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The Hospital Blues

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Hospital experiences

Have you ever had to be in a hospital?

I'm not talking about visiting a sick friend or an injured relative.

I mean have you, personally, ever needed the services of a hospital?

If your answer is no, consider yourself fortunate. If your answer is yes, consider yourself fortunate. Wait a minute, isn't that contradictory? Nope, it isn't. If your answer was no, then you've been fortunate to be healthy. If your answer was yes, then you were fortunate to have the availability of a hospital, as the alternative can be pretty gruesome. The word death springs to my mind.

Now, when I say fortunate, I do not mean pleasant or enjoyable, far from it. There are aspects of being in a hospital that can be accepted as necessary, such as bed pans if you're not ambulatory, but do they have to store them in a freezer?

And I'll never again believe that diamond is the hardest substance known. Have a cold, hard, enamel bed pan placed beneath you in the middle of the night and you'll realize what the word hard means. This action is usually accomplished by the the prettiest, sexiest nurse on the whole staff, the one you've been scheming to lure into a closer association. For some reason this negates your aspirations.

I could do at least a half page on undersized urinals but it would quickly become very distasteful to some of the more fastidious readers so I'll leave that to your imagination.

One of the most important facts you should know is hospitals are not designed for your personal dignity. If you have any, leave it at home or get ready for it to be utterly destroyed.

What do I mean, you ask? Have you ever seen what is euphemistically called a hospital gown? You would think that if they were going to give you a garment for you to wear temporarily it would open in the front. That's where any doctor or nurse is going to want access to check your heart, lungs, possibly your stomach or even your groin area, and for women the breasts.

I am certain these gowns were designed by a proctologist. Who else would want unfettered access to your gluteus maximus? How he snookered the rest of the medical industry to go along with this is another medical mystery.

These articles can be unfavorably compared to a straight jacket. At least you can figure out how the straight jacket should be worn. I wish to say that I have no personal experience in this, but some of my wife's relatives, uh,......maybe I shouldn't go there.

Anyway, the “gowns.” When presented with one of these for the first time you put it on sensibly, opening in front. Oh, no no, you are quickly advised you have it on backwards, and are quickly assured that no, it's not a joke. So, trying to be a good patient, you reverse it, and immediately notice a draft where usually the sun don't shine.

If there is a helpful staff person in the vicinity and you ask them, they will advise you there are strings you tie to close it. Here is where the comparison to a straight jacket comes in as the human anatomy does not allow anyone but a contortionist to find, and then put, the strings in their proper place. If you have assistance. and are able to. you will find these strings are made of the same substance that coats non-stick cookware. They will not stay tied for even an Eagle Scout.

You are then led on a mile long journey to X ray or some other procedure. This must be done in the most crowded corridors in the whole edifice. You find yourself waddling along in those little cloth slippers with your hands behind your back trying to hold the “gown” closed, to no avail. If you are a little larger than most this will plaster the fabric to your front, showing your other attributes in relief.

Let us touch on hospital food. You are presented with a menu with all the elan of a French maitre de and told you can order your meals from it at almost any time of the day or night. It's a beautiful thing to behold, with pictures of delicious looking entrées and snacks.

Then you read the fine print. All the ones that your mouth was watering over are not allowed on your restricted diet. Those are only available to the healthiest people, none of whom are now patients. Almost all of the other items are fine if you're a vegan or a rabbit.

Now, for heaven's sake, If you do need a hospital, by all means, go. It's not all bad. The vast majority of the doctors, nurses, and other personnel are committed to your health and well being. They are some of kindest most caring people anywhere. Then there are the exceptions.

Do not, I repeat, do not make an enemy of one. There are some people that are chronic complainers. Being one will not get you better food, a nicer bed, a non snoring room mate, but if you are sweet and kind, and take into account that they don't have an easy job you might gain some of these things.

Because I am of a sweet, kind nature myself, I was able to con, uh, talk someone into some of these things.

I have had the misfortune of running into one of the exceptions. I am sure that one of her progenitors was the Marquis De Sade, her father was A Marine Corp drill instructor and her mother a dominatrix.

She is the one who would awaken me at two AM to give me a sleeping pill she had supposedly forgotten. Then fifteen minutes later, when I had fallen into a deep slumber, come in to poke me in the arm for a blood draw. Do they have vampires on duty that need blood at such an hour?

Have you ever seen those plastic bags they hang over the bed and run a tube into your arm? I asked once what was in the bag, the nurse said a saline solution. I asked her why they didn't just give me a salt tablet and a glass of water? I never did get an answer. I had more tubes and gadgets hooked up to me you would have thought I was an experiment of some kind.

They're all hooked up to gages and monitors behind your head so you can't see them, I guess. I remember lying there one night hearing this low beep, beep, beep. I took my pulse and found out it was my heartbeat, which sort of reassured me that someone was watching over me. Then it abruptly stopped beeping. Panic time! I did take my pulse again to find it about twice as fast as previously. Who's the idiot that shut that off? They almost had another heart patient.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture I'm sure. It's not fun, but it beats the alternative all to hell.

One last thing. You could go in there for a dislocated thumb, but when you leave you have to go in a wheelchair. Go figure.

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