Updated: Jan 24, 2021
A few years ago (pre cell phone years), I was taking a stroll in downtown Montreal, when I attempted to cross one of our third-world streets (if you've ever been here, you'd understand). And sure enough, the moment I stepped off the sidewalk, my right foot got stuck in a pothole. I ended up hearing a tear in my ankle, which of course, in my dramatic mind, meant that I was likely going to get amputated. I screamed, and put on a scene, like a Drama Queen (rhyme unintended).
Nearby pedestrians looked on as if I had been shot. But much to my surprise, not a soul came to my rescue. Was I already dead and could no one hear me screaming in agony? Was I so disheveled that I was being mistaken for a drunk panhandler? Or perhaps folks assumed I was part of a movie shoot? Who knew? But, sure enough, a few seconds later I looked up, and there was finally someone there, arm extended towards me.
As I looked up there stood of course a disheveled panhandler "un peu d'change s"il vous plait?". I looked at him in dismay. He was persistent and so as I lay there in the fetal position I reached in my pocket and handed the caring citizen a toonie (a 2$ coin) because of course giving a panhandler anything less than that these days would be completely out of the question (in fact giving them a dollar gets you a dirty look and an insult as a thank you; I guess beggars can be choosers, after all).
It then began to rain. Hard. Now, if only I was able to walk, I might have gotten up and looked for shelter, but my torn ankle prevented me from doing anything. And as I glanced across the street, there was the Fisher King, umbrella in hand, smiling at me. In any case, one thing led to another, and some good Samaritan eventually called me a cab. I ended up at the Emergency Room, trying without much luck to convince the nurse that my situation was critical, and that I should be admitted immediately.
Fast forward to 5 hours later, I finally got shown some mercy and my name got called. Give me some damn morphine I begged but rather I was told. "Sir you must go take an Xray first, so go down that corridor, take the elevator, get off on the 5th floor, take a left and then a right and another right, and wait in that room. They might as well have given me a Rubik’s cube to solve while I was waiting or just put me in an Escape room. As I got off the elevator (not even sure if I had taken the right one given the number of elevators in this hospital) I ended up lost and walking through areas that were forbidden. I finally saw a sign for an Xray room and entered, relieved to see that there were only 3 other people waiting. This should be quick I thought. I removed the sock on my aching foot, crossed my legs, and started reading a magazine (Cosmopolitan if you can believe it as there weren't too many appealing ones left). Moments later I looked around the room and noticed the lady and her daughter on my right were shaking their heads at me, mumbling something, in what sounded like Polish.
So, I tried to ease the palpable tension and smiled at them in the hope that it would perhaps get them to smile back. Nothing but a look of disapproval.
Shortly thereafter, the older lady got called in and was given a gown to wear. The other 2 ladies in the room get shaking their heads at me. It took a good 45 minutes before there was no one there but me.
At this point I was getting annoyed I mean it had been a long painful afternoon and so I walked into the actual Xray room and said, “sorry but I have been waiting over an hour made to walk across corridors on one foot no pain killer can you please take the Xray of my foot as I really need to leave”. The angry-looking Xray technician looked at me and rolled her eyes "Your foot?! This is the Mammography reading room. We take Xrays of breasts here!”.
Embarrassed beyond belief, let's just say that at that point, my ankle was now the least of my worries. I got up, and just like a leper who had been blessed by Jesus, walked as fast as I could out of that Hospital and never looked back.