Good To Be Seen

Have you ever said to someone, “Good to see you”? And the person says in response, “It’s good to be seen.” The world is filled with smart-alecks, isn’t it?

In 1976 I went way more than fifteen rounds with my first kidney stone. I named it Rocky, same as the movie which had come out a few weeks earlier. It really didn’t move around much, had terrible footwork. And all it could deliver was a rabbit or kidney punch, but it packed a wallop! Initially, I had no idea what was causing the pain. My wife Cheri woke up at 5:00a.m. to find me crawling on the floor as though that would somehow help me escape the backache. She’s good at diagnosing problems and figured it must be a kidney stone.

We were living in Galveston, TX at the time. She drove to John Sealy Hospital as I crawled about the backseat testing this and that position, looking for something  in an effort to get comfortable. Nothing worked.

Although John Sealy was Texas’ only charity hospital, everyone I knew went there. What I didn’t know was that those who could pay for their treatment entered by a different door than I did. I entered through the door for charity patients, which basically meant I would receive no treatment until Hollywood released Rocky II. Actually, Rocky III. (I hope John Sealy has since changed its policy.)

And I didn’t help my case. As I waited for treatment I fidgeted, sat, stood, walked, lay down on the cold hard floor, even did the Funky Chicken. I also crawled around on my hands and knees on the waiting room floor in search of relief. Little did I know that such gyrations made the hospital staff think that I was a drug addict.  Faking a kidney stone was one of the ruses used by addicts at the time to get painkillers.

I waited and waited. Hour after hour. I asked a nurse when a doctor could see me. Not only did she tell me to wait my turn, but she actually said that having a baby hurts more. Sexist! I would have left the building, but there was nowhere else on a Saturday afternoon to be treated. This happened back in the “olden days”.

Remember the old saying? Back in the days of old when knights were bold and you had a cold, you just suffered through it. Well, the same applied to kidney stones.

And so I waited and waited and waited. Finally, at 3:15 in the afternoon, nine hours after I arrived, I was on my hands and knees studying the linoleum when I heard a familiar voice saying, “Dewey, is that you?”

I looked up and recognized an intern who lived in the same apartment complex as I did. He had been walking down a corridor when he saw a person whom he thought was a drug addict trying to get pain meds. But looking more closely he recognized the gyrations as those of his boring neighbor. At that point I knew I was saved. He’d see to it that I got treatment. And I did.

Have you ever said to someone, “It’s good to see you?” And this person says, “It’s good to be seen.” The world is filled with smart alecks, but as I learned with the intern, at times it truly is good to be seen.

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