The last time I remember being in the hospital for certain, was the night before my younger sister died unexpectedly 12 years ago. She passed a blood clot to the lung. They told me she was doing fine and improving, and the next afternoon she was dead. I never wanted to step into another hospital after that. Partly because of fear, and partly because I blamed them for her death.
An extreme case of cellulitis caused my right leg to swell double the size of my left leg, and was not responding to antibiotics. This sent me to the hospital for my unexpected and unwelcome stay.
The first thing you realize is, this is not your bed or your pillows. Next, you realize you won’t be getting any sleep let alone any rest. IV’s that need to be checked periodically, visits from Doctors , Nurses, CNA’s, X-ray techs, respitory therapy, and copious amounts of blood being drawn for numerous tests round out your day. Sandwiched inbetween are meals, potty breaks and pain medication. Breathing treatments, lab work, or vitals taken at 3a.m. is just icing on the cake.
The Nurses and CNA’s(certified nursing assistants) were attentive and kind. Of course, my wing on the floor was quite empty, so I had lots of attention. What was really surprising was that the food was quite good.
There is also a paradox that exists in the hospital. In some ways, when you are removed from your room for various testings, you cease to be a person and become a nameless patient. You are expected to “perform” in the manner that every other patient that ever entered that area has performed in the past. You are expected to be able to get up on a gurney, or an x-ray table despite any physical disabilities or handicaps you might have, whether illness-induced or normal for you. I am partly handicapped, cannot stand, walk very short distances with a walker and had the infection in my leg and the extreme swelling which put me in the hospital. Despite that, I was asked to get up on an x-ray talbe which happened to be about 4 1/2 feet tall. When I questioned how I was supposed to do that supernatural feat, the nurse said, “Can’t you just climb up there?” She then seemed surprised that this was out of the realm of my physical abilities. You would think they would be apprised of your physical abilities or lack thereof before you are brought into their domain.
My stay was full of fear of the unknown, and a roller coaster of emotions. It is difficult to stay positive when you are so overwhelmed with unexpected changes, dire prophecies for the future, and your sometimes inability to adapt to the changes as they come.
I must say, I am impressed with those who have learned to stay positive and full of hope during long-term medical treatment. They have a strength of character I struggled to find. Perhaps being blessed with good health prevented me from learning to be a patient patient. My hospital stay was only Tuesday through Friday, but in some ways, it seemed endless. I pray I don’t have to visit again anytime soon.