Yesterday my job took me to meet Mr. R.K.Jones. The receptionist buzzed me in and said, “You’re here for Mr. Jones in room 32, he’s by the window.” As I walked down the urine scented hallway, I realized this was a long term hospital for those who have had strokes… Room after room of men and women locked in their demobilized bodies. This would have been a Faustian nightmare had my father come with me, his greatest fear was landing up in a place like this.
I turned into the room and saw a man laying in silence, one side of his face frozen. I thought to myself, “God have mercy on him.” The second bed was thankfully curtained off and there he was Mr. Jones. He greeted me, “Thanks for coming. My cord is too short and by the time I can move this piece of junk of a body into position, they’ve stopped ringing.” I reached in my bag and uncoiled a long cord.
He admitted why he was in room 32 laying nearly frozen, bad diet and no exercise. “I’m stuck here in hell and all I can do is look out this damn window. Hey I actually called you out for that. Look at those dead wires dangling from that telephone pole over there. It’s driving me nuts watching them blow in the wind. I used to work for Ma Bell, I retired in 84. Could you cut them down?” I replied, “Sure. I have a bucket truck.”
We talked for a good 30 minutes and he told me of how this is the place you land up in if you have no money. I took a deep sigh. “Softly I said, “What about this one?” I pointed to the curtained bed. “Steve? He’s literally dead but they won’t let him die. Most of us here wish we were dead. I used to climb poles just like you. Now I can’t even scratch nuts. My advice to you is, if you have a stroke, let it finish you off. Don’t call for help.” On that I left.
I pulled around the corner and boomed up to the strand and lopped off the dead wires. I triangulated where his room was and waved to him. This too will pass