by Neena Strichart
A couple of weeks ago, we had a problem with our washing machine that caused it to overflow. Unfortunately, Steve didn’t notice the water on the floor until it was too late, and he took a pretty bad fall after slipping on the soapy liquid.
Taking to the bed with an ice pack on his knee, poor Steve stayed mattress-bound until about 5pm when I insisted we make a trip to Healthcare Partners Urgent Care. Once we arrived, the young man at the check-in desk informed us that we would have about a two-hour wait. We quickly decided to go have a light dinner and to use my cell phone to call the check-in desk later and see when the wait time was a bit shorter. Sure enough, after a bite at Golden Eagle Restaurant in Signal Hill, we called, found out that the wait time was down to about an hour, and we high-tailed it back to urgent care.
While Steve was getting himself checked in, I noticed a young man, around 30, who looked rather forlorn waiting his turn to be examined. Greeting him with a “Hi, honey,” I then asked him if he was okay. He stared at me as if to say, “Why are you talking to me?” I then answered my own question and replied that of course he wasn’t okay, or he wouldn’t be there in the first place. Then, not knowing when to accept rejection and walk away, I asked the fellow what was the matter. With heavy lidded-eyes, he looked at me and then held up the middle finger of his left hand. My reaction was that of surprise, and I commented, “Well, that’s a nice gesture,” to which he replied, “I have gout; it’s stuck that way.”
Chuckling and then trying to soothe him a bit, I said, sarcastically, “Oh, that’s great!” – to which he responded with a “thumbs up” motion.
Now, keep in mind, it was not just your average “thumbs up” gesture; this was a “thumbs up” with a protruding middle finger pointing to the right. I don’t know why the visual tickled me so, but I laughed so hard that I nearly tinkled.
Thank goodness the young man, who I later learned was named Tim, had a good sense of humor. He then told me of the time he was in high school when a bout of gout caused him to have both middle fingers stuck in the same naughty positions. I assured him that his classmates must have voted him the most popular boy in class. His response was to roll his eyes at me.
Tim’s malady has inspired me to write the following as an ode to his condition…
I know a guy, his name is Tim.
Poor little guy, I felt sorry for him.
His finger stuck and caused him grief.
The doctor helped and gave him relief.
If the gout comes back and makes him lurch,
I hope it’s not while he’s in church!
By the way, Steve is feeling better now.