Saturday, September 12, 2009

what I did at the hospital

So me and the fetuses have had a bit of a wild ride over the past few days.  First a pig flu scare, then a rapidly vanishing cervix, and then contractions that were coming too frequently.  The result (of the latter two events, at least) was a day and a half at the hospital.  Right now I'm on bed rest and I have pills to stop the contractions, and I have every reason to believe that the babies are going to stay put for several weeks longer.  But...I've never been in the hospital overnight before, so this was a bit of an experience. 

I'm in the midst of writing a 12,000 page disquisition on the importance of wearing your own underwear at the hospital (something about maintaining the integrity of the self in a bureaucratic/institutional setting, blah blah), but in the meantime I thought I would share my observations about life on the inside:
  • In the hospital there is something called "shower privileges," which I apparently did not have.  My solution was simply to stand in the middle of the bathroom and dump water over myself until I felt clean.  This made me feel all dark and rebellious, and also clean. 
  • On a related note, you are not going to get arrested for unplugging your IV and other tubes.  I'm all about going to the bathroom by myself and I was not letting seventeen wires stand in my way.
  • Because of pig flu hysteria, kids under age 5 are currently not allowed to visit patients at any hospitals in Jacksonville.  I pretty much lost my marbles when I discovered this.   
  • The nurses automatically offer you Ambien.  At least, they automatically offered me Ambien.  Whether they were motivated by the fact that I had just spent three hours openly weeping about not being able to see my son, I could not tell you. 
  • If you keep asking the same question to different people ("when can I go home?" "when is the doctor coming?" "is this medicine actually actually reducing the contractions and if not why do I have to stay here?" "what happens to my babies if they're born right this minute [hysterical sobbing]") you will never get the same answer twice.  It's kind of fantastic, in a zen-mindfulness way: you can keep asking, but you will never be answered. 
  • The next time I have to stay at the hospital (which depends on whether my uterus freaks out again) I am bringing DVDs.  If you do not enjoy judge shows, the 700 Club, or PBS pledge drives, hospital television does not have much to offer.
To be fair, absolutely everybody I encountered in the hospital was amazingly nice.   And patient.  And very skilled at dealing with hysterical patients.  I have zero complaints on that front.   It's just the institutional setting that gets me kooky.  On an intellectual level, I realize that the maternity ward is not the same as a Soviet work camp, and that obstetrics is not entirely an evil cartel, but certain parts of my brain beg to differ.

3 comments:

Tammie said...

well im totally glad the fetuses are ok. keep them in there a bit longer wont you?

but yeah i hate hospitals too and when im in one all im thinking about is getting the hell out. last time i was in one (for the birth of my youngest), i practically snuck out. the nurses saw me though and started coming at me telling me i was required to leave in a wheel chair.

Barefoot_Mommy said...

Gah.. bless your heart! I LOATHE hospitals. I'm a consistent questioner too, especially about the "when do I get to go home?" bit.

I hope that you don't have to go in again until it's time for those babies!

Jennifer Perez said...

Glad the Bambinos are staying put for the time being.

As for any further hospital stays... may I suggest bringing a laptop of you have one. My husband brought me my laptop when I had to stay for a few days. I had the choice of dvds or surfing the internet (St. Vincent's had free wi-fi... well, not free. For the cost of your procedure and hospital stay).

ps. Asking everyone the same question over and over again is kind of like what my son does to get what he wants... eventually you'll hear the answer you want. =o)