It’s funny how rumors start.
Last week I got to take a ride in an ambulance.
A lower intestinal infection had rendered me pasty white and my blood pressure very low. My emergency room nurse and lovely wife Darlene unfastened the cuff around my arm and called the ambulance.
Two pretty girls in EMS uniforms showed up minutes later.
I had spent the night playing darts in the local Legion, and playing pool afterwards.
When I came home, my lovely wife and I had a quick meal of what I like to call kill me dead food – a bowl of macaroni and cheese and a beef and cheese burrito.
The next thing I knew I was laying on our bed and the two pretty EMS girls were explaining my options.
“You can lay here and die, I guess – if that’s what you really want to do … or you can let us take you for a ride into the hospital”, explained the very professional blonde.
So I got up and walked out to the ambulance.
I climbed up and into the big square bus and laid down on the gurney.
I really was very weak, and still very pasty in complexion, and the pillow on the gurney looked very inviting.
At the hospital, the pretty EMS attendants lowered me out of the back of the ambulance in the gurney and wheeled me into the emergency room. We passed by the waiting room and into the back corridors where we found there were no beds available.
“Somebody out there knew you”, the brunette EMS attendant said to me. “They were asking me if you were okay”.
“Who was it?” I asked, turning to look to see.
“Some dude”, said the blonde as she was working on lifting the back of my gurney to a sitting position.
“What did you say?” I asked.
“Nothing, patient confidentiality you know”, she smiled. “I ignored him”.
“Am I okay?”
“We’ll find out shortly”.
Eight hours later, an elderly doctor came in to explain the results of my CT scan. I have a chronic condition that if controlled would be fine – but first this infection had to be dealt with.
And then we went home.
I had pills to take, and my doctor had told me not to eat any food until the infection cleared. I would know when the severe abdominal pain stopped.
But the rumors that sprang up about me were … well, alarming.
Some said I had a heart attack.
Others said I had a stroke.
And yet others claimed my lovely wife’s attempts to poison me had finally succeeded.
All I had was a flare up of an intestinal condition. Worrisome to me for sure … but many people suffer from much worse than what I did.
I did, over the summer, take pride in how much exercise I was getting. Darlene and I would walk for a couple of miles at a very quick pace.
That lasted for about a month.
Then summer was over.
And the golf clubs put away.
And the pool closed due to onslaught of falling leaves.
And life in the fall for our small family gets very busy.
I am still active though. Playing darts and playing pool in a league at the Legion.
I tend to lean towards “sports” to which you can consume beer while competing at the highest level. If you can’t have a beer while you’re doing it … it likely isn’t worth doing.
But getting old just plain stinks.
And I am now only a year or so away from turning fifty. My body no longer looks out for itself despite my vices.
Now my body depends on me to know better. And I have been letting myself down.
And so I found myself in an ambulance at two o’clock in the morning with two pretty EMS attendants playing loud dance music.
I don’t really have a taste for loud dance music.
I probably didn’t need the ambulance. I could have simply drove into the hospital and sat in the waiting room. I probably should have, in retrospect. It sounds like I would have had a friend there to talk to, and to explain to that I wasn’t having a heart attack.
I still don’t know who that was in that waiting room that recognized me.
But this explaining to everyone of my intestinal infection has been – well … tiresome.
At first I was flattered that people thought enough of me to care about my condition. You know … to show concern for my well being.
That’s nice of them. And I do sincerely appreciate it.
But then it dawned on me, it was likely more a case of having another discussion point for the Legion table full of patrons and members who were looking for something to talk about.
I had been reduced to a mere discussion point.
A topic that would keep people entertained around a table for yet another pint of beer.
I did not have a heart attack.
I did not have a stroke.
And my lovely wife has certainly not succeeded in poisoning me ... yet.
But thanks for thinking of me.