"How long have you lived in Providence, Saul?" I asked. He sat on my stretcher, overcoat folded and neatly placed next to him, a copy of The New York Times , also neatly folded on top of that.
"Since 1939," he said as I adjusted the flow on his IV line to a KVO rate. "My mother and sisters left Vienna just before the Nazi's invaded." He must hove noticed when I looked at his wrists where the telltale tatoo was not.
"You must have barely escaped."
"We were lucky. My father had left a year earlier, adult men were in danger, even before the Germans came over the border. A lot of my family was not so lucky. They ended up in the concentration camps."
I let that sink in.
"How are you feeling right now?" I asked.
"A little weak, It started this morning. I had a valve replacement a few months ago."
I checked the monitor and noticed the absence of a p-wave and a few extra bumps where they shouldn't be.
"Your heart is in a disrythmia, nothing serious, for an eighty-four year old who beat Hitler, anyway."
"Let me see."
I printed the EKG and we took a look. I scribbled a normal rhythm on a piece of paper and we compared the two. He was a great student.
"I see things differently, now," said Saul. "Things are black and white. What happened in 1939 could happen now. People haven't changed much over the years."
"I always wondered how a generation and entire country looked the other way."
"They didn't. Many profited from it. There was opportunity, and there are always those who will take it, no matter the cost."
We looked at the printout in silence for a few moments.
"Is it a heart attack?" he asked.
"Nah, think of it like this, your heart needed a plumber when your valve blew, now you need an electrician. I think they might have one waiting at the hospital." He grinned at the analogy.
"You know, this is a beautiful country, a beautiful city. I barely remember Vienna, this is my home. "
"It is rather nice," I had to admit. "And there are good people everywhere." I don't blame him for being skeptical.
"When my father landed in New York City you know what the first thing he did?"
I shrugged my shoulders.
"He bought a copy of The New York Times," Saul lifted his copy to show me. "I still have that paper at home."
I put an oxygen mask over his face.
"This way I get to do all the talking and you have to listen."
He smiled, and laid his head back on the stretcher and rested. The black and white newspaper's headline screamed,
"Osama Bin Laden is Dead"