The other day I had to take my father to a doctor’s appointment. He’s at the point now where simple everyday tasks can be grueling to complete. Just getting in the car, out of the car, and into the doctor’s office, is exhausting for both him and me.
So we got there, and he was out of breath and had just sat down in the waiting room, when the receptionist called his name. Immediately I knew something was up, because usually the receptionist doesn’t even look up when I sign him in, and only speaks to me on the way out, to set up his next appointment. So I got up and headed to the little receptionist window that resembled the same kind they use in gas stations to protect cashiers from bullets. I thought my father was following behind me. That was my mistake. He was not. He was walking to the doorway where the nurse calls the next victim to take to an examination room. At the window, the receptionist handed me a form she needed updated, and then I heard a ruckus to my right.
My father was saying, “Someone called me.” The nurse tried to explain to him that they were not ready for him yet, and that the receptionist was the one who called him. He yelled, “Get out of my way!” And then he slapped her in the face.
I have to say right here that my father has little to no muscle mass left, so a slap from him would have about the same sting as being slapped by a wet noodle, but still getting slapped is getting slapped, no matter if it’s a pimp or a noodle doing the slapping. As you might imagine, a hush fell over the waiting room and all eyes were on me and my father, Joe Lewis. I took his arm and led him to a seat, trying to act as if nothing had happened.
Now I don’t have children, but I have to imagine that the embarrassment I felt that day was equivalent to the embarrassment of having a child, in the middle of a temper tantrum, throw himself on the floor, screaming, in a crowded grocery store or restaurant.
When I finally got my father settled in the examination room, I snuck out and found the nurse he had assaulted. She told me that she was fine and that the slap didn’t hurt. She said, “I know he is demented.” Demented? I hated that word. The doctor approached us, and said, “It is all right. He has no control over his emotions.” It was then that I had a fleeting thought that they might sue me for not controlling him better, as if there were elderly leash laws I was ignoring. But it has been over a week, and I’ve yet to receive a letter from the nurse’s attorney. Keep your fingers crossed that I never do.
So, in conclusion, I can only assume that my father was so exhausted from the trip that it made him irritable and that was the cause of the slap. But it is a good lesson for us all - and the next time you must visit your doctor, remember to use the proper amount of decorum, and please, … do not slap the nurses.