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Hospital Hijinks
A Patient’s Memoir
Rick Mulligan

Richardson Publishing, Inc.
March 2019/ ISBN 978-1-935683-20-9
Nonfiction / Memoir / Humor

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern

Being poked, prodded, sliced, and diced by doctors and nurses in the hospital isn’t fun for any patient, but after suffering from three near-death experiences, Rick Mulligan decided to write about it—in a humorous way. From cutting off part of his finger as a boy to surviving bladder cancer as an adult, he recounts numerous medical adventures that are simultaneously funny and sad.

This memoir (although he claims the part about the alien abduction was likely the result of prescribed hallucinogenic drugs) may amplify some of the stories, but apart from the aliens, appears to be based on reality. Much of the humor could be described as sophomoric and sexist, though never misogynistic. For example, he relentlessly teases nurses about cleaning a wound near his nether region, and takes delight in large-breasted nurses attending to him. “An amply endowed young nurse came into my room to check on me and had to reach over me to grab the remote out of my hand under the pillow. In doing so she pressed a couple of D-cups in my face that caused me to wake in a panic thinking I was being smothered by two soft pillows.” That’s one of the tamer references.

An example of this patient’s hijinks includes a prank he played on nurses, which he refers to as “Caddyshack the Sequel.” In this case, he purchased three caramel candies, squashed them together, and then placed them in the water after one of his therapeutic treatments. After telling the nurse it was a bowel movement, he picked up the candy and ate it. The joke was on him, however, when the nurse informed him the water was full of chemicals, dead skin cells, and who knows what else. He didn’t try that particular prank again.

At nearly 100 pages, Hospital Hijinks is a fun and easy read directed primarily at men, although some women with a broad sense of humor might like the antics, as well. Written simply and directly (with sexual references, but little profanity), the book is short enough to be read and enjoyed in a couple of hours.

Reviewed 2019