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Humour form Dave Barry on medical care
Who Was That Lady I Sawed You With Last Night
by Dave Barry
Recently, my wife, Beth, was ravaged by a sudden, unexpected
outbreak of modern medical care.
Well, okay, 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 to daytime television, and every few
hours total strangers come in to give you Jell-O and stab you
with 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 HAHAHAHAHAHA." Pretty soon, you're on
the floor using whatever limbs they forgot to disable or remove
to scrabble toward the elevator, your butt 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 MORE TESTS
Actually, Beth's doctor, technically known 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 they contained "a special sauce sent by his sister from
America." The doctor was suspended from the college. The
colleague reportedly is still off his feed.
The 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
preventative medical care even though she was feeling perfectly
"Do you have any questions?" they kept asking. I had two main
1. "How about we forget this whole thing?"
2. "You guys definitely eat REGULAR SANDWICHES at this
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 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 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 was 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 God 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 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.
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