The past few years, I’ve spent a lot of time in a hospital bed. Different rooms, different beds, different nurses and doctors and of course, different room mates. I’ve had a few hospital experiences that stick out, not because of what I was going through but because of who I shared a room with. Sometimes, like in the ICU, there was 4 of us, when I was lucky, just the 2 of us and occasionally I’d luck out and have my own.
While I was in the ICU, I would hear bits and pieces of what was wrong with my roommates, I witnessed one woman come close to passing and watched as a man signed a do not resuscitate order. That really threw me, I was somewhat in awe of him and that decision. He was an older man, he had lung cancer, that was inoperable. Basically, he wasn’t getting treatment, only comfort measures. They described what would take place with resuscitation, which I admit, sounded unpleasant and painful but to me, hey..it would bring you back!, right? Though, he said he would rather not suffer through that, if it’s his time than its his time. The bravery astounded me. His wife looked at me, smiling; she said ” You are far too young to be in here, you need to get out of here”
She was right, that place was not for me. Not that I wasn’t ill enough to be in there at that time, but for me to even be in a place like that, was an eye opener for me.
When it came time, that I was able to leave, I asked to get my I.V taken out of my hand ( I haattteee those things ) The nurse said she wasn’t going to do it yet. She said, she was superstitious and wouldn’t take it out until the time that I was going to walk out the door, because she believed that then I wouldn’t end up back there, and I didn’t.
Another time that stands out to me, was in a double bed room. The first roomie had left, so I was thankful to not have to deal with someone else and have some privacy but that night, they brought an old woman in. As she was wheeled in she was moaning and groaning, I’m ashamed to admit it at first but I was said to myself, Oh great, now I’ll never be able to sleep” She sounded like she was in a lot of pain and from what I was hearing, she had cancer somewhere in her “stomach” I got out of bed, to use the bathroom. Wheeling my I.V pole with me. As I came out of the bathroom, her quiet voice said ” Hello, what’s your name?” I looked at her, she was a tiny pleasant looking old lady, with silvery hair. I smiled and said, “My name is Amber” She smiled and said, “What a lovely name for a beautiful girl” Of course, I was won over,heh.
Over the next few days, we talked, she asked about my life, my children, she told me about her husband. We discussed our dislike for the water they would bring us, in these big styrofoam cups. When I was able to get out of bed, I’d go get us some bottled water. She gave me some chocolate bars to give to my boys. I liked her, I felt for her.
She would do her makeup and hair each morning, she had face cream that she told me she gets sent over from Europe. She has grown kids, a husband. She called her husband each day, asked him to bring her slippers and her robe because she didn’t like the hospital slippers and gown. I never did see her husband, he never came while I was still there. She told me she had cancer before, that had gone away and now came back in her stomach. I’m not sure what they were planning on doing with her, if anything at all.
I would hear her cry, hear her pray and read the bible. She would cry out to GOD and ask why she was going through what she was going through. It made me feel so bad. At that point in my life, I had stopped believing in GOD and hearing her cry out to him almost made me angry. Her pastor and his wife came to visit her the one day, brought her flowers and chocolate ( which she gave to me ) and prayed for her and with her. I remember thinking, she’s crying and in pain and all they are doing is reciting scripture to her!? How is that going to help her, what’s that going to do for her. Yet, it did calm her and she was grateful for it. Although she was thankful for the flowers she told me that she wished they were fake ones, “they don’t lose colour or die”
When it came down to the time, when I was well enough to leave, I felt..bad, I hated leaving her there, alone. I feel I did calm her and bring her some kind of comfort, she wasn’t moaning and crying like when she had first came in, and I hated leaving her to the hospital staff (because sometimes you really need to stay on top of them). When it came to saying goodbye, I was gathering my stuff up and looked at her, saying goodbye and telling her to make sure that “..the nurses change your I.V site every few days because it’s not good for it to stay in one spot for long periods of time, it can cause a blood infection, so make sure you tell them!” I admit, I started crying while saying it and looking at her. I had to bite my lip and told her to take care of herself. She said,”You go home and take care of your little boys. GOD bless you”. I told her thanks, and rushed out the room because I didn’t want her to see me crying.
I was waiting at the elevator, in front of the nurses station, at that point I had lost it a little bit and a nurse saw me and asked me if I was okay. Ha, I must of seemed crazy, how people cry when they are leaving a hospital, well? *chuckle* I told her that I was just sad to leave that lady ( I had said her name ) and the nurse said something along the lines of not to worry, that she’ll be okay, and the elevator came.
I went downstairs to my sister, waiting in her car for me and got in, tears still on my face. She asked if I was ok, and I told her what happened and asked her to take me to Walmart.
After going to Walmart, we returned to the hospital to make a delivery. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to handle it emotionally, so I sent my sister back up to the room;
With a robe, slippers, a case of bottled water and a decorative pot of artificial flowers.
My sister came down, she said she was about to cry too ( She’s not a big cry baby like me ) She was the woman was so happy, she asked GOD to bless us and asked her to tell me thank you.
Of course, silly me, as I remember her and that experience, I’m sitting here crying, again. I’m not sure what became of her but I thank GOD for giving me the that experience and allowing me to experience her. I hope I made even the tiniest impact on her, because she made one on me that I pray to never forget.