Over the past 12 months, I have been to the hospital more often than I would like. My step dad had a heart attack, my sister had complications for a very large and rare kidney stone (as story for another day) and my grandma (who never smoked a day in her 86 years) is slowly deteriorating from lung cancer. Monday night, I was once again at the hospital. Long story short, grandma lost consciousness for a moment while out to lunch, so mom took her to the emergency room as a precaution.
I dislike hospitals more than anyone on the planet. I know when you’re sick they are “the best place for you” just like we tell our loved ones, but I really hate them. I don’t even like going there for good reasons, like when friends have babies, or when some one is “being released”. Have you ever noticed the terminology the use “being released” Why? Because a hospital is like a prison where drugs are allowed, the doctors are the ones doing the shanking, and insurance companies are making you their bitch.
Inmates Patients are always moaning, bleeding, or spontaneously vomiting (which of course makes me want to spontaneously vomit as well). There are always machines beeping: heart monitors, IVs, oxygen, and neither the visitor nor the person hooked up to it, knows if it is a good beep or a bad beep. Even worse, when inmates patients wear those prison hospital issued (and oh-so-fashionable) gowns, some how I am always the one who hits the hospital lotto, and gets an eye full of ugly from the patient what hasn’t tied up the back! With all the different friends and family I have visited, in all the different hospitals i’ve paid to park at, not one of their doctors ever looked like Dr. Doug Ross on ER (George Clooney), Dr. Derek Shepard aka McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy (Patrick Dempsey), or even Dr. Jack Shepard on LOST (Matthew Fox).
My friend, Fat Bottomed Girl, recently blogged about her pains of being west-coast based while her aunt is battling cancer on the east coast. (*Side note, I gave her a bit of inspiration with my post “Maybe I’m Half Crazy Too”; she is now training for the San Jose 1/2 marathon! You should totally read her blog and cheer her on). As if being on a different coast isn’t challenging enough, my co-worker’s sick father is on a different CONTINENT! My co-worker and his lovely wife (who reads my blog and sends him to work with delicious gulab jamun treats to share with me. THANK YOU!) are settled here in the states, along with his brother and his brother’s family, who live in NJ; while his parents are in India and his sister is in New Zeland. His brother recently flew back to India to check on their father a few weeks ago. However their father has once again gone back in to the hospital, so it is now my co-worker’s turn to fly home and take care of things. It is very challenging on all of them.
For me, being so close to my family is both a blessing and a curse (even when everyone is healthy!). You get to be right there in the thick of things supporting your loved ones and making sure they are getting the best care. On the other hand you get to be right there in the thick of things being responsible and dealing with the emotional and mental strain attached to it. I’m pretty good in a crisis situation. I keep pretty calm, ask questions, take charge when necessary to make sure that we get what we need, and I always have an escape plan if it comes to that (Jimmy Whispers agreed to be the get away driver if I had to break my sister out during her kidney stone
incarceration hospital stay). My control freak nature comes in handy in situations like these. Only when I know that everything is being taken care of, do I allow myself to buckle under the emotional stress of it all. Regardless of all the hullabaloo that I despise so much at the hospital, I am extremely grateful that I can get there so quickly.
Photo Credit – By http://www.flickr.com/photos/greencolander/ [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons