by Doug Hawley
at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center (or as I
thought of it, the hospital with too many names)
for eleven years. My job was wheelchair
jockey, or as I called it, unpaid escort, pusher
or roll model (nudgenudge, wink-wink).
job was very easy, so when I was asked if I got a
lot of exercise, I responded Not since the
wheel was invented. When I had to carry
people on my back, that was exercise.
Sometimes I was challenged to roll the extremely
obese uphill. I got to see a lot of
overweight people because they are more likely to
be hospitalized than others. My last partner was
an eighty - something year old woman, so I tried
to take the more difficult cases. It didnt
require much strength, but driving two
wheelchairs at once, occupied or not, required a
lot of coordination. It wasnt
necessary, but I liked to show off. Getting
people with leg injuries into jacked up pickups
was difficult. In one case, which no doubt broke
the rules, I picked up a light person and put him
in the seat. In return for my paltry labors, I
got a free breakfast.
This was a
cruel prank, but I enjoyed handing off a very
heavy bag to an old, 100 pound woman and watching
her almost hit the floor.
One good thing
about the job was that one rarely saw the same
person twice, so I could use my short list of
jokes repeatedly. Best gag pretending
that the patient was deplaning. Please
extinguish all smoking material and return your
seat back to a full upright position. Thank
you for riding Legacy chairs.
were not humorous to those involved, but
presented slapstick visuals. One fellows
urine sac which was connected to his catheter
fell of his leg while I was pushing him. I
didnt catch on until I heard him screaming. Another
patient had his oxygen tube caught in the wheel
of his chair. He was cool, but his daughter
freaked. Last and least, was the projectile
vomiting. It looked much like the gag
vomiting in TV or movie comedies.
there were heart-rending events as well, but they
belong on the Short Sadness Site.
author hasn't had a real job since 1983 because
the minimum wage law prevents him from being paid
what he is worth.