“Blart.” What the? And there it was again, “Blart.” Kinda faint. Tapering off at the end.
I am in the kitchen and she is lying on the couch. The tv isn’t playing. Maybe, I am imagining the sound or maybe the pipes in the house are making noises. When I was growing up the old house we lived in would always groan and creak for no reason – much like my mother. I walk back into the den. “Myrna, wake up. Wake up”. I say to her. No response. She won’t move. I continue to call to her. I shake her. I shake her some more.
Just then the Home Health Nurse mercifully drops in for a visit. Myrna is passed out on the coach. The RN carefully listens with her stethoscope and checks her pulse. Her heart is beating and she is breathing, but we cannot wake her despite all our efforts. This is getting serious and I begin to get scared. What is going on?
“Mr. Teel, we need an ambulance, now.” The nurse wastes no time and she quickly rings 911. Meanwhile, we continue our efforts to revive her.
My wonderful wife of many years has Multiple Sclerosis and some other health problems. That day, four years ago, we had been to her neurologist for a checkup. He tried a new medication designed to alleviate nerve pain. She swallowed it before we left for home. Myrna laid down on the couch just after we made it to the house.
The fire department arrives and six guys are busy working on my wife. They wrangle her onto a gurney. Just then a fountain of puke eruptes from Myrna’s mouth and completely covers the nearby fireman. My profuse apologies are met with a “Don’t worry. You should see a fatal car accident.” And off we sped to the hospital at something approaching the speed of light, or so it seems.
We are in the ER and the doc is trying to get a response out of her.
“Miss Myrna, what is your name?” The doctor asks.
She rolls her eyes, rears back her head like a coyote crying out a mating call in the middle of the night and sings out the word, “Blart! ” Loud. I can feel the heat from our campfire as we cringe worrying if the coyotes will come attack us while we sleep in our tents. I visualize wild hyenas pictured in National Geographic screeching in anger as the lion casually steals their prey. The sound is similar.
“Miss Myrna, what year is it?”
Her eyes roll, mouth opens, head rears back, and out comes, “Blart!” Louder now. My father-in-law had an old hound dog named Pup. He was an ace number one squirrel dog and when Pup spied a limb leaper in the tree he reared his head back and howled. He didn’t say “Blart” but his actions were identical. Is this where she learned it? Is she somehow channeling Pup? My God, my wife has become Pup. I hope she doesn’t have fleas.
Somewhat frustrated, the doctor asks her, “Miss Myrna, do you know where you are?”
“Blarttttttt …….” she responds. This time her Blart is more refined and there is a modulation to her voice. Now, where have I heard that? Oh, yeah, yoderlers. She’s yodeling out Blart. What talent, what volume, what insanity! Metropolitan Opera star quality with a Dolly Parton Grand Ole Opry twist, of sorts.
Other doctors and a few nurses wander into the room. Apparently, news has quickly spread there is a demented person in the ER and this one is worth seeing. I hope it isn’t the demented husband they want to inspect.
Pointing at me, the doc asks her, “Do you know who this is?”
She nods her head, looks at me, and in a small timid little voice says, “Blart.”
“What the hell does that mean?” The doctor asks me.
“I think it might be Norwegian.” Like I know what the heck Blart means. That’s a dumb question to ask me. My wife is acting like some sort of Zombie nut job and he wants to know what Blart means.
“Is she Norwegian?”
“Nope,” I say. “She’s French.”
“Well, is that word French?”
Just then, and unprovoked, Myrna shouts out, “Blart!”
I tell him, “As far as I know she doesn’t speak a word of French.”
Our diligent and caring medical man is perplexed and perturbed.
The guy has no sense of humor. Clearly, the guy doesn’t think I’m funny. He gives up and signs some orders and speaks to the nurse. For a moment I thought he was going to order a drug test or mental evaluation on me. He would have been justified on both counts.
He turns to leave and tells me, “I’ll be back in a little while to check on her. Ok?”
I look him in the eyes and say, “Blart………!” Now, he thinks we are both crazy. I just couldn’t help it. There is humor in adversity.
The doc leaves and just then a strange man enters the room. He is dressed in black slacks and a shabby sports coat. He has no stethoscope, no white clinical coat, no chart and no nurse in tow to assist. By this time the room has emptied out and the ER doctor has ordered an MRI of the brain. I’m thinking this might be to see if she has one in there somewhere.
“I’m here to check your wife’s breasts.” He announces. I am surprised but assume he is a doctor of some sort. We don’t question what doctors tell us. She is laying on the table and the guy proceeds to slip his hand down the front of her shirt. I’m just standing there. I’m thinking he sure takes his time. Maybe he’s being thorough. After what seems to be forever he smiles, turns, and walks out.
What just happened? I ask myself.
The nurse returns to take my wife to he MRI so I ask her, “Who was that doctor?”
“The one who came in here and gave my wife a breast exam?
“Huh?” She says. “We don’t a doctor like that in this hospital.”
This is getting bizarre. So now I’m wondering. Did some old deviant wander in here off the street and decide he wanted to “cop a feel” right in front of me?
The following day my wife woke up in the ICU. She had no recollection of what had happened at our house, the ambulance ride, Blart, or the mysterious pseudo doctor and the breast exam. Everyone in the hospital knows about Blart. I tell her about Blart and she is incredulous. Her nurse assured her Blart existed. She is shamed.
Thankfully, everything turned out ok. She fully recovered and the MRI proved there is a brain up there – as I knew it would. Apparently, she had an adverse reaction to the new medication. I still wonder about that strange man and the breast exam. Im sure glad he didn’t want to perform a pelvic. Danged old perv.
Writer’s note: Weeks later when the hospital bill came to the house I carefully checked it. There was no charge for a breast examination. Knew it.