps we should give you some MORE MEDICAL CARE HAHAHAHAHA."
Pretty soon you're on the floor, using whatever limbs they forgot to disable or remove to scrabble toward the elevator, your bottom sticking into the air through a hospital garment no larger than a standard Handi-Wipe, your tubes dragging out 15 or 20 feet behind you and spewing a telltale trail of Jell-O that enables the hospital people to track you down and capture you in the parking lot and haul you back to the tiny room and MAYBE RUN A FEW TESTS HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Actually, Beth's doctor, technically known as Doctor Bob, was very nice. In fact everybody at the hospital was nice. But you never really know, with the medical profession. A lot goes on behind closed doors. Just a week before Beth went into the hospital, an alert reader named Pat Wilson in New Delhi, India, sent me an article from The Hindustan Times about a doctor at a medical college over there who wanted to determine the "effect of human blood on the stomach when taken orally," so he whipped up a bunch of sandwiches made out of
WARNING: DO NOT READ THE REST
OF THIS SENTENCE IF YOU ARE
OPERATING HEAVY MACHINERY
human bone marrow. I am not making this up. According to the article, the doctor fed the sandwiches to an unsuspecting colleague, claiming that they contained "a special sauce sent by his sister from America." The doctor was suspended from the college. The colleague is reportedly still off his feed.
This article kept popping into my brain while Doctor Bob and the other skilled professionals were explaining to us in detailed scientific terms how come Beth needed an onslaught of preventive medical care even though she was feeling perfectly fine.
"Do you have any questions?" they kept asking. I had two main ones:
1. "How about we just forget this whole thing?"
2. "You guys definitely eat REGULAR SANDWICHES at this hospital, right?"
But I never found a good time to ask these questions, and so early one morning I drove to the hospital and surrendered Beth, who - this particular detail sticks in my mind, for some reason - was still feeling perfectly fine. They took her away and put masks on and committed acts of medical care on her, and when they brought her back, she was experiencing what the medical community likes to call "discomfort." This is like saying Hiroshima experienced "urban renewal." I have not seen Beth experience so much discomfort since the time she experienced the Joy and Wonder of Natural Childbirth, during which she left inch-deep grip marks in the steel bedrail.
So I kept lunging out into the corridor and tackling medical professionals around the ankles and dragging them in to look at Beth. "Yes," they'd explain helpfully, while Beth was thrashing around and making sound track noises from "The Exorcist" and, in her occasional moments of rationality, asking to be taken outside and shot, "she is experiencing some discomfort."
Finally I was able, without medical training, to figure out myself what was wrong.
"No wonder she's in pain!" I exclaimed. "Some maniac has put STAPLES INTO HER!"I'm serious. Right into her body. If you, like so many of us, were ever stapled in the hand by Walter Gorski in the fourth grade, you know that even ONE staple is very painful; Beth had enough to supply a bustling legal practice. So you can imagine my shock when I learned that this had been done by, of all people, Doctor Bob. Yes! He was CHARGING US to staple Beth! What is more, he had installed a DRAIN. In my WIFE. I realized right then that Beth had to recover quickly, because heaven knows what they would do to her next. I might come in one morning and find a kazoo sticking out of her forehead.
Fortunately she got out, and she's going to be fine. Someday she may even feel as good as before they started medically caring for her. So all's well that ends well, and although I've been "poking some fun" here at the medical community, I'm sure you realize that, deep down inside, I have a large inflamed cyst of respect for it. Really. Trust me. Have a sandwich.
P.S. The bill for the staples - just the staples - was $63.