Dad

Who needs a/c when you have fake hips?

hipMy Dad worked in the biomedical engineering department of a hospital for my entire pre-adult life. That department was responsible for A LOT of things relating to hospital equipment and tools, but one of the “perks” was that they also tended to be privy to the waste from the hospital because there’s tons of tools/equipment you can’t just put in the garbage can when you don’t want/need it anymore.

And – as my Dad would always joke – he was the only one in the department without a wife at home telling him he couldn’t bring home stuff to play with, so! Our house was full of weird/interesting/unusual items rescued from certain death at the hospital. At one point in time the bookends in our living room were a radon detector and a microscope. He had a tool used in surgeries (an old one getting replaced by something new) to grab things – imagine a tiny trash grabber like they use on the side of the highway – that he kept in the kitchen. “What was it for?” you might ask. Well! It was a drawstring retrieval system, of course! When he would lose his drawstring in his sweatpants that thing was PERFECT to get it out.

So, yeah. Weird stuff in our house. We didn’t have central heat or a/c but DAMMIT…We had discarded blood pressure cuffs!

He really didn’t like seeing things that could be used, going to waste. He build pieces of furniture out of the good wooden shipping boxes some of the more expensive equipment would come in. He used bilirubin light bulbs that still worked but didn’t fit new machines, IN OUR HOUSE. We had one in our kitchen that served as a nightlight. A nurse friend of mine joked once, “Did all the jaundiced babies hang out in your kitchen?” He had TONS of interesting things he would try to make useful, or even sometimes just bring home to play with or save because he thought SOMEDAY! Someday this will come in handy!

Of course, when our house flooded in 1993 (don’t ask why/how) it became a water-logged disaster. He rented one of those bins to throw everything away in (after putting the roof on the house too) and the guys that came to pick up the bin spent hours digging through it first because it was filled with some of the CRAZIEST SHIT.

The fake hips/shoulders were the best. He had several of those. They all are marked “demo” or “display” so I’m assuming it was something a doctor used to explain the item to a patient, but who knows why they were getting thrown out or replaced. Either way, my Dad thought they were WAY too cool to go to the garbage. My brother has several of them and actually built a really awesome light out of them. I kept one. And it stays on my “Dad” shelf. I keep waiting for the one day someone comes over and says, “Wait. Is that a fake hip on that shelf?”

Yes. Yes it is. What do you ask?

2 thoughts on “Who needs a/c when you have fake hips?”

  1. Ooo! All of those items sound like great conversation starters. Have you ever seen the show Oddities? They always have cool antique versions of medical items. Admittedly, some are more bizarre (and occasionally, blush-worthy).

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