Uptight Tonight

Last Saturday M and were driving to her uncle’s for a 70th birthday party. Shortly before the Elbtunnel I felt a sharp pain in my heart and a heat move through my body. I also nodded out for a split second. Did I mention I was driving? At first I brushed it off and thought maybe I was just tired but that didn’t explain the pain. And then my anxiety started playing with me. I decided to go to the hospital just to have them check it out and see if I had anything to worry about.

When I arrived at the ER, I had a pulse of 160. About 5 minutes later it was around 45. They found that alarming. After about an hour the doctors could say with certainty that it was not a heart attack or stroke. What I thought would just take a few hours turned into a bit more that I expected. They couldn’t rule out an irregular heartbeat or a bad reaction to the medication. They wanted to keep me there under observation for a few days, so although ich hab’ die Schnauze voll von Hospitals, I agreed. After four days and a battery of tests (again) and after finding nothing wrong, they released me yesterday afternoon.

I figured it was another chance to have another set of doctors have a stab at me (Ha!) and try to figure out what, if anything, was wrong. Although they can’t rule out a possible irregular heart beat, they couldn’t find anything wrong. Nix nada zip. Which is good. Maybe it is all in my head.

I’m sick of needles, syringes, injections, blood, rubber hoses, medication, decaf coffee, IVs and being hooked up to machines, monitors and cables. However the nurses at Albertinen Hospital in Hamburg are very easy on the eyes. Indeed. Especially on the 5th floor. Station A if you want to be more specific. Night shift if you want to know what I’m talking about.

This did not go unnoticed by my roommate, Herr Müller. The man is, I shit you not, 100 years old. I guess they wanted to see what kind of comedy gold would ensue by placing the youngest and oldest together. He was still pretty sharp although he kept misplacing his teeth. He was only there to have the battery in his pacemaker replaced. According to the doctor, pacemaker batteries last, on average, 10 years. He was so frech with the nurses. If I would have said what he did, they would call it sexual harassment. Some examples:

Nurse: Do you live alone Herr Müller or in a senior home?
Herr Müller: Alone. I have a big bed. You should visit me sometime.

Nurse: Would you like something to drink?
Herr Müller: A bottle of champagne for the two of us would be nice.

Nurse: Would you like something before you go to bed?
Herr Müller: A kiss!
Nurse: Umm…something I can actually fulfill?
Herr Müller: Oh you know how!

While the nurse is removing a bandage from his arm…
Herr Müller lifting up the blanket: Climb in. It’s a lot warmer under here.

When I was packing to leave…
Nurse: Herr Russell is checking out today.
Herr Müller: Ah finally. Some time to ourselves.

Once after the nurse rolled her eyes and left he turned to me and said, “Young man, at my age I have to take advantage of every opportunity.”

I can’t have nothing but respect for that.

I would’ve like to talk to him about some of the experiences he had in his life but he was real hard to understand. It’s not often that you meet someone who has lived so long and seen so much. He also kept telling me these jokes and rhymes in Low-German. I just couldn’t understand. He did tell me about how back in those days, ladies didn’t pursue men. If they found a man interesting they would drop their handkerchief. If he was interested he would pick it up.


And did men in black run around twisting their mustaches while tying damsels in distress to train-tracks? My how times have changed.