30 January 2012

Things in hospitals that look like faces (and not happy ones, at that)

I spent five days in the surgical intensive care unit at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami, two weeks ago. Hours seemed to melt into each other. At first it was easy to keep the melting at bay, with the ativan dose routinely coming every four hours and the morphine every eight. But then the morphine dosages kept increasing, so the time kept changing. Then they added respiratory therapy every four hours, but they weren't the same four hours as the ativan. Then came the elevating of one side of his body or the other every two hours, to keep bed wounds from forming on his back, because an infection would have been epically bad.

The first night I didn't sleep. I took a cat nap on a chair in the waiting room, using my winter coat as a blanket, draping my scarf over my face to keep the light out. I had my boots on, the ones that I wore on the 6 am flight to Tampa and on the drive from there to Miami, for 48 hours (the same clothes, too, naturally). The second night, my brother brought sleeping bags, so I slept in the corner for a couple of hours. The third night, they brought a cot.

It seemed like they never re-stocked the salad bar, while we were there. We arrived Wednesday afternoon in time for lunch, and had eaten them out of spinach and broccoli by Friday. After that it was burnt pizza and cold sweet potato fries.

Mostly I sat by his bed, which is how I noticed the bedside TV controller that looks like a face. After that, it seemed like everything had a face. But I didn't always have my phone to photograph everything. They all had the same face, you'll notice. A sort of stern face. Not frownie, unhappy, sad. Stern. "Man up," said they. "This ain't the first one and it won't be the last one. Deal."

Bedside TV Controller, With Mysterious Music Button That I Could Not Figure Out How To Get Music From

Otis Elevonic Group Control

Rich-ish People Donation Plaques + Metal Cover Probably Covering Wires + Wall Rail Thingie, Probably For Patients Who Are Able To Get Up From Their Beds To Hold Onto

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