I do not remember the entire day, but a few excerpts will likely remain in my memory bank until they declare my brain, “Dead.”
Sometime after dinner on that day, my stomach began to act up, felt like a pot boiling faster and faster. I didn’t know what was going on, but the pain took over my body and controlled my every thought. Something had to be done.
A long story shortened, we wound up in the emergency room at Springhill Memorial Hospital.
With a nurse on one side of the gurney I was laying on, and a doctor approaching the other side, Carolyn eased out of their way and moved to stand at my feet.
Standing there, she patted my legs to comfort me. She looked down to where she had been touching and then panned down to the bottom of my feet. I still had my shoes on. The look that descended over her face scared me. What did she know? What did they tell her? What did she see that I didn’t? In a millisecond, I knew.
As inconspicuous as possible, she reached down and eased my shoes off my feet and hugged them close to her breast. Even as she flashed a sigh of relief, I knew that this was not going to be good. I remembered there were quarter-size holes in those shoes when I had put them on that morning. I had replaced the cardboard on the inside to prevent my sock feet from touching the ground.
The look that transmitted displeasure with me soon vanished, replaced by a look of pure horror, as she looked down to see my big toes staring up at her like a pair of popped weasels. They seemed to be mocking her. She grabbed those ragged white socks and snatched them off one at a time. She looked around to make sure no one had seen her, or worse yet, to ensure they had not seen my overused shoes and socks.
The doctor finished his examination, wrote a prescription that he said would ease my pain and eventually heal me, and quietly dismissed himself.
After I had been discharged, and we were sitting in the car, before Carolyn touched the ignition to start the car, she turned and looked at me. There was no smile on her face and no humor in her voice as she said, “We will get that medicine after we go by Shoe Station.”
I have heard all my life that I should always wear clean underwear in case I am ever in an accident. Nothing was ever said about my shoes or socks.
Later that evening, our daughter called from her home in Chicago. What did Carolyn share about our trip to the hospital? Nothing about the sickness that sent us there. No, she shared the near-death experience I almost encountered when she saw me wearing those shoes and socks after their life had long ago abandoned them.
I guess I just embarrassed her. Not the first time, and I am sorry to say not the last.
Wayne Brady 3/22/2017