You can never say it’s breakfast time in a hospital; there is always something that can lead you astray. Encouraged by the efficiency of the blood takers down the hall, and happy to leave without feeling like a noodle, I went over to the radiography desk to see if they could have my sonogram switched to that morning. I had scheduled it for the next day and while there was nothing terribly wrong with that, I basically had nothing to do anyway, I could think of better ways of spending my holidays than on the city bus. Not a chance. The woman checked, God bless her, but there was no opening. But as compensation she suggested I taker her up on the offer to have my electrocardiogram done right there and then instead of at the real time, which was an hour away.
“Could I really get my ecg in before breakfast?”
“Oh, yeah. You just go upstairs and ask. I’m sure there will be no problem.”
Well I listened to her, and what do you know, she was right. The place was empty, except for the nurse. I explained who I was and why I was there and she there would be no problem whatsoever. Then she spilled out a series of explanations that I was later to learn were the following: Sit and wait. But she filled it in with all sorts of secondary detail about some other guy being inside the room and that he was not ready yet but when he was ready he would come out which would be when I would be allowed to go in and have the test done but until then I was to wait in the office at the seat if I wanted and not enter the room where the other patient was. Clearly unable to ingest that much information before having ingested some coffee, I went straight for the door.
“No!” she said politely. Then she went over the instructions again, but they didn’t quite sink in. I nodded and reached for the doorknob, which was when she decided that I must have had difficulty understanding her because I was either a foreigner or a complete idiot. So she started speaking to me as if I was one of those people who had fallen of their bikes one too many times as a child and I finally got the message.
After all that, by the time I actually sat down, the unknown patient suddenly emerged from the room so I immediately had to get up and go in. I took off my shirt and lay down while the nurse hooked me up to about a dozen wires, just as you see in the movies. She told me everything was ready and that she would be back. I have to admit I was a little disappointed because I was expected a kind of magical whir or some kind of sound that would give greater importance to the moment, but there was nothing. So, I just sat there keeping as calm as possible until I was jolted by the sound of my cell phone. Damn! I had forgotten to turn of the sound. It was my friend Aitor calling from Asturias and asking how everything was.
“Pretty good. And you?”
“Great. Just having a lie in and enjoying life. Going to the beach soon. How about you?”
“Well, I’m lying down too, but at the clinic. I look like a robot.” I told him what was going on. He told me all about his vacation and gave great emphasis to the eating part, which is what you would expect to do up in Asturias. Most of you don’t know this, but Asturias is in the north of Spain and it is famous for its good and plentiful food. Well, as I was saying, the man didn’t miss the slightest detail. I had to cut him off for fear it would upset my state of hunger.
I hung up and a few minutes later the nurse came in and efficiently removed the wires. I got dressed while she tore off the sheet of paper with the results. I looked at it and noticed that everything was pretty much normal until there was an eruption of seismic activity and then a long straight line. I pointed to it and said, “Hey look! This is where I got the phone call and this is where Hector told me about the two pound steak he ate.” Naturally, she didn’t understand a thing.