The Long Awaited Part II: “Hospital” is the antonym for “Rest,”

The Long Awaited Part II: “Hospital” is the antonym for “Rest,”

Okay, so this is where we ended last time. Quick recap:

Not a stroke!

Not cancer!

Just a lot of unnecessary sleep deprivation. A LOT.

Let me tell you a little bit about hospital beds…they are not meant to sleep on. They are simply plastic bags filled with ghouls and goblins that jump around all night long. The theory is, according to hospital officials, all of this movement underneath the patient prevents bedsores, but I’ll take bedsores over being tossed into the air all night long anytime.

The thick blue laminate on the mattress causes spa-like sweating. So, the natural thing to do is toss off the blankets, turn over, and now the sweaty part of the patient’s gown is exposed to the air. Let the tossing and turning, freezing and burning begin.

Then with each turn, the motors that are inside the mattress shift without warning. Yes, the nurses know all this is happening but that doesn’t seem to prevent them from longing to come in every 30 seconds to draw blood or take blood pressure or give a shot or turn on the light or talk right out loud to each other.

“So what are you and David doing this weekend?”

“Oh, I don’t know. How about you and Buddy?”

“I don’t know if Buddy and I are going to do anything. That’s my dog, you know. My husband’s name is Dustin.”

“So what are you and Dustin going to do this weekend?”

(Now I’m awake and fully alert and not interested at all in what Dustin or anybody else is doing over the weekend. I just want to go to LA-LA-LAND for a few hours.)

“Hi Mr. Wilcox. This won’t take long. Would you skootch over here just a little bit— I’m going to take your blood pressure. Now, Mr. Wilcox, honestly nobody on God’s green earth wants to know what your blood pressure is at 1:00 in the morning but I have to take it anyway. And while we’re here we need to take some blood to get your, uh, gas levels.” (Yeah I’d like to give you one of my gas levels right now.)

“Mr. Wilcox, I need to give you a shot in your tummy.” (How old am I? Five)

“Why?” I pleaded.

“You’ll have to ask your doctor. I just do what’s printed on the chart.”

“Well, do I have rabies or something?”

“I don’t believe so, Mr. Wilcox. It’s just that sometimes we run out of things to bother our patients with, so we poke them in the stomach with really sharp needles.”

“Okay do it and get it over with and get out of here. A man’s gotta sleep you know.” And before I knew it, it was time for the whole process to recur–three more times.

Just when they stopped waking me up, the sun started to come through the unclosed blinds. (That term, “blinds,” truly applies when they are unclosed.)

End of nightmare one. Two more nights to go.

During the day, it was a little more peaceful in the room. Cafeteria breakfast. Cafeteria lunch. Cafeteria dinner. And luckily, snacks sneaked into the room. My wife possesses great nursing skills.

Meanwhile, of course, real doctors came in for surreal conversations, which truly did include,
“… six months to live,” “stage four brain cancer,” and my favorite, “just kidding!”

On the third night I asked the nurse in charge to stay out of my room, and that included all of her little minions, for the rest of the night so I could get some sleep and recover 90 percent of
what I needed to go home the next day. And lo and behold, she passed the word.

And I slept. And I felt better. And I went home. And I got better. Thanks for asking.

(Truthfully, though, those nurses were awesome.)

[author image=”” ] Prof. Jim Wilcox, Guest Contributor
Prof. Wilcox has taught at SNU for 35 years and still loves it. Seriously.[/author]