78: The Book Group

78: The Book Group

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses

The Book Group

A mistake is to commit a misunderstanding.

~Bob Dylan

It was a surgery like any other, over and done with, and we were waiting for our patient to awake from his dreamland before transferring him into the recovery room. However, he seemed perfectly happy to sleep. So we waited, and waited, and waited some more.

As the minutes ticked by, the operating room staff began to engage in talk about current events such as the weather, who was on call for the weekend, and the latest Stephanie Plum book.

We all had our favorite characters. The nurse anesthetist liked Grandma, with her tight sausage head curls, continuous social visits to the funeral home, and the frankness that came with her age. The surgical technician preferred Stephanie herself, the bail-bonds woman and her trouble capturing her law-breaking surety, plus the hot men in her life. As for me, I liked Lula, an ex-prostitute. She was a greater-than-average woman with a large-size personality to boot. She wore tight, colorful, crazy outfits and had a love of food, especially the drive-through kind.

As we discussed the exploits in the newest book, the characters came alive. Time passed and the nurse anesthetist finally said we could transfer the patient. Although there was still no movement, we headed toward the recovery room, with the anesthetist pushing the gurney and me pulling from the foot.

Halfway down the hall the patient sat straight up like a mummy rising from his tomb. His eyes were open and glazed over, but still looking like nobody was home. Staring straight at me, he declared, “You gave up being a prostitute to be a nurse? How admirable. Thank you.” He closed his eyes and lowered himself into the tomb from whence he came.

I was horrified; my mouth dropped open. If I’d had a heart condition I surely would have gone into V-fib. The anesthetist stood, speechless.

I often wonder what that patient remembers. Did he think it was only a drug-induced dream? Or a vision of a girl who gave up the red light district to carry the white lamp of Florence Nightingale, still caring for the needs of others, but in a very different way?

~Judy Mae Benson

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