Why do hospitals come alive at night?
2018 is the last year we had what I would call a normal Christmas. My hospitalization for something called congestive heart failure (think shortness of breath) two days before Christmas 2019 disrupted plans for multiple family members, even though I got sprung from healthcare jail late on Christmas Eve.
That was followed by a couple years of COVID. Christmas 2020 involved daughter, Tracy, and son-in-law, Keith, making a day trip to meet us at Crocker Park Mall in Westlake, where we enjoyed a lovely outdoor lunch of Subway in below freezing temps and quickly exchanged IKEA bags of wrapped gifts from a distance of six feet. Not to be outdone, 2021 saw actual COVID hit parts of the Michigan family, pushing our holiday celebration into January. Tracy was kind enough to leave a single two-foot tree decorated for our visit.
That gets us to this year.
Wham. Another round of congestive heart failure (actually my second in three months), but this time I at least made it until the day after Christmas. That delay was my final Christmas gift of this holiday season. I had avoided messing up Christmas Day and - if it all worked out right, which it did - I might get lucky and be out in time for New Year’s Eve. To this moment, I can still taste that wonderful prime rib dinner we had on New Year's Day. Talk about threading a needle!
Back to December 26… I waited patiently in the hallway to be taken to my bed, watching as the medical team scurried about to welcome me back. As it turned out, I was just one room away from where I had stayed during my late September visit. I knew exactly what the drill would be. Mostly a different team this time, but same old drill. And, one of the aides who had been so helpful last fall was actually on duty and very much on his game.
Recovery starts with resting as much as possible in the late afternoon to prepare for the good night’s sleep (ha ha) that will follow. You know you’re getting lots of attention - therefore good treatment - when the staff of one of the best hospitals in the world keeps waking you up during the night to make sure you are sleeping well. Lights on. Roommate coughing his head off. Sorry to bother you, Davis, but it’s time to check your vitals. Are you feeling o.k. tonight?
I was when I was sleeping, I would respond. Well before dawn, we would repeat this ritual. It creates a lifetime bond between patient and staff especially if the lifetime could be cut short for lack of sleep.
From your favorite blogger back to you, happy reading in 2023. Breathe well. I’ll keep you posted.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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