reflections - THE HUMAN SIDE OF OPTOMETRY
Hospital Or Heaven?
Here's another reason never to be without your
JEROME M. GARBER, O.D., F.I.O.S., F.A.A.O.
convalescing in a hospital due to an unexpected surgery some years back, something
humorous transpired that impressed upon me the importance of never being without
one's reading glasses.
It was a quiet afternoon in a normally busy hospital
the period between visiting hours and dinner. I was sitting up in bed catching
up on the reading I'd promised myself I'd do all year, but that somehow never happens.
Soon I became aware of an elderly woman in the hallway, probably between 85 and
90 years old, being wheeled back to her room. She was lying on the usual mobile
table we've all seen on television, which the nurses were maneuvering ever so carefully.
noticed the woman was covered up to the neck by tight sheets, the kind often seen
on patients en route to their rooms after surgery. I guessed she was still under
the effect anesthesia, as she was lying quite still with her eyes closed. She blinked
slightly, however, as they pushed her past my door.
The shout heard 'round the hospital
There was nothing unusual about a scene like this
in a hospital, so I went back to reading about the escapades of one of the more
popular fictional spies. But shortly thereafter, I became aware of something that
was unusual in a hospital. It was shouting, which seemed to be coming from down
the hall the same direction the elderly woman had recently gone. A voice
I recognized as belonging to one of the nurses was yelling, "No, dear, you're not
dead! Really, you're not! You're not in heaven, you're in the hospital!"
This shouting went on for several minutes
before it stopped. When the nurse I had heard passed my door a couple minutes later,
I motioned for her to come in.
"What is going on?" I asked. When she
told me, we both burst out laughing.
Off by one letter
It seems that the elderly woman I'd seen wheeled
past my room was almost totally deaf. In order for her to hear what anyone was saying
to her, it was necessary to shout. So that all the nurses, who change shifts every
eight hours, would know this crucial piece of information about the patient, they'd
posted a large sign with the word, "Deaf," on it over her bed while she'd been in
surgery. Upon waking from the anesthesia, the patient turned around and saw the
sign. Having the less-than-perfect sight that is typical for her age, she thought
the sign said, "Dead." She immediately thought she had died while in surgery and
was now in heaven, or "the other place."
After much shouting, and after the
patient found and put on her reading glasses, she realized that the sign did read,
"Deaf," rather than "Dead," and that she was very much alive. Then she too joined
in the laughter gratefully!
DO YOU HAVE A MEMORABLE
EXPERIENCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? DISCUSS YOUR STORY WITH RENé
LUTHE, SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF OPTOMETRIC
MANAGEMENT, AT (215) 643-8132 OR LUTHER@LWWVISIONCARE.COM.
OM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.
Optometric Management, Issue: July 2006