The folds under his fiftyish-year-old eyes welled with tears, “Please, doc, help me get home . . . I miss my family and friends so much.”
He pleaded with me and gently rubbed the side of his head where a large portion of his skull had been removed a few months prior to allow for his brain to swell. It had healed over and the now-misshapen appearance of his head seemed to have an almost infant-like resemblance to it.
I patted him on his shoulder. “We’ll get you back. You don’t have any family here?”
“No, they are all in Oklahoma, and my parents are dead and I have no children and I never been married. Doc, please help me get home. Can you help me get home? I’ve been here so long.” He begged again like a child wanting his favorite toy returned, or another scoop of ice cream.
“Do you remember what happened?” I asked. He stared at me and rubbed his head some more.
“They said I had a stroke, but I don’t know, they don’t tell me anything. I need to get home. I’ve been here so long. Can you help me get home?”
I rummaged through his nursing home chart, checked his old records, and made a few calls before returning to his room.
“I have good news. We’re going to get you back soon. You have surgery scheduled in about a week to put a big plate there across your skull.” He smiled a huge grin at news that had probably been told to him dozens of times before.
“Oh bless you, bless you . . . I love you all. You are amazing. Can I get something to eat? I am so hungry.” His eyes slowly started to sag again as if the batteries to his face were fading.
“Sure,” I said, “let’s see what we have.” I patted him on the shoulder once again on my way out of his room but he stopped me.
“Doc?” He looked down at his folded hands as if trying to think of where he had put his wallet, or perhaps the number of a now-forgotten friend. “I need to get home. Can you help me get home? I miss my family so much. They said I had a stroke, but they don’t tell me anything. I’ve been here so long. Can you help me get home?”
I nodded “yes.”
But I thought “no.”
Dr. Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis and a member of the Indianapolis Forensic Services Board. He is a national award-winning writer, public speaker and one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Feedback at email@example.com is welcomed. For other publications and for speaking dates, go to louisprofeta.com. For college speaking inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis. He is one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Dr Louis holds a medical degree from the Indiana University Bloomington.