Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hospital Watching

Ten days ago my mother had surgery. The surgery went well, but the recovery is slow. So she’ll be there for a few more days. It’s been interesting to sit with her and hospital-watch. Some of the hospital personnel are tender and compassionate, and some are there for a paycheck. Sometimes I’ve had to go get a nurse after my mom has called them three times to hook up her drains (one really great nurse showed me how to do it so we don’t have to rely on the bad nurses). Other times a nurse will say, “Would you like me to rub some powder onto your skin so it doesn’t chafe?” I have tremendous respect for the nurses who show such compassion. Thank you!!

Of course, I can’t help but notice all the hospital weirdnesses.

1. This hospital has demon-possessed elevators. One is always going out of order. Today I got in one elevator and it wouldn’t work. The doors wouldn’t close and numbers wouldn’t light up. A male nurse got in the elevator and I said, “Um, this doesn’t work.”  He sighed heavily.  Then he kicked the elevator door joints and smacked the electrical panel. To my surprise, the elevator stared right up. The nurse smiled.
            (I’ve taken the stairs a few times, but they lead through a restricted area so I only use them when I’m ready to scream.)

2. This hospital is a rat’s maze. I even passed a nurse today who was lost. The hospital is made up of at least two wings that were joined up after they were built—the floors don’t always match up.  And, as they say in New England, “You can’t get there from here.”

3. The parking situation is abysmal. There are lots scattered hither and thither without much intersection. So you have to go from lot to lot. But after going to the hospital day after day, I discovered a parking nook. It’s an odd space that seems to be off the beaten track of the parking garage—everyone seems to miss it. And it’s right near the main entrance! In case you’re interested, I’m not telling you where it is.

4. The TV remote controls can’t go backwards. So if you miss your channel, you have to go through 70 channels to get back to the one you wanted.

5. Okay, this is the height of weird. The restaurant in the surgical waiting area has absolutely great coffee—and I’m an unrepentant coffee snob.  I’ve never been to a hospital where they had good coffee.  There’s not much that can’t be ignored with a cup of hot, dark coffee covered by a foam of whipped cream.


  1. YIKES on the hospital weirdness, but YAY! that your mom's surgery went well!

  2. re #5: And here I always thought there was some rule about no good coffee being allowed within a mile radius of a hospital :)

  3. Sweet! Our little hospital in Israel had a great cafe too.

    Yes, it is most sensational to watch people at hospitals:)

  4. Unfortunately it seems like the ratio of good nurses to bad isn't in the patient's favor.

    When my mom had her last hip replacement, the big worry was infection. It was no surprise that she got an infection since we'd have to remind some of the aides to wash their hands before messing with the incision. There were also anti-bacterial dispensers at the door of each room, but no one seemed to bother using them.

    ...and parking...don't get me started...

  5. I wish your mom beterschap!
    Thank goodness for good coffee. It makes all the difference.

  6. Hmmm, kinda sounds like the hospital where I used to work ...

    Good luck with your mother's recovery, and three cheers for good nurses! They more than make up for the bad, but you know, sometimes, the "bad" ones are just good ones who got burned out.

  7. The thing about getting into restricted areas is that you have to act like you're suppose to be there. That'll work most of the time. If you get questioned, just feed them some vague info and let them jump to the wrong conclusions.

  8. Luke, I worry about you a lot. There are certain reasons why restricted areas are, well, restricted.

    But all the same, I hope your mother isn't too put out about the long stay.

  9. Uh...I'm kind of scared of the male nurse. And I think you might have an idea for a story. A possessed hospital...

  10. p.s. Wish your Mom a speedy recovery...