Monday, October 31, 2005

the many floors of a hospital

Over the years, I've spent lots of time in hospitals. We have a fairly large family, and that tends to mean that occasionally someone gets sick.
In March, it was Mom. That was a particularly nasty stint. We spent the better part of three days in the neuro-intensive care area before she left us. My ex brother in law was there at the same time, but although he was there for months he eventually got out.
On Friday our brother went into the same hospital via ambulance. I will spare you the gory details. He was in very bad shape having lost about 1/2 of the blood in his body. We spent most of the morning in the ER waiting for him to go on to testing.
Eventually we went up to the second floor to wait while he had some endoscopic procedure done. We waited in the same place we sat while Mom was there. It was hard. I kept thinking that if I walked down the hall, she'd still be there.
From there we went to the 6th floor where he was in Intermediate Intensive Care for the next day or two (its starting to blur). This morning he moved to the 7th floor in a semi-private room.
We got there this morning to find him fully dressed and ready to go. Not that the doctor had released him, mind you..... His roomie was very much the PA Dutch man, speaking loudly and constantly in the accent we've come to recognize. I can't blame my brother for being annoyed by that...it was relentless until the man fell asleep, snoring loudly.
BUT... he was terribly disoriented. For a while there it looked like he might be released. Luckily that was not the case. There's been a new ominous development. He's pretty unhappy with my sister and me, but at least he's alive and safe...especially since we took his clothes, shoes, wallet and keys. I wonder where he'll be when we get there in the morning.
When we were all younger I didn't mind the hospital so much. We went to the hospital for things like tonsils and wisdom teeth. Sometimes there would be a baby. Sometimes it was unpleasant, but always we came out in better health than we went in. We'd sit either in the waiting rooms or close together in chairs right in the room, talking quietly while our loved one slept nearby. I've even enjoyed going down to the cafeteria with a sibling or two to grab a bite and share some gallows humor.
When Mom died, we were suddenly catapulted into the next level. We are more fragile and our bumps and bruises are more serious these days. Having my brother so sick makes me feel very vulnerable. We are "the gang". Nobody's allowed to leave yet.

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