I’d been thinking for a while that I needed a haircut so I entered the barber’s and immediately took a seat. He caught me at the doorstep however and made me put the seat back. He was angry with me and it showed while he tended to my locks, no sooner had the first snip of the scissors passed my ear that it fell off and landed in my lap.
I was in agony. I shouted at the top of my voice and then at the bottom of it eventually settling on a middle tenor. The rest of the customers gave me a standing ovation as I was loaded onto the ambulance, I was a wonderful singer.
On the way to the hospital I continued to serenade the orderlies with my screams. After a while the ambulance came to a stop. They pulled my stretcher out from the back, put it down on the road and drove off, leaving me miles away from the hospital. They weren’t as impressed with my vocals.
I walked the rest of the way and went straight to emergency. I told the nurse at the counter I required immediate medical attention, she said the doctor would be with me shortly. Sure enough, when the doctor was with me, it was shortly, he only came up to my knees. He looked at me and said, “What seems to be the trouble?”
I pointed to my missing ear. “Something wrong with your finger?” he asked.
“No doctor. It’s my ear.”
“Your finger is your ear? Now that is a problem. Nurse! Put this man on sedation and have someone operate on him quickly. On second thought, have someone operate on him slowly so they don’t make a mistake,” the doctor finished.
“But sir, the surgeon isn’t in today,” replied the nurse.
“Yes, leg before” the nurse explained.
“Shame! Just as he was looking to build an innings. Very well, put this man on an IV, we’ll have a look at him in the morning. And have someone bandage that awful wound on the side of his face, he’s bleeding all over the goddamn floor!” Having said that, the doctor left.
“Why did he say ‘that’ as he left?” I wondered to myself. Who else was I going to wonder to?
During the night I could hear awful screams coming from one side of the emergency ward and complete silence from the other. So I wondered some more.
In the morning the nurse came to change the IV, I asked her if she’d seen the doctor and she said yes, many times. Seconds turned into minutes and then back into seconds again as I lay there waiting to for someone to attend to me.
Then it was time for breakfast and the nurse came over to my bed, sat down beside me and started putting food in her mouth. I watched her eat for twenty minutes before I got fed up. I decided to make my way to the toilet, as there wasn’t a path leading to it before.
Once there, I emptied the contents of my bladder; inside I found a pair of keys, a library card, and some loose change. I really should watch what I drink.
I went back to the bed and sat down for a while. Finally, the doctor came in and asked if I could stand up, I said I would try and gingerly got on my feet. The doctor sat down in my place.
“There, that’s better. My feet are killing me,” he said in relief. I envied his feet, I wanted to kill him myself.
“Doctor I’m in terrible pain!” I shouted.
“Well, I’m in terrible debt but I don’t shout about it.”
“I was badly hurt!”
“At the barber’s.”
“No, I mean where on your body?”
“My ear doctor. He cut off my ear!”
“Well, you need a lawyer for that, not a doctor. You could sue him for a lot in damages I would imagine,” he said stroking his chin.
“I don’t want to go to damages, wherever that is, I just want my ear back!” I started crying.
“I’m afraid I can’t help you there, I can’t make it grow back. Or give you another one. But I can give you a kidney if you like,” he added, still stroking his chin.
“I’ve already got two.”
“One more couldn’t hurt. Well it could if you were awake during the procedure,” his chin was completely worn out now so he started stroking mine.
By this point I was utterly flummoxed, though I didn’t even know what that word meant. I couldn’t stand it anymore and he couldn’t sit it anymore so we switched positions. Once back on the bed, I implored, “Doctor, isn’t there anything you can do?”
“Of course not, how do you think I became a doctor in the first place? I can’t do anything!” He replied and then walked away. I suppose that made sense, because it would’ve been impossible to hear him had he walked away first and then replied.
I was forlorn but I hadn’t completely given up hope. I decided I wanted a second opinion so I had them shift me to a private room and asked to see a surgeon. Soon lots of people with various charts and serious expressions on their faces showed up. The one with the chart on his face spoke out, “This is the patient who requested to see you doctor. It says in his report that his leg is to be amputated.”
“What!? No!” I screamed trying to get up but the two accompanying nurses with serious expressions on their faces restrained me. “Help! They’re trying to kill me!”
“Calm down my good man, it’s for the gangrene,” said the surgeon.
I couldn’t fathom why the gangrene wanted my leg amputated. “Look, stop! There’s nothing wrong with it!”
“Nothing wrong with it? Let’s see. It does look pretty normal.”
“I wasn’t injured on my leg doctor, I wanted to see you about my ear.” So he came and stood about my ear and said, “There! Now, tell me, can you walk on it?”
“On the ear?” I asked perplexed.
“No, on the leg.”
I tried, but it was impossible to walk on one leg. I kept falling at the first step.
“See? There’s clearly something wrong with it,” the surgeon spoke with his hand in mid air, unsure whether to stroke his own chin or mine.
“Hang on!” exclaimed the man with the chart on his face. “This report doesn’t mention a name, it just has the ward but there are a dozen rooms in here.”
“Well,” said the surgeon, “we better amputate all of them just to be safe. We don’t want a death on our hands.”
Since they already had me strapped to a wheelchair they decided I should go first. “Take him to the theater,” ordered the surgeon.
But there wasn’t a show that day as the Royal Shakespeare Company was out of town.
“Alright, we’ll have to put him to sleep the old fashioned way,” he continued. But when we got to the anesthetist he was already unconscious.
“Oh never mind we’ll just start the surgery and you’ll pass out from the pain,” the surgeon mumbled as they carried me to a raised table.
What followed can only be described as indescribable, so I won’t describe it. Suffice to say I came out of that operating room looking like a turd, and with one less leg as well.
The surgeon put his hand on my shoulder and I feared it was next, but he assured me that it was only a comforting gesture. He told me that if I needed help recuperating I should see him at his practice in the evenings. I politely declined, he couldn’t have been much good if he was still practicing; I’d wait for him to become an expert first.