I cannot stand being in hospitals. I know that that’s irrational, that hospitals are places that heal people and help them. Yet of the many experiences I’ve had of hospitals, I can’t help but feel that hospitals are terrible places.
My first experience of hospitals wasn’t so bad. I’d be in a hospital every other year when my mom had the next installment of the Clan. They were just big buildings that had complicated directions to get anywhere, and which had a lot of places that were off limits to kids. Oh, and you had to be quiet like at the library.
My next experience of hospitals was a few years later when I fell head first off of a tall slide on the playground. I severely jammed my neck and I couldn’t see anything without it being too fuzzy to recognize, and before we got all the way home my mom had to pull over at a fire department and I got strapped to a board and taken to the ER in a wailing ambulance.
The next time I was in a hospital was when several of my siblings and myself got diagnosed with spinal meningitis. That was a nightmare. We were also in a couple of times with severe pneumonia, including the time my sister got taken in in the ambulance because her breathing had all but stopped.
Most of my subsequent visits to the hospital have been accompanying my dad. There were several times when he had heart failure, and we spent a couple of days at a time in the hospital. Then there was the time he had a heart attack and died in the ambulance, and was just barely resuscitated with those horrible metal zappers in the ER. That time he was in a coma for a whole week and they didn’t know if he was going to have brain damage from lack of oxygen. Fortunately there’s not enough brain activity going on to warrant that much oxygen, so when he woke up a week later his mental capacities weren’t damaged. He lost a few month’s worth of memory, and he forgot my name and who I was, but he was alive and his brain was working. Thankfully his daughter’s identity came back to him a few hours later, but he never regained those months of memory leading up to the heart attack.
There was also the time when my little sister got rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night because she’d lost over thirty pounds in less than a week and couldn’t keep any food down. She went into two diabetic comas that day and the doctors said they’d never seen such a fluctuating sugar count. They said she almost died then too.
My dad’s heart surgery lives on in my mind as another terrifying experience that I will never forget, especially as it was two days before I flew to the other side of the country to go to university.
Then there were a number of times two years in a row at university in which I spent weeks with my best friend in the hospital while she went through endless tests. Mostly we didn’t get results but had bad luck after bad luck. It was exhausting and worrying for me, I can’t imagine what the uncertainty must’ve been like for her.
Most recently my dread of hospitals was reinforced by having to drive my pregnant sister to the ER in the middle of the night because she was bleeding everywhere and starting to miscarry. Through some miracle that got resolved and the baby was fine and she’s been okay for a couple of months.
So I suppose it isn’t that outlandish that I can’t stand hospitals. They tend to remind me of the worst days of my life, and strike more than a little fear into me. So when I had to take my dad in yesterday because his lungs were filled with fluid from a severe chest cold and sinus infection, my mind didn’t remind me that it wasn’t a huge emergency, my mind went into panic mode. Fortunately he’s okay and back at home, with medication and referrals to GPs and cardiologists. I just hope I don’t have to spend any time in hospitals between now and my sister having her baby, and hopefully that won’t take long…