The Hospital Vacation

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An unexpected vacation came my way last week via a trip to the local emergency room when I experienced severe pain radiating from my shoulder down to the tips of my puffy fingers. The ER receptionist immediately had me whisked away in a wheelchair for a cardiac work-up, (not a recommended way to beat the line, but it was nice not have to wait!) The orderly swished me by all the cubicles so fast I did not have time to be nosy and glance in to see what everyone else’s commotion was about. The thing about the ER is that is houses REAL people with all their unglamorous appeal. No high heels or make-up. Unruly hair which obviously had not seen a comb in some time. Morning crustiness still in the eyes, line of drool down the side of the mouth. Bra-less, face contorted into an ugly grimace of pain, posture slumped over..and that was just ME, I could only imagine what everyone else looked like!

Once admitted to the cardiac ward, the nurses got right to work hooking me up to all kinds of do dads and thing a ma jigs. Their cheerfulness belied the seriousness of their work. I was comforted not only by their reassurance but also by the toasty, warm blanket that soon enveloped my body. Once the morphine took away the pain, I was a happy camper and willing test participant. Wheee! Off with another orderly for another test. Lay still like a sardine in a tiny metal tube while it sounded like the room was crashing all around me? Piece of cake. Electrodes super glued to my breasts? No problem, I wasn’t using them anyway. X-rays this way and that? Show me how to pose. (Those 5 modeling classes I took as a gawky teen finally came in handy!) Then there was the added adventure of being maneuvered, gurney and all, back to my room, bumping in and out of the elevators, around other patients and gurneys, and trying to fit through slim doorways all the while piloted by friendly orderlies. It was reminiscent of trying to scooter through Disney World with my daughter last May, and I tried to hide my silly smile lest the orderly think I was not in my right mind. (And, yes, the morphine was still working.)

Once back in my room, taking my blood pressure and poking and prodding for blood tests and glucose monitoring became commonplace at any time of the day or night. What an amazing staff of nurses and CNAs whose job it was to wake me only to poke me with a needle to capture my blood, and to do it all pleasantly when I felt less than pleasant for them having to do it. Although I tried not to be too crabby at them, my roommates were often less inhibited and grumbling was commonplace. Still, the staff smiled and carried on with quiet reassurance, seemingly immune to the barrage of complaints.

The most exciting thing for me was “room service”. Yes, “room service”, just like in a fancy hotel! Armed with an actual menu, I called down to the kitchen and my custom order would find its way to my bedside table. How amazing! Being a person obsessed with food, this was the highlight of my vacation. (Well, that and not being home to have to clean my house.) I carefully selected each meal; scrumptious omelet with tomatoes and onions, muffins and fruit, macaroni and cheese and broccoli with custard pudding, pot roast with salad with cake for dessert! Yum! It all sounded as good as I am sure it tasted, IF I were ever able to eat it when it arrived! Unfortunately, my food delights were delivered while I was away for one test or another. Imagine…meals being interrupted by medical procedures! What kind of vacation is that? The nurses offered to heat it up for me or to get me something else, but this seemed to be a silly request with all the important medical stuff that they had to do. When they took their jobs, I am sure that “waitress” was not in the job description.

Fortunately, it was the kind of vacation where the primary focus was my health; where what was going on INSIDE my body was more important that what I put INTO my body. With the utmost professionalism, the staff were unwaveringly pleasant, reassuring and kind. My medical care was top notch, and I was soon sent on my way home with expert instructions for the next chapter in my medical care.

Nothing could beat my hospital “vacation”. Next time I really want something as frivolous as a hot meal, I will go to a restaurant!The

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Comments on: "The Hospital Vacation" (13)

  1. You poor dear! You really do try to put a positive spin on things, but I seriously hope they are able to get to the bottom of all the scariness – and that you are quickly on the mend! Heidi

  2. Love your sense of humor and wishing you good health!

  3. Same here! Wishing you good health and nice hot meals. 🙂

  4. Good luck with the results of all those tests! I hope you have many delicious meals and long vacations in the future that don’t involve hospitals.

  5. Please don’t leave us worrying! Are you okay? Are more body parts working than aren’t? Are key ones functioning adequately?

    • Thank you everyone for your well wishes. All is semi well. I have a damaged disc in my neck that is affecting all of my nerves down to the tippity top of my fingers. Going for pt, not much help yet. I’ll live but my typing will never be the same!!

  6. Glad to hear you found out what was happening. It took 4 ER visits with the last one being by ambulance and a special test to figure out my gall bladder wasn’t working correctly. I was happy to have them remove it. Good luck with PT.

  7. So glad to hear they got to the cause. Now just follow the doctor’s orders:) Speedy recovery and look forward to your posts. Take care

  8. HI. You have an amazing outlook. Most people would be grumbling and complaining. but you chose to see the positives. Good on you!

  9. Trust it doesn’t happen again. Good wishes from our little corner of the world.

  10. A damaged disc in your neck is NO FUN, but has a hopefully much healthier outcome than a heart attack! Hope the PT helps you feel better soon!

  11. Ah yes, that pain is a familiar one to me. I hope the PT helps. Try not to rush things and let your body heal; that kind of injury is not often a quick one to heal BUT I’m glad it’s not your heart.

    Take care.

  12. Ouch! A damaged disc is very uncomfortable, but on the bright side – not as ominous as a heart attack. And hospitals are never fun. In ours, the anticipation of the meal is far superior to the eating of it! I do hope that you will be on the mend soon.

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