© by Ted Knuckey
My broken wrist was throbbing as I sat alone staring at the mechanism of an X-ray machine. The nurse who sent me in here had explained, since it was late, they would have to wake up the on duty technician. Her tone of voice implied it was very inconsiderate of me to have been bucked off at the evening performance of the Denver Stock Show Rodeo. To make matters worse, I had been carried from the arena. Since my right arm was incapacitated and in a sling, I was unable to remove my chaps.
I was lost in my thoughts and was counting the times, at age 19, I had ended up in the hospital with injuries. I realized this was my third trip to Saint Luke's, but once didn’t count, because I only had my tonsils out.
I didn’t hear anyone enter the room, but a very pleasant female voice came from just behind me, asking if I left any dirt in the arena. I looked down and noticed my boots and chaps were covered with dirt. “I bucked off of a saddle bronc.” I explained as she walked into my view.
She smiled and replied, ”So I heard."
Suddenly I felt like I had been kicked in the pit of my stomach. My breath was gone and with it any intelligent comments I could have made. I knew I was staring, but I couldn’t stop. She was dressed in a white starched uniform with a name tag identifying her as, “Miss Black.” She stood in front of me for a second with her brown eyes meeting mine and then she moved toward me with a white sparkling smile. She asked me to put my arm on the table. I immediately, without taking my eyes off of her, lifted my left arm and did as she requested.
She laughed as she said, “No I mean the other arm, the broken one.” I mumbled something totally unintelligible and probably incoherent. Her smile broadened as she leaned down, picked up my right forearm and placed it where she wanted it. This movement caused her breasts to rub against my shoulder as her long brown hair brushed my face. I remember how nice she smelled and when she asked if it hurt, when she moved my arm, all I could do was shake my head “No”. The throbbing in my arm kept me awake all night and I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it during my brief period with Miss Black.
Ten a.m. found me laying on the operating table with a doctor explaining he was going to put me to sleep with sodium pentothal. I listened and when he asked if I had any questions, I said. “You get Miss Black in here to hold my hand and you won’t need any of that stuff.”
“Ah, you have met our Miss Black,” he replied, as he finished putting the needle in my arm.” I started to answer and he said, “Count backwards from one hundred.”
I remember ninety three before everything disappeared. I awoke with him sla pping me and repeating over and over, “Wake up, wake up.” I was mad and started to rise to defend myself, but stopped when he put a hand on my chest and pushed me back down, while calmly saying, “You are all right. Lie still.” It was several minutes before I could collect my thoughts and I was surprised to find I was in a hospital room. I did not have any recollection of anything between ninety three and being slapped. I laid quietly in my bed and wondered how long I was going have to stay. I noticed several female nurses aides walk by in pairs and sometimes there was three. They would look in, giggle and walk on. Finally, one entered, took my blood pressure, temperature and pulse and said. “You are a cowboy, huh?”
I answered, “Yes.” and she continued, “I saw your boots downstairs.”
“My boots are downstairs?” I asked, and she answered “Yes.”
“Please, could you bring them to me?”
I noticed she was starting to blush as she said. “No, not until the doctor orders.”
She was getting redder and I asked, “Can I have a glass of water?”
“No,” she replied as she moved toward the door.
I quickly said, “Maybe some chipped ice?”
Her voice faded away as she left the room. “Not until the doctor orders.”
I resigned myself to a long wait as the female parade continued by my door. An hour later the doctor arrived, checked my cast, my eyes and pulse. He asked how I felt just as a giggling trio passed the door.
“I feel fine, but what’s with the girls who go by snickering?”
He laughed and said. “Don’t mind them, they are just being silly.”
“Why?” I asked.
He thought for a minute, nodded his head and replied. “Well, you were talking.”
“Talking, what about?” I asked.
He checked my cast again before saying. “Let’s just say, Miss Black really made an impression on you.”
“Oh God, please, what did I say?”
“Nothing to be ashamed of. She probably would be flattered. Pentothal is truth serum, you know. Besides I slapped you awake before you said too much.”
“Please check me out of here as soon as you can.”
It happened over fifty years ago and I have thought many times about Miss Black, but I have never dreamed about her since. I will never know what my one dream consisted of, but I wish I could remember just a little of it..