This week’s story submitted by Isabella Machado
Once I was in the hospital for a routine surgery, and was there for a week or so. On about my second day, a young man pushing a cart full of magazines and toiletries came into my room and stood by my bed with perfect posture, his hands folded neatly in front of him. He asked, “Would you like a magazine?” “Sure,” I answered. He started listing magazines in alphabetical order. “We have Allure, Better Homes and Gardens, Consumer Reports . . .” “I’ll take an Allure,” I said. “Okay, would you like the September or October edition?” I noted that I would like the October edition. He handed it to me, then walked out of the room and down the hall pushing his cart.
I had no sooner opened the magazine than the young man was back — he came into my room again, again stood by my bed with perfect posture and his hands folded neatly in front of him, and asked, “Would you like a magazine?” I was so baffled that all I could say was, “Um . . . sure?” “We have Allure, Better Homes and Gardens, Consumer Reports . . . ,” he recited — the exact same memorized list in the exact same tone of voice, and he could surely see that I already had the magazine in my hand that he had just given me! I simply asked for the September Allure this time, which he placed on my bed before exiting with his cart, heading back down the hall.
Concerned, I pushed the button to call my nurse into the room. “I think you have me on too many pain meds,” I told her. “I don’t think I’m thinking straight, my brain seems a little off.” I told her my story about seeing the magazine boy twice. She started laughing very hard and instructed, “Come into the hall, I want to show you something.” I went with her into the hall, and everything suddenly became clear to me as I saw a set of identical twin volunteers with identical carts going into people’s rooms, not keeping any sort of track of which room the other had already been in. “Yeah, they’re great kids, but we really can’t seem to get them to be organized and not to go into rooms twice. You should have seen the stink they caused up on the brain surgery recovery wing the other day, they had half the patients thinking that their brain surgeries hadn’t worked!”
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