As I laid in bed, just a few hours after having a total hysterectomy, two women entered my room. The interpreter had left for the evening, but I had my handy dandy notebook with me, just to the side of my bed.
The duo that walked into my room consisted of an older lady (probably in her 60’s) and another woman in her mid to late 40’s. Apparently, the older woman (we’ll call her Myrtle) was teaching the younger one (let’s say..."Betty") how to draw blood. Perhaps they chose me to use as the pin cushion, thinking that, because I was Deaf, I would not scream and curse the skies as she repeatedly jabbed me with, what seemed like, a jumbo-sized knitting needle.
So, they entered the room, and Myrtle began to speak. I immediately let her know that I was Deaf and needed her to write to me. For some reason it didn’t register for her. She repeated whatever it was she was trying to tell me. I motioned over to the paper and pen. I couldn't reach it, because it's across the room and I’m practically dying from the pain, but I did let her know where it was. She continued to jabber on. I, again, told her where the paper and pen was, this time adding a bit of an edge to my facial expression (think Clint Eastwood meets Nurse Ratchet.) Again, no luck. I then told her just what she could do with the pen and paper when she did finally find it. She wasn’t amused.
She began to yell at me. I began to cry. Betty stood there smiling like someone had glued her upper lip to her upper gums. It wasn’t pretty. And I didn’t reciprocate. No one in the room had a clue what to do next.
Finally, Myrtle gave up on communication and moved over next to Betty. She was explaining what Betty needed to do in order to suck out any remaining blood in my system. Betty listened carefully, looking terrified the entire time, pulled out a needle that looked like one of those plastic needles they give toddlers to play with when sewing cards together, and began to hack at my arm in full force, blood splattering everywhere.
All the while, Myrtle smiled evilly and glared at me. It was obvious she was enjoying this way too much. Betty kept touching my shoulder and apologizing. “Just one more time,” I believe she said….over and over again.
When all was done and there was no more blood left in my body to collect, Betty smiled and bowed repeatedly as she exited the room. Kind of like they do in China. Myrtle, on the other hand, walked over to the pen and paper (GASP! She found it!!), wrote something down, and left. No. She didn’t hand it to me. She just wrote it and left.I heaved a huge sigh of relief and began to wipe the blood out of my hair.
Finally, my husband came back into the room, having left to go get some hospital coffee (which is very different than just regular coffee). I asked him to read me the paper. He read it and looked at me with a very strange look.
”What does it say?”
“Thank you, Ms. Thomas. We hope you recover from your knee replacement surgery quickly.”