Hospital stays should be stupidity-free. And they usually are. I had two such stays (courtesy of childbirth) where caring, conscientious, authentic humans surrounded me. That is, except for the admitting nurse who, after I’d filled out the paperwork and left my employment status blank, nearly had a fit.
“Don’t you have a job?” she asked, none-too-kindly.
I hesitated before answering as I was on maternity leave and felt a bit limbo-like.
“You’re a housewife?” she spat out like she’d suddenly dislodged a stray corn kernel that had been stuck between her teeth for weeks.
Clearly her limited, mental receptacle somehow perceived an affront not only to the noble efforts of the nursing profession, but to the very core of all women who worked outside the home.
Back to hospital stays.
Two years ago, my then sixteen-year-old son was hospitalized for a nasty bout with the flu. He spent four days there; my husband and I switched off spending time with him as the hospital was some distance from our home.
No less than ten nurses came through Son’s room; sometimes solo, other times in pairs. Almost all staff members appeared genuinely dedicated and competent. Three were particularly memorable. One, not because he was the only male member and the cheery sort, but because he wore a novel cap with a dignified, yet highly optimistic gold tassel. The second memorable nurse was a young, very pleasant woman who caught our eyes because of her intelligence and her large, elongated glasses that came dangerously close to becoming goggles. However, I’m afraid to report the third was a stuper (short for an unnecessarily stupid person). Let’s call her Nurse Norma L. Bainbridge.
At four a.m., the morning of Son’s discharge, two nurses came by to give him medicine. Fortunately, Son is an excellent listener with a sharp memory. He recalled the Doc saying said medicine was to be dispensed for only three days. Unfortunately, Doc didn’t reduce this three day part to writing. The nurses eyed us solemnly when Son advised them of this fact. Then they left.
A few hours later, in stepped Nurse Bainbridge. I’m sure you’ve met her sort before. The no-nonsense type who not only works full-time (outside of the home for a respectable paycheck plus splendid benefits), but has four kids, bakes her own bread, churns her own butter, grows prize geraniums and still has time for pilates and basket weaving. Oh yes, she’s also PTA president.
“I heard somebody say they didn’t want to take their medicine this morning,” she said in a saccharine voice, hopelessly twee; the tone reserved for two-year-olds and the crack brained.
“We’d like to wait for the doctor,” I informed her.
Nurse Bainbridge left in a huff and returned almost immediately with enough pages of forms to line every drawer in Martha Stewart’s kitchen. She told me I had to sign the paperwork to absolve her, the entire nursing staff and the hospital from any liability should Son have a relapse for refusing to take his a.m. medicine.
Thankfully, Doc arrived during our
argument discussion and confirmed that the medicine was to be administered for only three days.
According to The Modern Handbook of How to be a Stuper, if one is holding an official looking piece of paper with instructions written on it, one must follow those instructions blindly. No matter if the instructions seem a bit off or if another questions their accuracy. Should these instructions appear in barely legible scrawl (thereby obviously the handiwork of a reputable physician), then all the more reason to blindly follow them.
Readers: Chances are you will be treated reasonably well should the need arise for a hospital stay. However, be certain to exercise awareness of your condition and the requisite treatment. Should you feel your mental faculties compromised, bring along an intelligent human to ensure stupers are kept at bay.
Think first, last and always!