Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hospital Observations

After a five-day stay in the hospital, my Dad was discharged today to go home.  It's been a wild few days with my Stepmom also in the hospital for fractured ribs and moved to rehab in the meantime.  But, God, in His graciousness, allowed all things to happen at just the right time.  While Dad recuperates, my Stepmom is being cared for getting therapy.  Dad's motivation was to get home to take care of her, so if she was home, he wouldn't be taking care of himself.  

Spending a lot of time with Dad in the hospital, I made lots of observations.  And, as I often do, I'll share my findings...

Hospital WiFi is the greatest invention since night baseball - Hospitals have come a long way and one of the greatest accomplishments is free Wifi for patients and guests.  My Dad was admitted Thursday evening and had a procedure yesterday, but the remainder of that time, was a "sit and wait" while the doctors observed him and ran tests.  i was able to log on to my work laptop and do work as if I was sitting at my desk.  It was amazing.  Aside from being limited on the conference calls I could make, it was the perfect setup.  And, focusing on work kept my mind off of worrying about my Dad.

When you find a yummy option at the cafeteria, stick with it - I ate lunch everyday at the hospital.  Oh, I could have left and gone to a local fast foodery nearby, but I figured it was easier and quicker to just eat there.  I became a fast fan of their turkey burgers.  A turkey burger on a wheat bun with pepper jack cheese hits the spot.  I think I ate them out of pepper jack cheese because they were out the last two lunchtimes I ordered.  

If you just sit quietly, you'll hear all kinds of interesting conversations - Dad's first roommate (he had two different ones - number two had quite the potty mouth), was never without at least five visitors at a time.  They were a sweet family, but never.stopped.talking.  For those who know me well, know that's a lot of talking.  I knew all of their business from where they had lunch to what they were fixing for dinner.  One day their Mom, the wife of the patient, had "wandered" away and they weren't sure where she was.  That began a conversation on "GPS-ing" senior adults.  They said GPS chips should be embedded in senior adults so everyone could find them if they wandered off.  Part of me thought that was brilliant and part of me thought that was a bit too "mark of the beast" for my comfort.  Needless to say, never a dull moment if you just sit and listen.

Clean living is worth it - My Dad is 87 years old and probably looks and functions 10 years his youth.  Aside from his wild Navy days before he became a Christian, he has lived a very clean life.  He quit smoking in the 50s back when it was cool and very accepted.  Because of that clean living, he has very few health issues, outside of his heart conditions.  Dad's second roommate looked to be in his 50s but clearly had a lot of issues brought on by more than his young age.  He looked like he'd lived a rough life and based on his profane language and conversations, I'd say that he wasn't a clean liver...nor was his liver clean.  I rode elevators with patients who reeked of cigarette smoke and were checking out and I wondered how soon they'd be back in for some other complication.  It was sad.  My 80+ year old Dad was in better health than many people 30 years younger.  I may not be the healthiest living person in the world, but after witnessing what I did in the halls of the hospital, I am convicted to keep away from any debilitating vices.  

Parking and Pick Up are Two Different Things - When you drive around a hospital parking lot and garage, you need to be aware of your surroundings.  Stopping in the middle of a drive to potentially wait on someone isn't a bright idea.  Might be best to pull over.  And if you are doing the same at the patient pick up area, be conscious of those trying to pick up discharged patients.  I had to almost get out and ask a man who was having a conversation with an aide and in mid-drive to move so I could get to the entrance to pick up my Dad.  May i never be that self-absorbed and unaware.  

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