'Release me,' growls the bard of LA

I was lying in what was undoubtedly the least comfortable bed in West Hills hospital listening to two doctors discuss my fate; not whether I would live or die, but whether or not I could get the hell out of there.

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-photo.jpgIt was not exactly a fiery debate. Medical personnel on such a level rarely allow themselves to shout, punch or call each other unmentionable names. I have a few examples of those hideous names which I would be pleased to share but their usage is allowed only on the battlefields of war or in old time newspaper city rooms, bless their rancid hearts, not the cool environs of cyberspace.

The medical elite address one another in respectful tones not as dude or man but as Doctor this and Doctor that, even though they have known each other since pre-med or even pre-natal. They never laugh or smile; they ponder.

In the event that you missed the exciting prelude to all this, I was in West Hills Hospital for about three months being cured of pneumonia, congestive heart failure and other unpleasantries and then sent home. I was OK until I began to cough and spit up like a sick baby, at which time my wife, the ever-watchful Cinelli, began calling my doctors. They were split sort of. The one who said get him to ER now won. There was more command in his voice, I guess. More godliness.

They took blood, measured my bp, noted my temperature, checked my ankles for swelling (I forgot, I have diabetes too), x-rayed me and who knows what else?
The two men rubbed their chins and pondered. "What do you think, Doctor?" one finally said "Well, all the numbers seem normal. What do you think, Doctor?" "I think you're right, Doctor. One more day, Doctor?" "If that's what you say, Doctor." "Well, I didn't..."

Just about then I came roaring up out of bed, slipped on my Levis and T-shirt and declared in tones not to be misunderstood, "to hell with this, Doctor-Doctor, I'm going home!"

I am home now, having written my column. I am clutching my dead teddy bear, my live cat Perusal is snuggled up at my feet, and I am thinking that I will never write about hospitals or doctors again, even if they are only shabby Ph.D.s in Chaucerian Lit.

As Shakespeare once wrote, "To go home or not to go home, that is the question. Don't ponder, sire, decide, and in hell may the doctors fry. Or broil or bake. Whatever."

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