The Hospital Stay

Posted on January 18, 2017




Life in the Boomer Lane has a close friend who picks atypical places for her normal life events. She fell in love with someone who was living in her basement, then married him in the winner’s circle at Monmouth racetrack. Not to be outdone by these diversions from the norm, she has just had an unusual location for a hospital stay.

We’ll call her “Judy” since that is her name. Judy contacted the flu about 10 days ago. She didn’t know she had the flu, only that she felt strange (meaning, even stranger than normal) and had lost her appetite for a week. The lack of food brought her sodium count down, and that had her feel even stranger. A trip to a walk in clinic didn’t improve her situation. She drove herself to the nearest hospital, and after the obligatory hours-long wait, her low sodium count and accompanying spike in blood pressure resulted in her being admitted.

She was put into a double room, in the bed nearest the door. Another patient was in the room, with the curtain drawn. Judy whiled away the hours being given antibiotics and numerous tests.

On the second night she was there, people began coming into her room and heading for the other bed. Most seemed to be in great distress. Sobbing and wailing ensued. After awhile, there were too many people in the closed off area, and so the next group of visitors ended up in Judy’s space. By now, Judy was becoming concerned, especially since she didn’t know what was going on and so couldn’t console the sobbers properly.

She eventually learned that the other bed was occupied by an 86-year-old terminally ill woman, whose family had been called into the hospital to decide whether to shut off her life support. Apparently, this was a large family of highly emotional people. Judy found herself becoming more and more agitated, and failing to employ what she had learned in the intensive positive psychology course she had taken just the week before.

Judy called the nurse and implored to be taken to another room. The nurse told her that she was already due to be relocated and not to worry.  Judy hugged the group of family members of the soon-to-be-deceased and wished them well.  They thanked her for the positive psychology tips she had given them. Within minutes, her bed, along with all of her IV equipment, was being rolled out into the hallway. She immediately relaxed.

The bed passed by all of the patient rooms, turned the corner, and headed for an area that Judy was unfamiliar with. The bed went through a set of double doors and Judy felt it come to a stop. She looked around and told the nurse there must be an error. The room looked like a gym. The nurse agreed and said that was because it was the physical therapy room. Judy asked why she was there, and the nurse explained that there was no other room for her. The following conversation ensued , with some artistic license by LBL:

There is no bedside table. Or phone. Or little box of tissues. 

There is a paper towel machine over there by the elliptical. And a hand sanitizer machine near the leg press. You’re lucky to have those. The machines and medicine balls take up all the rest of the space.  We could barely fit your bed in.

There is no buzzer. What if I have an emergency?

I’ll bring you a bell. Or you can yell for the trainer, when he arrives in the morning.

Is there nothing else in here I can use?

There is a TV on that wall across from you. Look up high, at the ceiling.

Where is the remote?

There is no remote.

How can I turn the TV on?

You can’t. But don’t worry, It tuns on automatically when patients come in to use the treadmill.

What am I supposed to do when people are in here exercising?

You can watch TV. Just try not to get hit by the medicine ball.

I think I’d like to go to sleep now. 

Good idea. I’ll bring you the bell, and then turn off the lights.

How about all those blinking lights across from me?

Those are on the exercise machines. We can’t control them.

Where’s the bathroom?

Oh my, that’s a problem. Maybe I can bring you a larger bell.