This article was originally published in the Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise in 1988.
From a distance, it was a touching scene really. The big man’s arm was wrapped around the slender shoulders of his woman, his enormous, calloused paw gently cradled her head, his gait slowed to a shuffle so she could walk at her own slow pace.
The nurse directed them to an examining table and pulled a curtain to remove the couple from view, but their voices could not be curtained.
“Let me see,” the nurse said gently. Presumably the paw was removed.
“My, now that’s a bruise,” the nurse cooed. “How did you get it?”
“I slipped,” she said hesitantly, as if searching for approval.
“Where did you slip?”
“Uh, on the ice outside my apartment.”
“Hmmm. Is it getting icy out again?”
“No, the ice was left over.”
“Do you have relatives around here?”
“No, she doesn’t,” the man answered.
The nurse asked if she had insurance. The man said his woman had Medicaid.
Then the nurse left the room. The man and his woman continued to talk, in lower voices now.
“…I don’t think it’s right,” the woman said. “It shouldn’t happen.”
“Well, who asked you?” the man answered. “You don’t have a say in what happens. I told you not to do that but you had to go ahead and do it anyway.” Then he chuckled.
Presently a doctor came into the room. He entered the door with face taut, walking quickly, but when he came to the curtain he took a half step to slow down.
He pulled up the corner of the curtain and disappeared.
“Well,” he asked kindly, “how are we doing? What seems to be the matter?”
“She slipped,” the man answered.
The doctor ignored him. “How did you hurt yourself,” he asked the woman.
“I slipped on the ice outside my apartment. It was icy,” she added quickly.
The doctor examined her head. He said to get at the wound he would have to shave some of her hair off, but not much.
He told her, “It will take two stitched to pull everything back together.”
The woman must have winced because the man said, “Oh, it won’t hurt that bad.” He seemed to be running out of patience.
The doctor told her he would give her a shot of Novocain and that unfortunately getting the shot would hurt a little bit.
“That’s okay,” said the man.
The doctor then asked the man to leave while he sewed the scalp of the man’s woman back together.
“Yeah. Sure,” said the man. He walked back out through the curtain and into the other half of the examining room where another man sat talking with his wife, her hand resting on his.
The big man began to walk straight toward the door, but then paused. The scene interested him. He cast a chilling glance at the woman and then turned to grin at the man.
He then continued out into the foyer to wait until the doctor mended his woman. Then he could take her home.