Monday, January 15, 2018

How To Behave In A Hospital

In real life - you've agreed to meet a friend for lunch at the XYZ Café.  You get there first.  When your companion comes waddling in, you have a variety of conversational gambits such as:  "I've always loved the way they potted the ferns along the faux waterfall - so restful looking."  "I hope they still have the dish that I love!"  "Giggle - and I hope Robbie will be our waiter again!  Too gorgeous is all."

In the hospital - unless you are into 40 shades of beige, there is nothing pertinent to say about the décor. What you can see of it anyhow.  Every hospital room I have ever graced with my presence has had the curtains drawn, the blinds sealed shut for a wonderful air of  "You're not going to get out of here - you know that, don't you?  Yes, it's come to this.  A dim meaningless little death, all alone."  

If lunch has been served and the cold, dead, gray remains are just schlumping on the tray, don't bother with any pleasantries about what it could have been.  It - whatever it is - never came close to actually being as it was described on the menu.

Look down, grimace, shake your head sadly and say, "Want me to go  for a Mickey D for you?"
BAD IDEA.  They may be on a restricted diet.  Do not volunteer to bring in food unless you have written permission from medical staff.  Preferably pinned to the front of your sweater/outfit.  The help at MacD's will just assume that you are not an English speaker and carefully beckon you forward to read what to get for you,  smiling reassuringly all of the while.

If other souls, far more generous or careless with their money have sent flowers, do ooh and ahh over them.  If the card reads, "Looking forward to meeting you!  White & Day Mortuary" say nothing at all about the sender.  When the recipient is up and about, plenty of time for that.  Don't bother yourself.

If your patient is looking a little down at the mouth, do not throw yourself onto the mattress with them, laughing maniacally and try to tickle them.  This is a real invasion of personal space and not recommended at all.  Most particularly anywhere in Texas where most adults are armed.

The very hospital setting for a patent's room is a conversation stopper.   It's just too alien.  Your visitor has the opportunity to be out and about, mingling with every day society and what are you going to contribute?   "I had the cutest guy push my stretcher down to X-ray this morning."  Thud.  None of your visitors can top that.

In your own home, you would be hospitable.  In your little beige cubicle just big enough for a bed you have little to offer.  The hospital TV channels are what used to be "real TV" - you turned a dial to change channels.  Ha ha - hollow laugh - they still are.  PBS? ha ha Starz? Gone, all of them gone.  Much like your anticipation of getting out of there.  Roll over, face the wall and go to sleep.  You aren't going to miss anything.  Company won't hesitate to wake you if they show up.  They did go to the trouble to come, you know.

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