Many years ago I was the distribution manager for a company that delivered healthcare Durable Medical Equipment and related services to clients at home who were ill, recently released from the hospital, or needed oxygen refills. It was an extremely interesting job complete with many blindside hits and dropped balls thanks to poor information from the hospitals exasperated by our customer services’ inability to clearly interpret their cryptic requests so some days were crazier than others as we spent the day catching up.
That’s why no two days were alike, except for the regularly scheduled oxygen refills. This made it difficult to project the workload as the morning could be extremely quiet and then all it took to get slammed were several hospitals within our service area of San Francisco to Redwood City releasing multiple patients simultaneously. We were also in the middle of the AIDS epidemic and I spent many hours training our drivers on blood-borne pathogens to help quell their fears. However, we did have a few quit due to the misinformation and alternate facts of the time.
On those especially hectic days, I would help out by selecting a few calls that I could handle on my way home. It would get me out of the office for a little while and allow me to experience some of what my drivers were having. On this particular day, one of the deliveries was a walker for an elderly patient in an assisted living facility. Easy Peasy or so I thought. With paperwork and walker in hand, I checked in at the facility front desk then took the elevator to the eighth floor, and found the client’s apartment where I was greeted by his wife. As I entered the apartment I could see an elderly man reclined with his head resting on the sofa cushion wrapped in a blanket sound asleep. She wanted me to leave the walker but I explained that I needed to make sure it was properly adjusted to his height so he could properly use it. She nodded in agreement, turned, and in a sweet loving low voice she called, harold. No response as Harold remained asleep but she would not be deterred as she suddenly went full volume and yelled HAROLD! Harold shot straight up into a sitting position, opened his eyes, smiled, and in his loudest voice, asked, TEA? His wife immediately responded, NO TEA! Puzzled at first by the answer and looking disappointed, Harold thought and then asked MOVIE? She again responded, NO MOVIE! He finally noticed me and asked her what was going on, at least that’s what I’m guessing since I didn’t speak their native language.
While she explained to Harold what I needed him to do, I assembled the walker. It seemed he was still really upset about no tea as he kept muttering but his wife made it all good with a, TEA LATER! I had the walker ready and in place and began to help him get up so he could stand to make sure it was a comfortable height for him to use. As he stood, the blanket that was still wrapped around him fell away revealing that Harold was naked from the waist down. Life is a collection of memories and over time some fade-out and some never ever go away. The moment may seem surreal but is still recorded in the brain for constant playback whenever, where ever. Now let’s see that again, Phil but in slow motion. This is my reward, for trying to help and do the right thing? Ahh but this was not over yet.
I had to make a small adjustment to the legs and tried to accomplish this without getting too close to or having to make direct eye contact with Harold’s manhood. Just as I finished and turned to ask Harold how the walker felt, he answered with a torrent of urine. I froze, I didn’t know what to do as the floodwater cascaded but back away, however, his dear loving wife was prepared and with the speed and agility of a ninja, in one fluid motion grabbed a jar off the coffee table and had it in place before a drop could hit the floor.
As soon as Harold finished demonstrating gravity I quickly asked if they were happy with the walker. She smiled, Harold smiled, I smiled, the blanket never got picked up. She politely asked if I wanted to stay for tea. I politely declined and lied that I had more deliveries to make and left. I laughed at myself all the way from the elevator until I got home knowing full well that I may be Harold one day and test the verve of a young delivery person.