I am a man greatly blessed. I have seen the world, served my country and saved a few lives. I get to write for gun magazines and claim it’s work. Friends describe me as the luckiest man alive. I cannot dispute that appellation. However, one “lucky” episode stands above all others. As hard as it is to believe, yours truly did actually get an order of fries and a hamburger from a McDonald’s restaurant while they were still only serving breakfast.
This tale begins in the ICU with a hulking female drug addict who had recently overdosed. She came out of her drug-addled stupor enraged, belligerent and ready to rock. Before anyone could intervene, she tore out her IV lines and perched on the side of the bed — snarling. The ICU staff called both the cops and the on-call psychiatrist.
I was but a lowly medical student on the first day of my psych rotation. We arrived in the ICU to find pure, unfiltered bedlam.
Appreciate the scene. This was not one of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders — this woman was absolutely huge and utterly out of her mind. The two cops were impressive physical specimens in their own rights. This was shaping up to become World War III in microcosm.
The psych resident uttered a few well-placed words, declared victory and retired to write in the chart. That left the enormous, drug-addicted crazy woman, two surly cops, a dozen or so highly-trained ICU staff watching from a healthy distance and yours truly. Everybody inexplicably stared at me.
“So, pretty crummy day, huh?” I inquired amicably.
The woman glared at me, gestured to the two cops, and said flatly, “First I’m going to kill them, then I’m going to kill you, and then I’m leaving.” The verbiage has been sanitized out of deference to sensitive readers.
Drawing on my vast well of psychiatric experience I responded, “You look miserable. How about something to eat?”
At that the woman’s visage grew quizzical.
“You know, I am hungry. What you got?” she asked.
I looked around and saw no food handy.
“Well,” I said, “There’s a McDonald’s in the hospital. Let’s make a deal. You tell me what you’d like, and I’ll go get it. In return you promise me you’ll stay here and not attack those two nice police officers before I return. What do you think?”
She mulled it over for a moment and agreed. We actually shook on it.
The McDonald’s in this massive hospital was located right next to the cardiac cath lab. I found this oddly amusing. I declared a medical emergency and pushed my way to the front of the line. The sullen uniformed teenager looked perturbed, as did the other patrons, but this was a hospital. Weird stuff happened there.
I explained that I needed a Big Mac, a large order of fries and a Coke. Like an automaton she explained it was ten after ten in the morning. They wouldn’t be serving from the lunch menu for another twenty minutes. I needed to pick something more breakfast-ish.
The crazy chick in the ICU had been very specific. I elaborated it was an emergency. There was somebody in the ICU who was going to die if I didn’t get a Big Mac, a large order of fries and a Coke. The teenager’s eyes grew wide, and she summoned her manager. I repeated my request and said I didn’t have time to explain.
The manager sprang into action.
“Drop me some fries!” he shouted. “Grill me a Big Mac! Get this man a Coke!” I tore off mere moments later with exactly what I needed. In case you’re wondering — emergency or not — I did have to pay for it.
The drug addicted woman was right where I left her and indeed grateful for the food. I kept her company while she ate. Once sated she thanked me and explained yet again the order in which she was going to murder everybody. However, the ICU staff had made good use of the intervening time.
A nurse had drawn up about half a quart of Haldol, a powerful antipsychotic medication. He slipped up behind her and jabbed her in the butt through her hospital gown. After the expected bit of unfettered chaos she calmed right down and ultimately got the help she needed.
Saving lives is one thing. Most anybody can do that. However, yours truly did actually once get a Big Mac out of McDonalds at 1010 in the morning. It’s arguably my most amazing accomplishment.