Thursday, March 26, 2015


In the hell of hospital land, you can go for days without seeing a doctor. You can go for days without finding out anything at all. Does my mother have pneumonia that's a result of a virus or bacteria? Or is the fluid from congestive heart failure on a little vacation visiting her lungs? I don't know. Here on day four in hospital land, I'm willing to say, I might never know.

Here in hôpital land, if you're 90 and weak and arthritic, you could starve trying to open your little packets of butter, jam, mayo, mustard, ketchup, sugar, coffee creamer, the lid on your coffee, juice, your carton of milk. Where the hell are all of the school kids who need to log volunteer hours? Get over here with your lithe and nimble fingers. Please.

Here in hospital land, they give you menus for your next day's meals and no pencils. They give you plastic devices to cough phlegm into without opening the package and assembling the thing.

So I'm here in hospital land. Visiting with my nimble fingers and my purse full of pencils. For every meal, I'm here. (Not going anywhere near the phlegm thing.) Camped out. Keeping vigil. Somewhere in this damned place, there's a doctor. I'm sure of it.

The plastic owl on the rooftop and I are waiting.


Katy (Taxmom) said...

Ugh you are doing your time in purgatory (or secular waiting area of your choosing). Come to think of it, a suspended period of time opening little plastic packets for someone while waiting for professional guidance is an apt metaphor for purgatory. It's almost like you're a writer or something.

Ms. Moon said...

I just finished listening to an essay Ann Patchett wrote about helping to tend her grandmother in her nineties. I thought of you.
Is she on antibiotics? That would indicate bacterial although of course they may be giving her antibiotics prophylactically.
Hospitals will kill you. As you know. And yet- what are the alternatives if you are not actively dying?
I do not know.

37paddington said...

Oh my Lord, this I know all too well. I hope you and your mom escape back home soon.

Anonymous said...

What Ms. Moon said. I believe the answer is to avoid hospitals if at all possible and if unavoidable, then get the diagnosis and prescription as quickly as possible and then get out while you can. Up here in Canada, hospitals have Patient Relations Managers that can be very helpful expediting things if need be. Hospitals are no place for the old. Or the sick for that matter.


Elizabeth said...

Well, you know how I feel about hospitals. I hope ya'll get out soon.