Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"A Temporary Break In The Action"

I’m home for the moment. They fixed the symptoms that were causing my problems, but they didn’t fix what was causing the symptoms. That’s next. In the meantime, I get a break from the hospital, which was very consummately helpful, in terms of treatment, though as a physical structure, it was somewhat Motel Sixey. I was told the place was built in 1920, to which I immediately snarked “As a hospital? Or what there bowling?” Sometimes, I’m not appropriately grateful.

As a patient, the symptoms you “present” can suggest various causes. To me, my symptoms suggested “acid reflux”, which I’d been told a couple of years earlier I had a mild case of. My symptoms last week, however, weren’t mild. That should have been the tip-off that it wasn’t “acid reflux.” I had trouble breathing when I was lying down. Something else was going on.

You go to the hospital when at least one possibility suggested by the symptoms is serious. That’s why I spent five days there – narrowing down the possibilities. Half of my time was spent in the Intensive Care Unit, which, for me, was efficient and painless, but judging from the sounds emanating from nearby rooms, it seemed more like hell with a bill.

I don’t know about “hospital stories.” They involve other people and I have no right to exploit other people for material. I probably will, but that’s because that’s what I do. I did notice, however, that on my second day in the hospital, I asked Dr M to bring me a pad and a pen. The impulse is definitely there.

To remember.

Though not necessarily to share.

As I await the next phase of my treatment, I will leave you with one observation:

Hospitals are a great place to see women from other countries. (Whom I happen to be partial to.)

If you act particularly needy, you can get a hug.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

Earl, as someone who (knock on Formica) has never been hospitalized, I must ask--does hospital food still suck? I assume it does, otherwise fast food restaurants wouldn't be showing up in hospital buildings. (Is this part of Obama's grand plan, overlooked in the "pull the plug on grandma" argument? Entice hospital patients to sneak junk food into their rooms, in the hope clogged arteries will eventually kill them, thus saving the govt and American taxpayers billions of dollars?). BTW--Ever notice that Cedars Sinai Hospital, for example, has never opened a chain of restaurants?

Does somebody actually "taste" hospital food and sign off on it--"Yum, that salisbury steak that just broke my knife and fork is dee-licious!"--before subjecting patients to it? Shouldn't the person running a hospital kitchen have to take urine AND taste bud tests? (Passing 1 out of two wouldn't be bad; I don't care if they're shooting heroin as long as their food doesn't suck).

Is a hospital cook's only hope of advancement, a job making food for airline flights? (How can you ruin a bag of pretzels?). Oh, and do the workers in hospital kitchens fight over who gets to take home the leftovers at the end of a day?

Earl, what I'm saying is...don't forget your favorite take out restaurant's phone number before you check back into the hospital.

Joe said...

Glad you're back and that you are heeding my exhortation to recover.

Don't stop now.