Thursday, December 15, 2011

Putting the "Hospital" in "Hospitality"

I've been hanging out around hospitals a LOT lately. It really is a whole new world to me; I've never been sick enough to have to spend much time in one, and thankfully, no one else I know has, either. And thank goodness, because hospitals are not places you want to spend much time in.

Luckily, we have health care in Canada, and we don't have to worry about the cost of my father's six-week hospital stay. At least once a week, one of us exclaims "Thank GOD for Tommy Douglas!" (Tommy Douglas is the father of universal health care in Canada, and in case you didn't know, Kiefer Sutherland's grandfather, either one of which would qualify him as a bad-ass.) And believe me, I'm sincerely grateful to enjoy state-supplied health insurance, but I wish I had been able to take out some sort of "parking insurance", because the parking fees at the hospital are going to be the death of me. We live sort of close to the hospital, so I can walk there, or take the bus. Otherwise, I'd be having to have a chat with my bank manager about our Line of Credit and the hospital parking.

Hospitals are no place for sick people. They are noisy and smelly and bright and generally not a good place to try to get some rest. Not to mention the fact that they are, ironically, full of sick people, so it's a good place to get even more crap to make you feel worse.

Whatever they pay nurses, it's not nearly enough. They work incredibly hard, and with a lot of good humor and upbeat attitudes. Everyone of them has been phenomenal; I can't credit them enough.

There is one doctor there who's dealing with my dad that is, very possibly, the most good looking man I've ever had the pleasure to lay eyes on. He's Iranian, and he has awesome hair, and it's very difficult to focus on what he's actually saying, because he is so delicious. Even my father, in the ICU, said as he left, "that is one handsome man". If they guy in the bed fighting to stay alive notices how attractive you are, I'd say you're in the top 1%, easily.

I'm not sure how hospitals in the US or any other country, functions without Tim Horton's. There are two in dad's hospital alone. And there are line ups at both of them, all the time. You can tell if the one in the lobby is closed, even before you come around the corner from the parking lot, because of all the people staggering around the main floor, holding their heads and sobbing. They weep with gratitude when you tell them there's another one on the third floor in the cafeteria.

The cafeteria is the strangest's hidden away, first of all; you practially need a GPS and a Sherpa guide to find the place. And it's oddly empty and unpopulated, except for the line up of thirty people trying to pay. There never seems to be any but just the one cashier, and she either started today, without any training whatsoever, or she has brain damage and cannot give you change from a 10 without a calculator and consulting  most of her fingers. It takes a glacial age to get out of there, and then you find out your coffee is actually tea.

The elevators at the hospital are very slow...there are four of them, but only two work.  This means that you wait quite a while in the lobby for one to come down, and there's a crowd by then. I've smartened up and get on when it's going down to the basement, and then I ride back up and people look at me in astonishment when they realize I'd been waiting with them just a minute ago or so, and I'm already on the elevator. It freaks them out every time. You can fit a lot of people on an elevator, especially when no one's in a wheel chair. I had no idea elevators can double as clown cars.

They are moving my dad to another hospital soon, a re-hab place where he can get up and on his feet a bit better. I hope the parking lot is good.

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