Pert’ Near

Doing admit vitals on a new patient one night, an elderly man with twinkling eyes, long hair, and a Santa Claus beard, I asked him how tall he was. “Pert’ near tall as you are,” he replied, looking up at me from where he lay on the hospital bed. “I’m six two,” I said. “Is that how tall you are?” “Pert’ near,” he nodded, then clarified for me, “I’m five six and a half.”

I guess, depending on your perspective, that a gap of seven and a half inches could qualify as “pretty near.” Maybe the important thing is not so much how tall you are as how tall you feel.

David would agree. David is a nurse I work with, a really good guy. He’s probably a full five foot four, if he really stretches. Scott, another nurse on our floor (another good guy!), is around six foot four, so there’s quite a contrast.

One night I overheard David answering a phone call to the unit. The caller wasn’t sure of the name of the nurse he wanted to speak with. “A male nurse?” asked David. “I’m David, I’m one of the male nurses on the unit.” He listened for a moment, then said “Oh, the tall one?” Just the faintest tinge of plaintiveness crept into his voice, as he continued, “Well, I’m tall on the inside…”

Yep. Pert’ near as tall as Scott, he is! On the inside.

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