I love coupons! I love all kinds of coupons: restaurant, department store, grocery! I love bargains. I love sales. I love shopping.
Occasionally, my enthusiasm for coupons has not been a good thing. In fact, my husband’s surgery a year ago led to a “coupon” situation I have yet to live down.
Earl had an enlarged thyroid; surgery was required. My son Kent and a good friend waited in the lobby with me. After the surgery, the doctor met us, told us all had gone well, and Earl was in recovery. The doctor added that, because of the hospital’s crowded condition, a room might not be immediately available. He told us to come back about 7 p.m. to see Earl.
At 7 that evening, Kent, his wife Terri, daughter Hannah and I returned to visit Earl. But we could not find him. He was not in a room.The lady at the desk didn’t know where he was. Finally, his nurse helped us locate him – he was still in the recovery room, and two of us could go to that room — where visitors were usually not allowed.
Susan, the nurse attending Earl, welcomed us and apologized profusely for the fact that he was not in his own room. We visited with Earl, who was doing well except for a sore throat and a great thirst, which was being satisfied by the numerous ice chips Susan was feeding him. The nurse continued apologizing, stressing that the hospital was never satisfied with anything less than perfect care – and being unable to put Earl in his own room was less than satisfactory.
Suddenly, Susan reached for a file box, looked at me, and said, “Do you like pizza?” I thought that was a rather strange question, but responded: “Yes.”
“Fine,” she said, handing me a couple of coupons for Pietro’s Pizza.
“Great Harvest Bread?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said, and a gift card for Great Harvest was mine.
“And do you go to movies?”
“We do,” I responded, and two gift certificates for the theater were in my hand.
At this point, Kent spoke to his dad, suggesting jokingly, “Hey, Dad, can you have another surgery, so Mom can get more coupons?”
I figured she had given us all the coupons we were going to get, so I kissed my husband, said good-bye, and we returned to the waiting room where Terri and Hannah waited.
“Look at all these coupons!” I exclaimed, explaining what the nurse had said, how apologetic she had been, how she had made such an effort to placate me for the hospital’s shortcomings. Pietro’s Pizza, Great Harvest, and the movie certificates were proudly displayed.
Terri, after waiting anxiously for half an hour to learn her father-in-law’s condition, looked me straight in the eye and said with some exasperation, “Mom … how is Dad?”
Oh — Dad! Yeah, that’s why we’re here! What was I thinking? What is important? When will I learn?
Here’s what I would do if I could relive that situation: “Hey, Terri and Hannah. Dad is doing fine. He’s still in recovery because they don’t have a room for him, but the nurse is taking good care of him. Want to see what she gave me?…”