Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, March 23, 2015

Signed

Two small boys were patients in the same hospital room.
One of them was my Dad, Mark.
Age: eight.
He had been admitted to hospital for the sole purpose of having his appendix removed. He wasn’t particularly uncomfortable at the time, but the doctor had so decreed.
And removed it must be.
The day of his surgery arrived.
In those days, a folder containing a chart and/or other pertinent information was hung at the foot of every bed in the hospital. Doctor’s orders and observations were recorded there. Nurse’s actions and observations, ditto.
As of that morning, Mark’s folder contained a singly-worded sign.
“FASTING”.
Yikes. Mark, the active and usually well-fed small boy was being denied food.
Don’t you wonder why it’s called fasting?
At no other interval does time move more slowly.
Just a thought . . .
Mark knew what the word meant. But his appetite wasn’t about to be denied that easily.
Grabbing a pen, he made a tiny, little change.
Then, satisfied with his ingenuity, he sat back on his bed and waited for lunch to arrive.
Promptly at noon, an attendant appeared with Mark’s roommate’s tray.
She set it down and started back toward the doorway.
Mark sat up. “Wait! Where’s mine?”
She looked at him. “You’re fasting.”
“No, I’m not. Look!” Mark slid down to the end of the bed and held up his chart.
The woman took it and peered closely.
At the ‘FASTING’ sign.
The one which now read ‘FeASTING’.
She levelled a look at the grinning boy, then turned on one squeaky rubber-soled white shoe and left.
Mark didn’t get his lunch and he duly reported to the operation theatre for his little procedure.
Without anyone acknowledging his inventiveness.
Sigh.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Some days later, his mother received the bill for his hospital stay.
Itemized carefully in the list was a charge for $3.25 for ‘One Sign’.
Oops.
I guess someone noticed after all . . . 

8 comments:

  1. In my hospital experience I've noticed pretty much what your label says. If THEY are making jokes, you must laugh. If YOU make a joke, they only scowl. Charging for a sign? And $3.25 in those days was a hefty amount. I can't imagine a sign cost that much!

    On the bright side, your dad's great sense of humour showed up early, didn't it? How smart was that play on words?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly how HE looks at it. Scamp.

      Delete
  2. Your Dad! Always the prankster! He would not be denied!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess the youngest of eleven has to come up with his own entertainment . . . :)

      Delete
  3. They charged for the sign? $3.25 for an 'e'?
    That's $84.50 for the whole alphabet.
    He gets points for trying though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! That's an expensive alphabet!

      Delete

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