Hanging out at Putnam County Hospital


Remember when Mrs. Johnson taught you about peer pressure and bullies in kindergarten? Don't act like your teacher's name wasn't Mrs. Johnson — every teacher was called Mrs. Johnson. 

"Bullies are just small people that get joy out of hurting you. Don't let them get the best of you."

Or, "Just because everyone's saying you should do it, doesn't mean you should. You're your own person."

Or what about, "If Putnam County Hospital decides you need an X-ray because you have a black eye and keeps you waiting for three hours, only to decide you don't even need stitches, don't let them."

I have a confession. Unlike you lucky readers, I was never taught that last point. Though I did stand up to bullies by getting contact lenses. (They make you look cooler. Duh). 

I managed to obtain an awesome black eye during a DePauw rugby match in early October. It had a cut below it. Not Tyler-Durden-Fight-Club cut, just an, "Ouch, that hurt" scratch. 

After the game, my teammates encouraged me to get it checked out because, and I quote, "Dude, you might need stitches."

I went, despite the other advice like, "Don't go, man. Just get a badass scar instead." I headed over to Putnam County Hospital with my worried girlfriend and her father, continuing a trend of having to go to the hospital whenever I am around her dad. 

The one element of my experience at Putnam County Hospital that I did appreciate was the kind nurses, particularly their hats (which gave off a terrific World War II vibe). They were quite nice, and we bantered back and forth, not unlike Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor (a truly horrible film).

But an hour later, I was still in a hospital bed and the blood had started up again. No one was around to place so little as a Spongebob Band-Aid on it.

Finally, the doctor arrived and declared that my eye should be cleaned. But wait, there's more.

He then decided I needed an X-ray, because the hit could have broken part of my skull, despite the fact that I felt virtually no pain, except for the uncomfortable feeling of air touching an open wound. 

So I waited another half-hour, as my cut began to bleed more. Eventually, Rosie the X-ray technician placed me in a wheel chair, because eye injuries apparently cause you to lose the ability to walk, and took me over to be X-rayed.

The X-ray proved that there is indeed a skull in my head, and it's not broken. And, guess what? Forty minutes later, once they completely cleaned it up, they realized that the slight scratch on my face was really just a slight scratch on my face.

After three hours of waiting, one X-ray, one decision that I didn't even need stitches and half a dozen 1940s nurses staring at my black eye, I got to go home. 

And here's the best part: three weeks later, I received a bill for $1,200. Oh, but don't worry. $500 was covered by insurance. Great.

In a few years, when I'm famous or something, I probably won't care about this insanely large amount of money (because famous people are rich). But right now, I know not to go to Putnam County Hospital. Remember what Mrs. Johnson said? Just because a doctor says it's OK, doesn't make it OK. 

Mostly, I just hope my $1,200 dollars doesn't go toward replacing those ridiculously large nurse hats.

— Jorgenson is a junior from Shawnee, Kan., majoring in English writing and film studies.