Humanity In The Hospital

Hospitals are impersonal: long, sterile hallways, undecorated rooms, human contact protected by rubber gloves. You could feel like a piece of meat, being cured, until it’s time to go home. You are poked, prodded, and dismissed. No one is at the hospital to have fun; you are there mostly to give or receive medical care.

Yet, there is something intimate about hospitals.  It’s a place where private conversations between doctors, nurses and patients are held revealing details about a personal life the world in general is not privy to.  Instead of secrets there is nakedness, bedpans, and blood.  There are tears of both fear and relief.  There is something sacred about a family coming together around a loved one in this place.

Behind each of these ICU curtains lies a universe within each person

Behind each of these ICU curtains lies a whole universe inside each patient.

I can recognize all that even if I’m sick and tired of it.  This past week, while my boys were at school, I spent my time at the hospital across the street.  My father is ill. He is entitled to his privacy and I don’t want to invade that magic barrier with this post.  I spend the hours mostly waiting instead of being out there training, working, writing and leading my life.  This whole lot of nothingness has left me exhausted and fat.

Because I am not the type of person that goes to the hospital cafeteria anxious about my dad’s undiagnosed condition and choose a banana for a snack.  I go for a muffin.  I need dough.  Nothing gives comfort like something sweet and doughy, accompanied by a creamy drink.  The free hot chocolate machine in the waiting room does not help my cause.

I’m usually okay with taking a few steps backwards and understand it’s part of life.  I’ve posted this before:

Facebook meme wisdom

Facebook wisdom

But this week has not been a cha cha dance.  It’s a full on 180 degree sprint the wrong way.

However the truth is this:

Family first.

I know I am not expected to repay the “debt” of the long hours worked by my father in order to fund my education, travels and travesties.  I’m aware no amount of handholding will make up for the grey hairs I caused him through late nights and broken curfews.

The most I have been able to write while at the hospital is about one paragraph at a time.

My turn to keep watch.

But I haven’t had one solitary day on this Earth without father in it.  That may, or may not, soon change.  I don’t know, dispute, or negotiate with God on this one.  I accept that I am powerless over any of it, even if the constant flow of good news/bad news leaves me hanging with no information 99% of the time. Limbo is not a fun dance.

And so the rest of the world is on hold for just a little longer even if I return to it with more weight, less speed and fewer page views.  It won’t matter because I know I am where I am supposed to be: in this impersonal, sterile building brining out the most human side of me.

We promise we did not call each other to coordinate matching outfits.

Before my oldest sister got here, it was the three of us, walking the hallways, with an unplanned  TriathlonMami fashion show.

One thought on “Humanity In The Hospital

  1. ((Hugs))

    My dad passed away about 6 years ago. Before that we had 7 years or so of medical stuff. It’s really hard. Really really hard.

    Looking back part of my theory of why it’s so tough is because we have no control over it. Family first is easier for me when I get to decide the details. But when a parent is sick it’s not our choice at all and it just takes over all our time and energy. Take care of yourself and I’ll be thinking of you.

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