Any day is a good day when you go to the hospital in the morning for a procedure and actually leave the afternoon. Apparently, a lot of folks are not as fortunate.
So the good news is that I’m home today, and slept in my own bed last night. But that doesn’t mean the Muggle Medical Personnel didn’t make it interesting for me while I visited their domain.
First, you have to admit, they’ve got all of us beat in the Clotheshorse Department. What I wouldn’t give to wear clogs, baggy pants, and mult-colored smocks all day! They all look so carefree and comfortable while they are busy jamming you with sharp objects and confirming for the tenth time when and what you last ate.
“Yes, I’m being truthful. It was popcorn at 7:00 p.m. I thought it was okay.”
I tried to figure out if there was some kind of rhyme or reason associated with the medical togs. Sadly, I discovered there was none, as the most senior doctor dressed the same way as the lowliest orderly — and they all looked so damned comfortable!
Second, pretty much everyone in the place who is not a patient is somewhere between 12 and 15 years old.
“Where did you get you undergraduate degree?” I joked with one of the orderlies, thinking he hadn’t yet finished grade school.
“UT-Austin, then my residency in Dallas, and now I’m here,” he replied.
Clearly I was in the presence of some type of super-race of uberexcelling children, because this guy looked younger than my eleven year old. If that’s the case, I thought, then why isn’t my eleven year old already practicing medicine?
Sedation will do that to you.
Third, there is no sound-proofing anywhere, which can be unsettling. There I lay, post-procedure, trying to figure out why my shoulder hurt so much when the operative incision was nowhere in the same vicinity. I spied a guy who had a purposeful look wandering around the unit examining charts. At first I thought he was some kind of doctor, but he was dressed too uncomfortably for that role. The next thing I knew he was talking to the old dude in the slot next to me — we were really only separated by a curtain, so I heard mostly everything he said.
“We have to live with our choices,” he advised this guy, in a very soothing voice.
“I know,” came the reply. “I’m not afraid of death.”
Whoa! What’s going on here? Guys, I’ve got a sore shoulder. Let’s not get my mind wandering.
“You know, alcoholics like us have to learn to experience pain, without help.”
Again, guys, I’ve got some pain going on here, without the benefit of alcohol. Can you try to be more pleasant?
The conversation went along in that vein for awhile, and eventually they wrapped it up and made a point to get together again real soon. My hope was that I would not be the next one in line to be visited and, thus, become entirely bummed out. After all, the hospital promised me lunch after the procedure, and I was anxiously looking forward to water and jello.
As it turned out, I did receive a sumptuous feast of Saltines, jello, ramen soup, a muffin, tea, and water. It was freaking awesome because I was so hungry.
And I didn’t have to talk to anyone regarding my thoughts on the Hereafter — exactly how do you high five a thousand angels? I’m gonna find out! I’m not sure how that’s going to go over with the resident counselors.
And finally, there has to be a downside to all of this, right? Of course there is, as no good deed goes unpunished in my world.
Not long after eating my wonderful meal, I felt the need to visit the Necessary Room.
“Nurse, may I use the restroom?”
Turns out the Muggle Doctor who performed the procedure on me is a stickler for post-operative protocol.
“The doctor’s orders state you need four hours in the bed, no exceptions.”
I mean the restroom is all of ten paces away.
“If you really, really need to go, here’s a container. We’ll close the curtains for privacy.”
Missy, I’ve got news for you. That container ain’t big enough to hold what’s coming down the pike.
In the end, I managed to hang on until I received my bed release, so I felt doubly wonderful when I finally managed to leave the hospital just a bit later.
The next adventure was driving home with Wife and Daughter Number Two, and in a stunning case of role reversal, I was able to comment the entire time on my Wife’s driving habits as we sped along.
A short time later, after stopping for foo-foo coffee, she asked me if I would like to drive the rest of the way.
Of course I answered in the affirmative. Sweet.