A Mountain To Climb Chapter 12: She Didn’t

Meanwhile, while Pearl is being the victim of incompetent doctors, Arthur is being an asshole to the receptionist. If you’ll remember from 2 weeks ago, we left off with Arthur having been told that Pearl did receive the operation.

“But I’m sure that Pearl didn’t have that operation,” Arthur said, trying not to let his excitement show too much.

“I’m sure she did.” The girl at the desk was positive. “They took Pearl to the operating room just before eleven.”

“I know that she did NOT have the operation”

Listen, asswhipe. It is the receptionist’s job to tell you what she knows to be true. Just because she happens to be wrong in this case doesn’t mean you need to sit there and argue with her. She’s just doing her job. You could ask to speak to the doctor to see if Peal really isn’t well enough to visit. There are a billion better ways you could be handling this situation, but instead you choose to sit there and argue with the lady who is only doing her job.

“Young man, you sound as if you have some super-knowledge we don’t have here at the hospital. Just what makes you so sure of yourself?” Sarcasm dripped from her words.

This is where I wonder if the author is perhaps taking some creative liberty with what actually happened. I’m sure the receptionist and Arthur did have a conversation like this, but did the receptionist actually say that? I’m gonna go with no. I’m gonna go with, “I took some creative liberty with this.” Which is fine, I’m not too against that. Gotta make the story interesting somehow.

But I’m not sure the author realizes how this makes Arthur look. She’s trying to paint the receptionist as stubborn and rude, and in doing so, Arthur is the one who comes across as such. He looks like an ass who can’t take no for an answer.

Arthur then proceeds to tell the story of the pray-a-thon, and I want you to picture, for a moment, what the receptionist must be thinking.  She has got to be thinking that these people are from Crazy Town. So while we’re probably supposed to interpret her next statement as rudeness, I honestly don’t know how I would respond to being told something like this.

“Holy Spirit talking to you? Do you think you’re a saint or something?”

Nobody talks like this. This is not how real people talk.

“You almost sound convincing,” The young woman reached into her pocket and fingered her rosary.


Finally the woman relents, telling the young men that they should probably see for themselves. I wonder if she isn’t just telling them that so they will stop talking to her. They’ve already been really argumentative, claiming that God spoke to them, and at this point if I were the receptionist I’d probably do anything to get them to shut up and go away.

Victor, one of Arthur’s friends, makes a remark that the receptionist doesn’t seem to believe them. Well no shit Sherlock. Do you have any idea how crazy you sound?

So Arthur and the gang see Pearl and Mrs. Smith tells them what happened. Why we get to hear this, I don’t know, but there is the story in Mrs. Smith’s words, in case we forgot since the last chapter, I guess.

A little after eleven the doctor came out of the operating room and said they couldn’t locate Pearl’s pulse. He said if they operated under such conditions, she’d die at once. All the other systems of her body were functioning normally. He was a most puzzled man, let me tell you…. no one could find a heartbeat for about 10 minutes.”

Ok, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a heartbeat. Pearl was breathing and showing no signs of oxygen deprivation. She was alive, conscious, and aware of her surroundings. If Pearl is breathing, her heart and circulatory system are working. That’s how bodies work.

“When we got back to the room with Pearl, Mrs. Hamilton found her pulse as easy and could be, and so did I.”

It is cannon: Mrs. Hamilton and Mrs. Smith are better pulse finders than the idiot doctors.

In the doctors’ defense, I’m going to say that it might not have been their fault entirely. Nowadays we have sophisticated medical equipment that can monitor pulse and heartbeat. But I live in the 21st century in a 1st world country. But this story takes place in Trinidad in the late 1930s. According to google, Trinidad is now one of the world’s richest countries. Was it so in 1938? I don’t know. Set that aside, because in the 1930s they still would not have had the technology that we do now. And so I can cut them a little slack, but not much.

Professor Smith is now sure that Pearl will be healed. He has Arthur tell Pearl what happened at the school during the pray-a-thon. Arthur does, then says:

“And that’s why I could tell the girl at the desk that you hadn’t had the operation.”

“And she didn’t believe us either,” Aaron said. She wasn’t going to let us see you. Said you wouldn’t be awake yet.”

I wonder if, in real life, this was the extent of the conversation Arthur and the receptionist actually had. The receptionist probably said something like, “that’s quite a story….well, if the doctor says it’s ok, you can see if she’s awake.” Then she probably thought to herself wait till I tell my family about the crazy people I saw at work today.

Again, creative license plus years and years of time have probably obscured a lot of the details.

Professor Smith decides that that’s enough excitement for Pearl, and after a word of prayer they all leave.

Pearl says she feels she’s going to get well now, because she feels different. It’s never actually been stated that she won’t have the surgery. Why on earth they didn’t whisk her back to the OR the minute they found a pulse is just bizarre. Did the specialist be like, “well, fuckit. If I can’t do it at 11 o’clock, I’m not doing it?” Because 11:10 isn’t good enough? the doctor is playing with Pearl’s very life.

As the 4 men walked out through the lobby of the hospital, Arthur couldn’t resist a final word to the young woman at the desk. “She didn’t,” he said and hurried out the door after his friends.

You just couldn’t resist rubbing it in, could you? Dick.


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