Saturday, February 5, 2011

I am a retired political science professor.

I had noticed him earlier, as he was walking into the Emergency department. He was different from the other Chinese patients. He was exhuberant, friendly, saying hi, without knowing who I was. I was wearing my pink scrub top so he may have thought I was the nurse. Another thing, his teeth were pearly white and perfect.

He was hurt. By that, I mean his pride had been wounded. This was his second visit to the Emergency department. He had been assaulted by a security guard in an electronics store and assessed for head injury and sent home, and he returns today because he noticed there was also a bruise on the left side of his chest wall right above his heart, and his left wrist which had been hurting on the first visit, was still hurting. He couldn’t bend the left wrist as far back the right.

I could tell that his pride had also been hurt.

“I am a retired political science professor from Hong Kong” he told me as I examined the yellowing bruise on his chest.

“what exactly happened?” I couldn’t resist. This man was unusual, and interesting. Excitable in a likeable way.

He recounted how he was taking a photo of a store display TV screen which was broadcasting some news with his phone when the security guard asked him to stop.

“I had stopped”, he said, like a hurt child. The security guard had wrestled him down and perhaps grabbed his left wrist roughly.

He looked comfortable. I didn’t think there was anything broken, and I asked him.

“Do you think there’s anything broken?”


I had already done the xrays before seeing him, and I confirmed that everything looked well.

I liked him. I believed his story, if only because his pride had been hurt.

“It was nice to meet you.”.

I say this to acknowledge that I believed him. That I knew his pride was hurt. That he was a nice person to meet.

He thanked me, flashing his pearly white teeth.

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