4 Lessons I’ve Learned About Hospitals
Monday, January 9, 2012 Leave a comment
When it comes to health, I’m not the most fortunate person on the planet. In this year alone I have been to the hospital seven times–four of those times being within the past three weeks. It’s safe to say that I’m a medical mystery, and I’ll probably end up on one of those “Mystery Diagnosis” shows one day. The 2011 holiday season was a bad one for me. I caught a cold, then got the flu a week later, then caught strep throat 2 weeks after that. This is where things took a turn for the shitty. The strep bacteria caused an infection in my tonsils, which the doctors had to slice open to drain the puss out. Not once, not twice, but three times. When the infection came back a fourth time the day after Christmas, the doctors gave the order to just remove my tonsils altogether. So into surgery I went.
I left the hospital the day after the procedure, and the recovery process began…well, sort of. The third day I was home, my tonsils started bleeding uncontrollably. “A little bit of blood is normal, calm down,” my dad kept saying. He finally took me to the ER after two hours of me spitting copious amounts of blood, and swallowing even more. When we got there, they told me that I could have died, and I had to undergo an emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. We left the hospital a day later, and I wasn’t even home for five hours before the bleeding started again. So back to the hospital we went, and I underwent yet another surgery. This time they kept me two days after the procedure, to make sure the bleeding didn’t occur a third time.
Luckily I’m home now, and no bleeding has occurred. And goddammit, I hope that doesn’t jinx it…I’ll kill myself if I have to go through another surgery…but I digress. The past two weeks have given me a lot of experience with hospitals. Here is what I’ve learned:
You Will Not Recover at the Hospital
A hospital is an environment made for healing. However that doesn’t mean you will be able to do so. Everyone knows that the number one way to heal is to sleep as much as you can. Well that’s a damn shame if you’re trying to sleep in a hospital. Even if the nurses close your door or you ask for earplugs, you’re going to be kept awake by the constant banter.
Doors opening and closing, nurses coming in every hour to change your trash or take a blood sample, doctors stopping in the hall to talk very loudly about how delicious their lunch was, and the beeping…OH GOD the beeping. According to my research, there are six hundred billion machines in every hospital, made for the sole purpose of annoying the living fuck out of you. The most vile of these machines is your IV. It will beep offensively loud when it runs out, and it is going to be right when you fall asleep. Every time. I’ve come to the conclusion that hospitals are secretly trying to keep you from sleeping because hospitals are dicks.
Nurses Don’t Care About You
This is kind of a bold accusation, but it bears some truth. As you can imagine, my time at the hospital was complete torture. I couldn’t talk because the swelling in my throat was so severe, I could barely swallow liquids, and the pain was completely unbearable. But I had access to pain medication–which would only last for about an hour before I was in agony yet again. The nurses were kind enough to ask me if I needed anything when they visited me. When I asked for pain meds, they said “Oh yes, I’ll be right back” and then come back fifteen minutes later, and tell me they still don’t have the meds. In one particular case, I asked for a shot of morphine at 1am. My nurse came back to give me the shot at 1:48am. Forty-eight minutes of writhing in pain before finally getting relief. Relief that only lasted for an hour. It was at that point that I began asking for something stronger than morphine, and they gave me dilaudid. It lasted like 20 minutes longer. Then I asked them to just kill me, and they said no. Nurses are so lame.
You Will Begin to Hate Your Friends
I was lucky enough to have wi-fi at the hospital I was
recovering — I mean being tortured at, so I was able to keep up with my social life and play some games on my laptop. I quickly learned that I didn’t like going on Facebook while I was there. People were posting statuses like “Hmmm where should I go eat today?” or “I can’t wait to get home from work and have a beer,” or “Going to the movies, can’t wait!”
My friends were just going through their normal lives, not having to worry about whether or not they’d have to undergo another surgery, and they didn’t need a shot of morphine every 2 hours. They were worried about what to wear to their friends’ VIP birthday party at a club, or how many wins they’d get in beer pong that night. I was tempted to comment on all of their statuses and say “OH YEAH, THAT’S REAL FUCKING COOL THAT YOU’RE NOT STUCK IN A HOSPITAL AFTER HAVING THREE SURGERIES IN FIVE DAYS!! FUCK OFF YOU FUCKING SHIT COVERED DICK CUNT BITCH WHORE BASTARD!!!” But then I realized that it’s not their fault I was in this horrible situation. But I still despised them for not having any real problems.
You’ll Be A Happier Person Once It’s Over
At the time I write this, I’m still recovering. I’m still gaining back the twenty pounds I lost within two weeks, and I still have about a week before I can return to work and go about life normally. But I feel SO MUCH BETTER than I did several days ago. It’s mostly because of the miracle drugs they sent me home with, but I’m actually healing as well. Today I woke up and felt like things were getting better for me. I had text messages from seven different people, asking how I was feeling. My aunt sent me a copy of Batman: Arkham City as a get well present. My dad woke me up to give me some soup he’d just made for me. My step mom bought me a bunch of Star Wars puzzles and games to keep me occupied.
I realized something: people actually care about me. Sure, I’d gone through three weeks of agony, but I’m alive, and I’m getting closer to being the guy who posts statuses about beer pong and food on Facebook. And all it takes is a near-death experience (or two, in my case) for you to realize that people actually care, and life is fucking awesome. So if you begin to feel like you’re in a rut, you should get really sick and undergo a few surgeries within a week, and you’ll be happy as hell once you’re done with it all. It’ll do more for your depression than years of psychiatry will ever do. In your FACE, Prozac!