Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Thousand Indignities

I have been here in the hospital for 7 weeks. Usually, there is not much more to do than think (or brood or obsess, as the case may be). For me, adjusting to my stay here and maintaining sanity to the extent possible has required a slow but determined relinquishment of the illusion of control.

If you've never been in the hospital yourself, be aware that hospital rooms are not havens of privacy. Anyone with any pretense of business in your room will knock and enter, enter and knock or just plain enter.

Early in my stay a flurry of entrances would habitually occur and happened to coincide with the time of most satisfying sleep 6-8 a.m. or so. The first visit usually comes from the resident or med student. "Any cramping? bleeding? leakage of fluid?" At least 3 times per day, these questions are posed. The only deviation took place one day when a med student asked, "Is anything coming out of your vagina?" [insert *pregnant* pause here] Some days, the questions are even accompanied by a physical exam, featuring frozen sardines in the role of fingers.

These visits are followed by the delivery of breakfast, clean linens, fresh water, morning meds, etc. etc. Strangers in your room while you're sleeping? Yeah, at least initially, these visits were highly jarring.

One kindly resident once asked me how I was adjusting to my stay here. I told her I felt like a project that was being managed in pieces by many people, but that no one was assigned the role of project manager. I certainly didn't feel like the manager.

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