BOSTON—Though injured New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has only been in the hospital for five days, doctors, nurses, support staff, and fellow patients told reporters Thursday that the extremely passionate and determined Welker has already annoyed the hell out of everyone.
"That guy is just the worst," Welker's orthopedic surgeon Dr. Henry Myles said after a diagnostic checkup Tuesday. "He suffers a torn MCL and ACL in his left knee, he can barely walk, and he just keeps saying things like, 'When am I going to get back in there, doc?' and 'Just tape it up, I'll be fine.' This whole obsession with showing us how intense and driven he is 24 hours a day really has to stop."
"I get it, okay? The guy has a lot of heart," Myles added. "But yesterday we had to put him in restraints because he wouldn't stop trying to do jumping jacks. And before we could sedate him, his screams of 'I'm a competitor!' woke up the entire wing."
As of press time, Welker had not made a single friend at Massachusetts General. Although the wideout's attitude has been celebrated by sportswriters and fans alike as scrappy and overachieving, hospital personnel have described him as "exhausting," "intolerable," and "the most infuriating little cocksucker ever to walk God's green earth."
Even children in the hospital's cancer ward were irritated by Welker's Tuesday morning visit.
"The short man kept telling me to keep fighting and not to give up," said Jackie Geddings, 8, a leukemia patient in the hospital's pediatric ward. "I got extra tired talking to him and telling him over and over I was working hard and that he didn't have to cut off his hair and give it to me. I don't think he knew I was trying to take a nap."
"He's everywhere," one doctor said of the 5-foot-9 All-Pro receiver, adding that the mere sight of Welker's face fills him with rage. "If he's not trying to get patients up at 6 a.m. to do physical therapy with him, he's giving unwanted nutritional advice to diabetics or hovering over ER doctors during critical triage sessions. I really hope one of these days he comes over to the trauma ward so I can lay him out cold."
Welker told nurses Wednesday that, although his injury will keep him out of the playoffs, it shouldn't hinder his ability to help the hospital be the best it can be. He has offered to fill in anywhere he is needed, be it on the cafeteria staff or in the operating room.
"I consider myself a very patient person," hospital janitor Mike Clemens said. "But Mr. Welker has pushed me to my limit. He told me that my mopping routes were sloppy, and that if I maybe showed a little more heart out there I could get a few more crucial feet out of each swab."
"What a prick," Clemens added. "Seriously, what a fucking little prick."
Welker's hospital roommate, 52-year-old Aaron Kramer, requested a room transfer after spending just one night with the two-time Pro Bowler. Kramer said he was unable to sleep due to Welker shouting "Woo!" after every SportsCenter highlight, a nuisance that became increasingly excruciating as Welker did the same through all five of the show's overnight repeats.
Teammates who have visited Welker have left his hospital room visibly aggravated, often rolling their eyes, muttering to themselves, or saying things like, "Thank God that's over."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has yet to make a trip to the Boston hospital, but said Monday that Welker had already left him more than 150 voice mail messages that alternated between tearful apologies for getting injured and personal pleas for Belichick not to forget about him while he's away.
"Apparently he read an article where I said that the team would evolve without him," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told reporters after visiting Welker. "I had to assure Wes that didn't mean I thought the team was better off without him or that I didn't like him personally."
"I don't, though," Brady said. "Not hard to see why not. Jesus, if that mouthy little fucker didn't manage to get open so often I think I would have punched him in the face years ago."