Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coming Back Full Circle

Last year this time, before I was an emergency tech, I was deep in the world of research and volunteering at the emergency room that is now my full-time employment. One day, I was using the conference room at my research laboratory for non-research-related purposes on a weekend. I had set it up with the secretary that the door was to be unlocked.

Imagine my surprise when I walked in, turned the lights on, and jumped at seeing an older man sleeping in one of the soft office chairs. He was balding and wore the khaki pants and polo shirt that many researchers down the hall would wear. I did not want to wake him, so I trudged to another room with all my belongings. My music students were arriving and we made use of another room until there was a lull in activity. I took a peek in the conference room once more- the man was gone. Hooray! I put my instrument and purse in the room and went outside to greet more students.

Upon re-entering the room, I saw the man standing over my belongings. He quickly shuffled by me after seeing me and as he went by, I noticed 2 things: 1, his shirt was covered with specks of blood and 2, he had a hospital bracelet on. Quickly, I ran to the area he had been handling my belongings and I was so mad! My Student Researcher ID and Driver's license were gone (and a roll of Starburst, as well)! A possible psychiatric patient had just made off with two of my photo ID's. I called the police, who knew who it was- a commonly seen homeless man. They made no effort to find him to retrieve my long-gone ID's. I then called my tech, who knew exactly who it was based on my description, and reassured me that he would keep an eye out for him. Two days later, this patient made it back to the ER, whence my tech frisked him on my behalf and unfortunately did not find my ID's. I had to go to the DMV and research department secretary for new ones. I have not thought of Mr. Poopy since... until this morning.

Working in critical care today, I saw a patient wheel in. The nurses had their noses wrinkled and asked me to find peppermint spirits. When I came back and got a good look at him, it was Mr. Poopy. Although he was naked and covered in smeared feces, his face had a scholarly build- balding, wide-set blue eyes, a hooked nose, glasses, and a beard. I suddenly remembered it was almost exactly a year ago that I had seen him last, standing over my purse and wanted so badly to call my tech and laugh about it with him. Mr. Poopy seemed almost normal in his interactions with the nursing staff, but I was tempted to ask him if he remembered me. >: (

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