Oh, the memories. My dear darling husband was in terrible pain with what turned out to be kidney stones. The Emergency nurse asked all the perfect scripted triage questions, and he answered what he could through the haze. “Where is the pain?” He pointed. “On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the most severe, how would you rate your pain?” “ELEVENS!”
Fast forward to my recent visit to the nearby surgical center. The RN found what she called “good veins” and set up the IV quickly and (nearly) painlessly. Chuck complained that it wasn’t fair, really. The last time he’d needed an IV, they’d searched all over and the nurse eventually sat on the floor next to his dangling arm to get an IV into him.
Then it dawned on us. We had turned into the dreaded generation: those with conversations consisting of comparisons of our various hospital visits. My pre-op nurse stepped out, ostensibly to check with the anesthesiologist, but we think she really had to leave the prep room before she broke out laughing and appeared unprofessional.
I learned that hospital food has come a long way in quality since I worked part time in food service at this very hospital. The menu was nice and the process was rather personal. And when I finally developed an appetite of sorts, the food was delicious. I think they should rename their transition or bland diet to call it Comfort Food. If I served Baked Mac & Cheese, tomato soup, herbal tea, and a little cup of raspberry sherbet for dessert, the family would call it comfort food and pronounce it good. My supper tray was good, too.
Back to the aging cycle. My hometown is a somewhat small city. My hospital room was on the sixth floor of a tower wing that hasn’t been around long. From my window, I could see the snowy and icy horizon far enough to recognize the large insurance company building that keeps a fair number of locals employed. After dark, the night lights identified another large building, one that didn’t exist when I was a volunteer in a striped pinafore: The Far North High School, La Petite’s alma mater.
I felt more like myself the next morning – less dizzy, able to walk to the bathroom without a walker, and feeling capable of making irreverent comments. That leg massaging thing? The one designed to help prevent clotting? This is a handy dandy little gadget. Someone should develop a non-medical version for cubicle workers. That list on the whiteboard? The goals I need to reach before I can go home? I call it my IEP. All too soon, I mastered the tasks on the board, signed my discharge information, and followed Chuck through the bitter cold to his Subaru and then, finally, home.