Ok, ok, ok- one funny heart attack story but that’s it!
7am and I am in the cardiac operating room in Corvallis, Oregon, lying on my back, the cardiac surgeon standing at my side looking at various monitors. I think he may be trying to get a clear picture on ESPN but I can’t be sure. His nurse is at my feet removing my socks and any remaining dignity I might have come in with.
The Doctor leans over me and says, “Hello, Mr. Middleton, my name is Dr. Plavof but you may call me Victor if you like. How do you feel?”
“Hello, Doctor. I have felt better. You don’t sound like you’re from these parts. Wait, don’t tell me- Slovakia?”
(Ok, it wasn’t a great guess but I was having a heart attack so give me a break.)
“No, I was born and raised in Russia. Now be sure to lie still for a moment.”
“Ok. Your English is not bad.”
“I’m still learning… English, that is.”
The nurse comes up to my head and leans in saying, “What would you like to be called?”
A bit confused with her question but not willing to miss an opportunity, I say, “Your Honor.”
“Ok,” she says chortling, “Your honor, you’ll be feeling better soon.”
Speed ahead a few hours to my room in the cardiac repair and tire change ward. My nurse, Peter, comes in to check on me and we continue a running conversation.
“I thought you said you were a photographer?” Peter says to me a confused look on his face.
“I am a photographer, at least I was when I came in here this morning.”
“Huh, everyone on the floor thinks you are a judge!”
“A judge!?! Do I look like a judge? Do you see any bearing? Do I look like I have wisdom and good judgement?”
“Not in that robe and gown, you don’t. But that’s why I am asking. They all say you are a judge!”
“Oh, wait a minute. I might have said something in the OR but I can’t be held responsible.”
“I understand, you were having a heart attack. But don’t say a thing to anyone. You are getting all your meals first and all the Techs come here first too. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Huh, I should probably tell Dr. Plavof. I don’t want him thinking I am something I’m not”
“Yes you do, your Honor. Unless, that is, you don’t mind waiting longer and eating last!”
“Your Honor it is!”
So next time you are on an operating table and a nurse asks you what you would like to be called say ‘your honor’ and hope for someone in the room to be less than fluent in English. No bearing necessary, no judgement required, confirmation optional. But meals first, now that’s something!