By Lynn Moncus
Last year, the woman from lma learned what the Soothsayer meant when he told Julius Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March.” Of course, we all recall from reading Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar what happened on that day when Caesar was stabbed rather fatally.
Well, mid-March can be rather dangerous for the ordinary person just wandering through life when illness strikes and sends a body to a Cardiac Care Unit in a hospital. At least, the stabbing was over with in one big hurry, and Caesar had only a moment to get even with his friend, Brutes.
By living in more modern times, we can receive treatment for our less-than-fatal illnesses and remain to enjoy many more days with friends whom we don’t want to injure.
Actually, I did learn that proffering quotations when in strange surroundings can cause a bit of trouble because some medical personnel can mistake those quotations for hallucinations and decide that the patient is not quite in touch with reality.
In other words, keep your thoughts to yourself until you check the backgrounds of the people in charge. Look for older nurses who probably had to do a little reading in English classes when they were young.
I was fortunate enough to have such a nurse who came to my rescue. I had looked at the date written on the chalkboard in the room in which I was incarcerated and just happened to mention the above quotation. One young doctor never quite recovered from that comment even after that dear nurse explained that an English professor might have sense enough to quote a word or two from Shakespeare. The doctor just looked askance, but the nurse and I had a good laugh because we were both fairly lucid at the moment.
That same physician had further problems with my sanity or lack thereof when I was in his off ice a few weeks later and had been admiring the photographs on the walls while waiting for him to appear. We talked for a while about health and reality checks. Just before we finished our conversation, I asked if he had enjoyed his visit to Stonehenge in England. That was almost one question too many as I could see; thus, I quickly pointed to his likeness in the photograph taken at Stonehenge and mentioned what a privilege it had been for me to stand among those large boulders to wonder about the mystery of their placement. He calmed for a few minutes and then talked a little about his trip to that faraway place and the feelings he had while standing on that plain.
With each visit, I have expected him to recommend my instant incarceration because he really is quite sure that I have never been very closely in touch with reality.
Although I rather enjoy the game, I sort of wonder how he fares with most of his patients who may be literate. He tends to be a bit skittish in the presence of older people and surely isn’t about to trust our ability to think clearly or to think independently.
I will be seeing him again one of these days and will thank him one more time for letting me get beyond the ides of March. On the other hand, I think I’ll just keep enjoying each day and keep thoughts to self during our next visit. Just be careful when you speak to someone who doesn’t know you!