May 8, 2009 by skwishface
Recently, after having my baby, I was hospitalized a couple of times for several days each. Being an adult of reasonable intelligence with a fairly active mind, I learned a thing or two during my stay. I share them now with you, oh internet, because I know you care.
1. When your doctor visits your hospital room unexpectedly, unannounced by your nurse hours ahead of time, it is never a good thing. Doctors are the rock stars of the hospital. They come and go as they please and the show can’t start till they get there. Having your doctor randomly visit you is like having GWAR show up at your church picnic – a complete surprise that is going to get real ugly real quick.
2. When the doctor’s orders state that you are to have “nothing by mouth” nobody … nobody … will feed you. Anything at all. Not even so much as a sip of water.
3. When those doctor’s orders change from “nothing by mouth” to “clear liquids only”, you will munch chips of ice and drink beef broth for breakfast … AND YOU WILL LOVE IT.
4. A good nurse is a godsend. A footsoldier in the medical army whose competence and honest caring are an immense comfort to their patients. Medical crises involve alot of seriously undignified activities that a good nurse will undertake with a calm efficiency that eliminates any embarassment the patient may suffer. There were times when I couldn’t even move my own body into a new position in my bed, let alone insert my own suppositories or bathe myself. Good nurses did all of these things for me with maximum comfort and minimum humiliation. A bad nurse can make your hospital stay a living hell. Pray that you get a good one when the shift changes. Complain to the good one about the bad one, so that some other poor sap patient doesn’t have to suffer as you did.
5. Hospital gowns only pretend to close in the back. No matter how you try to protect your modesty, any movement at all will cause the gown to gleefully fling itself wide and expose your back parts to the open air. This can be prevented, however, by wearing a second gown backwards, like a robe. You end up looking like a pile of tacky bedsheets, but at least you can walk around without leaving crowds of offended folk in your wake.
6. Do not abuse the nurse call button. If you’re in pain or something equally urgent, go ahead and call. If all you need is a glass of water, you can wait until your nurse comes to visit you. If you hit the button by accident, apologize immediately.
7. Intensive Care is precisely that. They care for you, intensively. At most, you will share your nurse with one other patient. There is a window into your room through which various nurses and doctors will stare at you, all the time, around the clock. At no point will you be without constant observation. Luckily, you’re too sick to notice how creepy this is.
8. All hospital food needs salt.
9. If a member of the medical staff asks you if you are a “hard stick”, they’re not being euphemistically dirty. They’re not being literal, and asking if you are personally a part of a tree limb. They’re asking about your veins. A “hard stick” is someone who has bad veins and will be difficult to get blood samples from or insert an IV in. If you have good veins, don’t worry about this. If you have bad veins, prepare to leave the hospital with more injection site bruises than a smack junkie.
10. Anything in your hospital room that is not nailed down is yours to keep. Plastic tubs, mesh undies, bandages, pads, latex gloves, plastic water pitchers, whatever – take it all home with you. Your insurance company has been charged for it already, so you might as well keep it. After what you’ve been through, you might as well get a consolation prize out of it, even if that prize is just a bag full of hospital flotsam that you’ll throw away in a week.
Baby is just fine, and I’m mostly recovered. Ya know, in case you were curious.