I’m curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea and my laptop. I just got back from hospital having had some minor surgery. I’m fine, but they hit me with anesthetic and adrenalin during the procedure, so I’m a little wobbly. I think I have an evening in front of the TV to look forward to, which is a pity because some friends are here from out of town and I would have liked to have seen them.
Hospitals are strange places. All roads lead to them. We’re born there, we go there to repair damage, people die there. I’ve never been a fan of them, who is, right? I appreciate what it must take to work in one, the training, the stamina and that little something extra that allows people to function where so many dramatic scenes of life and death take place.
I had a pretty easy day, really. When you think of people with real illnesses and major operations, I’ve had a cushy day. Still, being there got me thinking about some of the other times I’ve been at the hospital. My mother nearly died when I was a 14 year old sophomore in high school. I associate hospitals with the waiting to see if she’d recover, my father wearing down the linoleum in the hallway, a well-meaning if unwelcome priest visiting the room when we weren’t sure what the outcome would be.
My brother had spinal meningitis when he was 8 years old. I was around 5 years old and although I didn’t know what the grown ups were talking about half the time, I could tell by the urgency that things weren’t good. I crawled into the closet of the room my brother and I shared and began to gather his toys. I selected some of his favourites and put them into a shoebox. Wrapping them in ribbon and colouring the box with crayons from my 74 shade box, I handed the improvised gift to my mother for delivery.
When he was out of danger and I was allowed to see him, I was taken to his room in the hospital where he lay in his red dressing gown. He had opened his box of Transformers and matchbox cars and scattered them on the bed. He greeted me and thanked me for the gift of his things.
I’ve been a hospital guest a few times myself (nearly died of pneumonia when I was 16 years old) and what stands out was the care and attention given to me by the doctors and nurses. I also remember my mother smuggling a Burger King burger as soon as my throat opened enough for me to swallow solids.
I guess everyone has a story about hospitals. What’s yours? This can be a painful subject, so tackle it honestly.
Writing Prompt: In the ward