My wife and I were enjoying a pleasant date night at the emergency room, and as we waited in one of the examination rooms, a disturbance of some sort broke out next door.
We could hear wailing and gnashing of teeth, which was expected in a hospital, but then came the sound of scuffling and bodies slamming against the wall. This was new to us, but then, we try to stay out of hospitals every chance we get.
I was lying on the examination table with tubes and needles and electrodes in me and on me, but my wife, who was reading, jumped up and charged for the door to see what the huzzah was all about.
“Don’t go out there,” I warned, which, hitting the translator that is in every wife’s head, automatically converted to, “Get out there and jump into the fray, no matter how dangerous.”
She heeded her translator, not me, and was promptly told by the woman behind the desk to get back into our room and close the door.
My wife listened to her, if not me. When she returned, I asked her to hand me my shoe, which was on the floor, in case the altercation spread to our room.
And so we waited – my wife calmly reading while I, plugged into the machines, looked like a horizontal Doctor Octopus, helpless, wielding a brown, soft-leather lace-up.
I felt a bit like the way Jim Bowie is portrayed in the movies as the Mexicans immigrated into the Alamo: lying on his bed in a little room, ailing, raising a pistol or his eponymous knife as the soldiers flood in and show him the mathematical value of large numbers.
(Two asides: First, did the Mexicans immigrate into the Alamo, or had the Texians invaded Mexico? I will leave that issue for historians and pundits to consider. Second, was the Bowie knife still eponymous even if, as has been alleged, it was Jim Bowie’s brother Rezin who actually created the large-bladed weapon? I say yes: any Bowie in a storm.)
Jim Bowie did not have a good end (spoiler alert: the Mexicans won), but I was sure my size 12 off-brand footwear would offer us more protection against any intruders.
As it turned out, the staff was more than up to the job and soon restored the place into a hospital quiet zone. The employees continued to be friendly and professional but would not – probably because of those silly privacy laws – tell us what had transpired. They did tell me to put my shoe down, however.
Here are two things I learned that night:
After so many years of marriage, I should have known not to tell my wife to do or not to do anything, because that is a sure signal for her to do the opposite. Moreover, my wife doesn’t need protecting by a guy with a shoe; she can handle that job herself, and hers are only size 7.
We live and learn, however, so I suppose our night in the emergency room was well worthwhile.