Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Old man in my hospital room and the seat belt debacle 1988.

We were talking about seat belt infractions today and how back in the 80’s they used to pull you over and give you a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt. This triggered an unusual trip down memory lane. When I was 18 I got my leg ripped open one Sunday afternoon playing rugby of all things, a cleat or something tore a 10 inch long gash in my left leg (some of you who knew me back then may remember my “staples”).

My parents were out that afternoon so my freind Mike’s mom offered to drive me to the hospital under the condition that she not be shown the “injury”. At the hospital they cleaned it up, shot me with freezing and tried to stitch it closed but ended up having problems. It was too deep and the skin flaps were not co-operating. The nurse had an idea. Since she also assisted with C-sections she thought they could staple me closed and went off to the delivery floor to get a medical stapler. I waited.. for 30 minutes... I had grabbed The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers at my place so at least I had something to do. Pretty soon another patient came into the room that proved to be far more entertaining than my book.

An old man and his wife were shown into the other half of my hospital room and the nurse pulled the curtain closed between my half of the room and theirs. The guy was in pain, had an ice pack, and very pissed off. The nurse asked him a bunch of medical questions. I heard through the curtain that he was going to be 80 years old in a few weeks but looked much younger and was in great shape. The nurse told him the doctor would be in shortly and left.

I tuned them out but perked up when his wife told him their lawyer said that he should not, under any circumstances ”talk to the police”(I put my book down). An emerge doctor came in. Right away he explained that he would not be the one treating him because he was not the “doctor that goes to court”. They had a special one that did that who would oversee his examination(what the hey?).
In the time it took the other “court” doctor to show up I gathered from eavesdropping that he had been assaulted by the police for a traffic stop, and that he managed to get home somehow where he was arrested with police sirens and flashing lights everywhere, and that he was in so much pain the police had taken him to the hospital from the police station. It sounded like there was a policeman outside the door that brought him there and he did not want him in the room at all and wanted to close the door.

So soon after that the other doctor shows up and the old gentleman asks him “What did they tell you?” And the doctor says “Just assume I know nothing and tell me what happened from the beginning” (me on the other side of the curtain - alright!!!!).

The elderly gentleman did not like seat belts that extend over the shoulder. He somehow clips the waist belt and has the shoulder strap behind him because he doesn’t like it across the front touching his neck. As a result he gets pulled over a lot for not having his seat belt but they let him go when they see he has the waist belt cinched. He explained this thing he does where he opens the car door and tugs the waist belt like an elastic and pulls it out from his body and lets it snap back so the police can see he is wearing it. They then let him go on his way. Until today. Today he and his wife were stopped at a red light and a police car directly behind him turned on the sirens and flashed the lights for him to stop. He gestured at the cop, opened his door, did his trick with the belt and slammed the car door closed. The policeman was out of his car and had walked halfway to the man’s car door when the light turned green and the old man simply drove away :-). This resulted in a very slow “car chase” at 40 km an hour, police sirens blaring while the man drove home.

When he pulled into his driveway he told his wife to “go call the lawyer” and got out of the car slowly and walked up the steps behind her. The policeman chasing him was out of his patrol car yelling at him to freeze and get on the ground and all that. He turned to the policeman from his front porch and shouted that he had been wearing his seatbelt and that there was no need for the officer to be there, etc.. (I don’t remember all of what he said but I remember this next part).

The old guy is half in the door of his house at this point and the policeman is at the foot of the stairs to his porch. I don’t know if there is a legal thing where you can’t go into a house to arrest someone for a traffic stop, but after they exchanged more words the cop said something that pissed the old guy off and the old man said: “If you weren’t wearing glasses I’d come down there and sock you right in the mouth!”. The policemen took his glasses off and laid them on the hood of the guy’s car and smiled at him. This enraged the old guy who came down the stairs at the policeman and the next thing he knew he was on the ground doubled over in pain getting handcuffed.

“The bastard kicked me right in the balls!” Said the old man to the doctor.

His wife nodded. She saw it.

“Take a look!” There was the sound of clothing being removed, a moment of silence and a few “Hmmm’s”. I remember the colour “purple” being mentioned. Tests were going to be done, photographs were going to be taken (???).

“You don’t kick someone in the balls! We didn’t do that back in my day! I was in the war!!” (he was in the war!!!! Of course he was!)

Then my nurse came back, she got pulled off on an emergency but now she was here to staple me. “Sorry for the wait, at least you brought a book!”.