By Bruce Murray
Last summer, I somehow picked up a nasty bacteria, which made me very ill — so ill it required a hospital stay of almost two weeks. My doctor tried to lessen the trauma of a hospital stay by informing me I was to look at it as a vacation and a chance to rest up. Fat chance of that I thought, as he mentioned the need for a urinary catheter.
Much of the hospital stay was a blur of blood work and IVs pouring drugs into me to combat the infection but I did have a very unusual visitor. No, it wasn’t my brother-in-law, although I admit some consider him strange. Any of you that have spent time in a hospital know how difficult it is to sleep with the hard beds, nurses checking on you during the night and the lab tech poking your arm for blood.
One night, while dozing and perhaps dreaming of freedom, I sensed something in my room. The lights were out, the room was dim and I couldn’t see anyone but the feeling persisted. I looked carefully around but saw nothing and eventually dozed off again. I suddenly felt something on my pillow and then the fluttering of wings on my face. What on Earth, I thought.
I looked to my left and realized a bat had landed on me, perhaps attracted by my warmth. I pulled the pillow from under my head and threw it and the bat across the room. The bat survived the experience and climbed up the window curtains to get away from me. Now what?
I decided to push the call button and summon help. The nurse responded over the intercom and asked what the problem was. I said, “I have a bat in my room.” “What?” she asked. “I have a bat in my room,” I repeated. “A bat?” “Yes,” I said. “Okay,” she responded slowly. “I will have someone come check,” she said.
I don’t think she believed me but perhaps thought I was hallucinating. A male nurse arrived promptly and, with a smile, turned the lights on and asked where the bat was. I pointed to the curtains where the bat still hung. “Over there, on the curtains,” I said. He looked and agreed I indeed had a bat for a visitor. He said, “I will go get a broom and get rid of it.”
He soon returned equipped with a broom and extra staff should reinforcements be required. Then the fun began. The bat, perhaps sensing it had overstayed its welcome, began flying around the room looking for a way out. I got dive-bombed several times and confess I took refuge under the blankets, as the staff tried to evict my unwelcome visitor. The bat finally found the door and tried escaping just as the nurse swung the broom. No more bat.
I thanked the staff for their assistance and they in turn apologized for the disruption and assured me the hospital was not normally visited by bats. They gave me a new pillow, straightened the bed, turned out the lights and suggested I try to get some sleep.
A couple of hours later I again felt something in the room and threw my pillow in the direction of where I thought the intruder was. I looked across the darkened room and spotted a dark object on the floor and thought I had hit another bat. I again called the nursing station and reported a second bat in my room.
“Really,” she said. “Yes,” I replied. “That’s hard to believe, but I will send someone,” she responded. The same male nurse arrived, this time already armed with a broom.
“Where is the bat?” he asked. “Over there on the floor,” I said. “I hit it with my pillow.” He looked where I was pointing. “Let me turn the lights on because I don’t see it,” he said. He turned on the lights and walked over to the dark object on the floor. “Is this it,” he asked. “Yes,” I said. “Are you sure? he asked. “Yes, I am sure,” I replied. “Can’t you see it?”
“Well sir,” he said, “what you see is the bathroom door stop, not a bat.” Oops. He managed not to laugh, while he was in the room but I could hear his giggles as he walked down the hall.
In my defence it must be acknowledged I was being given powerful drugs, I had seen a bat earlier that night and it was dark but perhaps it was just, “bats in my belfry.”