It’s incredible how much of a mess we make on a daily basis – at least in a hospital. I will inevitably find alcohol swabs, or those little white caps to saline flushes, hidden in my hospital bed as I move around during the day. The woman who comes in and mops everyday, we’ll call her Tony, smiles at me as she cleans up the mess the nurses (and I) have made. I have been here so long that we chat as she tidies the room, I notice her new haircut, she adds water to my flowers, and we’ve got a whole routine.
In theory, there should be a time limit to hospital stays – for our sanity, of course. My tolerance has been considerably larger than it perhaps should be; it took about two weeks to feel like I’ve officially lost sight of my ‘real world’ life. My current roomie has been in the hospital all of two days and she told the doctor this morning that she’s feeling a little blue, to which the doctor responded that a hospital will do that. I wanted to yank back the curtain and say, “Excuse me? I’ve been here for two weeks buddy. Calm down.” But of course I didn’t.
There are a few ways that I mark the passing time by – the conversations I have each day with Tony, the advertised television events that come and go, the daily change of my Johnny pants and Johnny shirt (which I wish didn’t look like prison outfits), and the twice daily change of nurses. I’ve had almost every nurse – at least twice – and we stop to have chats in the hallway as I push my IV pole (or my ‘dancing partner’ as one nurse likes to call it) on my little walks. Sometimes, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear time moves backwards.
Currently, there are a few things that amaze me – the non-stop marathon of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’, the apparent obsession with Jim Carrey themed movies, the randomness of my dreams, the totally weird feeling of conscious sedation (I swear I don’t recall doing half the things I did), and the flow of roomies to leave me. I seem to be challenging my original roomie’s record of a three week admission – if they don’t discharge me in the next couple of days, I’m escaping.
Before my latest procedure where they placed a tube down my nose into my small intestine and my two hour wait watching my heartbeat on the monitor, every nurse that came by commented on me being ‘alone.’ I was almost in tears and wanted to ask them if they thought I was unaware of my aloneness, because they sure as anything weren’t helping me feel better. The only nurse that did make me feel better made sure that no one treated me differently because I was young, she didn’t want my age to work against me. Technically, I’m an adult who can make my own decisions. But really, I’m still someone who misses her parents and gets upset and being endlessly poked and prodded.
It can feel like my life is a mess. It can feel like I don’t know where I’m headed or where I’m coming from. This is more than a bump in the road, it’s more like a Mount Everest plopped down on my path, but regardless, I am sure that I will end up on the other side – battered and bruised perhaps, but determined. Letting go of the control is the only option I really have, getting anxious in a hospital bed won’t do anyone any favors.
Saying yes to the mess in the interim means saying yes to success in the long term. Get ready life, here I come.