I admit I’m a badly behaving patient. What I mean by badly behaving is that I hate being hospitalised. When my Crohn’s disease plays up to the extent that I need strict medical attention to help control it, attached to IVs and in immense pain, I constantly beg to be discharged. I am so persistent that when my specialist arrives to check up on me often his first words have been “you’re not going home today so don’t bother asking”.
I have been very fortunate with my healthcare and to be in the hands of a very competent medical professional (who’s now retired). He was a specialist gastroenterologist and surgeon at the top in his field. He had access to six beds at all times for his patients. These six beds were in diverse wards, depending on availability. Twice my bed was in the children’s ward and once in a ward where all the other occupants were anorexic. I was even once placed in the psych ward, assured I was being administered for my physical ailments and not for my mental health. Obviously, I was slightly alarmed when placed there. Being in various wards resulted in some interesting room companions.
While staying in the children’s ward I woke one night to what I first thought was some poltergeist phenomenon happening. My bed faced a linen closet which was now wide open and all I could see was linen flying out in all directions. I roused myself into a sitting position at this curiosity. Once I sat up I could see lower and discovered this was no ghostly apparition but a toddler who had escaped the confines of their bed and was merrily strewing the once neatly folded hospital linen across the room. Once the mystery was solved I laid down back to sleep without informing staff as I figured they’d find out soon enough and left the kid to have some fun.
While staying in the anorexic ward I felt guilty as I was allowed to come and go, even encouraged, from my bed when my body permitted. The anorexics were only allowed this treat when they ate. (I never saw any of them eat the whole week I was hospitalised). Confined to beds their emancipated bodies with huge eyes followed me whenever I moved from my bed to shower or spend time in the patient’s common room. At one stage two doctors stormed into the ward, closed the curtain on one patient and loud admonishment could be heard that if the patient continued to be uncooperative they would be forced to take drastic steps. I have no idea what these drastic steps were as when I returned from my shower she was gone and I didn’t see her for the rest of my stay.
When recovering from my fourth surgery l encountered two other patients sneaking a smoke in the lovely gardens attached to the hospital. We three soon formed a friendship that included sneaking out of our different wards to the gardens after 10 pm to meet up with the partner of one of the patients who was waiting for us with a cigarette (of the herbal kind). On one occasion we found ourselves stuck on the ground floor some time after midnight when trying to return to our beds. The lift doors wouldn’t shut and none of us could climb the stairs as we were all attached to IV’s. Our giggling fits at our predicament (that herbal cigarette contributing greatly to our mirth) ruptured into uncontrollable laughter once we realised after half an hour stranded on the ground floor that one of our IV machines was pressed up against the ground floor elevator button. The laughter that erupted hurt due to my operation stitches. We all sneaked back into our rooms and none of the staff ever discovered our nightly rendezvous. Those two sure made that hospital stay a pleasant one as well as memorable.