Saturday, April 02, 2011

Hospitals are dangerous

My father is in the hospital right now.

Among the mysteries of modern life is the  disappearance of the notion that hospitals should be quiet.   Remember those signs that used to be posted on the street?  Or am I revealing my age?

I visited my dad yesterday and was surprised by how noisy it was. Everyone appears to be shrieking at everyone else, unless they are too sick to move.  There is a clatter of trays and other equipment,  personnel coming and going and filling each other in on their private lives, greeting old friends and just gabbing.  To add to the confusion, a maintenance man was driving a  floor polisher which is so large he was seated on it.  It reminded me of a large tractor or a zamboni.  He must have driven the thing past my father's room six times.  What zeal!  Or maybe it was just fun to ride the thing.

My father's chair was in the reclining position, and the platform underneath was crusted with dust.  We called attention to this to his nurse, and she said that was not "our first priority" right now.  This was richly ironic, since my father was there in the first place because he had had a pacemaker inserted in this very hospital and received a blood infection from the procedure.  If they had been a little more obsessed with cleanliness, my dad would be home right now, watching a ball game and drinking a martini.

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