Thursday, May 19, 2005

Lights on at 3:00 a.m.

Last night my brother called to say my dad was in the hospital. I don't want to go into all the details, but this is the second time something like this has happened (different reasons each time), and that fact made for less...and more...worry. Less because I remembered he came home last time and it turned out to be nothing serious. More because, well, it was the second time something like this has happened. Make sense?

Anyway, I fell asleep on the couch last night, exhausted from phoning siblings and my dad and getting information and updates, and worn out from worry. At about 5:00 I woke up, checked email and thought I'd better get a bit more sleep before my son's dad brought the kiddo home at 9:00 a.m. I tried every trick I knew to get myself to sleep, and eventually I did manage to doze off, although I dreamt about a small house with a huge (and I mean HUGE), beautiful bathroom with hardwood floors. What was that about, I wonder?

Tonight my dad was discharged and I just talked to him at home. He sounds tired, but glad to be out of the hospital. The staff did their hospital thing and woke him at all hours, all lights on, to stick him with needles and complain about not being able to find a vein, for instance. Why do they always have to turn on all the lights and talk so loudly when they conduct procedures in the middle of the night? I remember this from when I was in the hospital recovering from delivering my son. You'd think they could turn on one of the small lights and get what they needed without making a huge production out of it. That loss of sleep must delay recovery for a lot of patients.

Also, what is it with hospital staff's lack of patience (ha) regarding their patients' anxiety? As my sister-the-shrink said, it's not like anxiety's exactly a choice. Oh yes, some will argue with this and say we choose how to feel. Well, yes and no. If one is in the hospital with an unexpected health emergency, of course he/she will experience some degree of anxiety. Sometimes he/she can successfully reduce this through the use of relaxation exercises, and sometimes there's just not time or space to focus on these.

When I went to the doctor for my final appointment prior to delivering my son, she checked my blood pressure and briskly said, "Yeah, you're not going home today." I was totally caught off guard; after all, I'd expected to wake up in the middle of the night with contractions and experience my water breaking and drive to the hospital with my son's dad. Hey, I'd seen a lot of movies. ;^) So when the doctor told me I was being admitted that day, I started to cry.

"Why are you crying?" the doctor demanded. Nice.

I do remember several nurses, during my three-day stay in the hospital, who were just lovely. One, of course, was Denise, who coached me through my unexpectedly lengthy labor and saved me from having a C-section. Another was Mai, who came during the night after I'd delivered my son, carefully untied the sash of my robe, checked my belly and gently retied the sash. She gave me a little pat right before she left.

Let me tell you, at a scary time when I felt my son's dad distancing himself from me, and was wounded from labor and delivery, that small act of kindness made all the difference.

I hope the next time my dad's in the hospital, he gets to experience some of that kindness.

Glad you're home, Dad.