The Taco Bed

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


Sometimes, you have to think outside the bun.

Submitted: May 20, 2018

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Submitted: May 20, 2018

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The Taco Bed

 

Once I went to Seattle for computer training.  I stayed at the Fairmont Hotel, an old, elegant building downtown.  It was a nice hotel, but there was a problem.  At night, the buses on the street below made so much noise, I couldn’t sleep.

 

The hotel was fully booked, there was no way to get any farther from the street.  So I drug the mattress into the bathroom.  There was just enough room for me to close the door.  That dampened the street noise enough for me to sleep.

 

The mattress formed the shape of a U between the wall and the bathtub.  When I told my co-workers what I’d done, they called it the Taco Bed. 

 

But that's not what I really want to talk about.  What I really want to talk about is my broken down Pinto in Atlanta. 

 

 

My Broken Down Pinto In Atlanta

 

Atlanta is a two hour drive from where I went to college.   Auburn is a small town, making Atlanta a popular spot for entertainment and shopping.

 

It was a Friday in early December and my last class finished at noon.  I decided I had time to drive to Atlanta and do some Christmas shopping.  

 

The shopping went as planned.  I was heading home on I-85 when the clutch started slipping.  I realized I wasn't going to make it much farther.  

 

I got off at the next exit, and could tell the clutch was completely gone.  I coasted to the side of the road. 

 

This was before the age of cell phones.  Before they gave credit cards to dogs, children, and dead people.  I had $30 in my wallet and a broken down car.  I was screwed.  

 

My only hope was to find a repair shop run by someone with a soft spot for college students.  I got out and started walking. 

 

A mile down the road I found a tow company.  I explained my situation and admitted I only had a few dollars to pay for repairs.  Luckily, Danny felt sorry for me.

 

"First things first.  Let's get your car towed to the lot, then we'll figure out what to do next."

 

On the way to my car, he floated an idea.  "My brother teaches at an automotive college.  They work on cars, sometimes for free, as part of their training."

 

"With some finagling, they might be able to rig up the clutch.  It won't be a permanent fix, but it should get you back to Auburn."

 

Danny called his brother and made arrangements.  A crew of students would be there in the morning.  He said I could sleep on the couch in the office.

 

He said his company was on city call that weekend.  That meant his phone would ring whenever the police arrested someone for DUI. 

 

I walked into the office and was amazed.  One wall was stacked with all kinds of beer.  He explained. 

 

"Often, after people get arrested, then come to get their car out of impound, they have temporarily sworn off alcohol.  If they have any in the car,  they'll give it to me.  I can't drink any tonight, but you're welcome to help yourself."

 

I sat on the couch, reached over, and grabbed a Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Two hours later, I was shit-faced.

 

Then the phone rang.  When he hung up, Danny said, "I'm going on a DUI call.  Want to come along?"

 

I had nothing better to do.  By the time we got there, a young man was sitting in the back of a police car.  I watched Danny hook the vehicle to the tow truck and contemplated the irony.  I was probably as drunk as the guy who had been arrested. 

 

By the time my hangover had abated the next day, my car was ready to go.  I drove carefully and managed to make it home. 

 

But that's not what I really want to talk about. What I really want to talk about is a nasty cut on my hand. 

 

 

A Nasty Cut On My Hand

 

This was a few years after the Pinto incident.  I had graduated from Auburn, worked for a while, then decided to go back to school and get a degree in nursing. 

 

Before I started classes at the University of Alabama in Huntsville,  I returned to Auburn to spend a weekend with my friends, Clark and Deedra.  We decided to visit one of our favorite places, in the woods near Chewacla State Park.  There was an old, broken down dam, where there had once been a grain mill.  It was a great picnic spot.

 

You had to climb down a slope to get to the dam.  It was just my luck.  On the way down, I put my hand on a piece of broken glass, and got a nasty gash.  I looked at my hand, and could see a tendon.  Not good.  Particularly since I did not have health insurance.

 

That was when Deedra came up with a brilliant idea.  She and her husband were students at the University, and eligible for free health care at the student clinic.  I would pose as Clark, she’d sign me in at the clinic, and I’d get my hand sewed up.  He even gave me his wedding ring to wear.  Nice touch.

 

The doctor came in, complaining about having to leave a dinner party.  But, she did a good job sewing me up.  As far as I was concerned, the incident was over.  But not for my friend.  

 

A few months later, Clark felt ill and went to the clinic.  It just so happened, the same doctor was there.  When she looked at the chart, the first thing she said was, “So, how did the hand heal up?”

 

Clark is a terrible liar, and immediately confessed.  He had to suffer the wrath of the doctor.  I’ve been laughing about the incident ever since.

 

But that’s not what I really want to talk about.  What I really want to talk about is the time I fired an incompetent doctor.

 

 

The Time I Fired An Incompetent Doctor

 

I had graduated from nursing school, and was working in the Cardiac Care Unit of a local hospital.  The patient in Bed 4 was a repeat customer.  He had been in and out of the hospital because of a dangerous heart rhythm.  It caused severely low blood pressure, and if untreated, could be fatal.

 

The problem this gentleman had went beyond his aged heart.  His cardiologist was someone who should have retired years ago.  It became apparent to me, the doctor was in over his head.  I knew the arrhythmia could be treated, but only under the care of a better doctor.

 

When you are an employee of the hospital, you can’t just walk into a patient’s room and tell them they need a new doctor.  That will get you fired.  I had to come up with a more subtle approach.

 

During visiting hours, I saw the patient’s wife and son in the room.  I decided to strike up a conversation, and see if I could drop the right hint.

 

“You know, yesterday, I was assisting Dr. Turner while he inserted a temporary pacemaker in the room next door.  That guy is amazing.  He’s got a great touch, and the training these young doctors get is state of the art.”

 

I rambled on about the latest technology, the kind of things the old cardiologist didn’t have the expertise to do.  Without saying it, I implied that he was behind the times.  Finally, the son asked, “Do you think Dr. Turner could help my dad?”

 

Now I was treading on thin ice.  Time to choose words carefully.  “Well, if I had a heart condition, the first thing I’d do is get a consultation with Dr. Turner.”

 

“I’d like to do that.  But Dad has been seeing the same doctor for a long time.  How would that work?”

 

The trap was sprung.  “As the patient, your father is 100% in control of his health care.  If he tells me he wants a consultation with Dr. Turner, I’ll call your doctor and let him know.  He will be obligated to go along.”

 

Within an hour, Dr. Turner was doing a full workup in Bed 4.  He walked out and handed me the chart, with a full set of new orders.  When I went in the room, everyone was smiling from ear to ear.  

 

“Two years with the wrong doctor, and I got nowhere.  Twenty minutes with Dr. Turner, and already I feel better.”  Within a few days, the heart rhythm was stabilized, and my new friend went home.

 

But that’s not what I really want to talk about.  What I really want to talk about is…

 

Dang it.  I can’t remember what I really wanted to talk about.  Sorry, my bad.


© Copyright 2018 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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