Even though I adore the TV show House, it’s not only the medical facts that it often fudges. It’s mostly wrong about how people behave in hospitals, too, and what a good thing that is.
Just about every time I’ve set foot in a hospital, I’ve been amazed at the kindness I’ve witnessed. Nurses who bring an extra warm blanket. Daughters who teasingly cajole their aged fathers to “be nice to them nurses.” Spouses who manage to appear calm and comforting even when their partner may be in grave danger. Parents who reassure their frightened child. Many of them ought to be wailing and weeping and invoking the story of Job. Instead, they evince quiet courage – for themselves, for their loved ones.
I’m noticing these human details right now because I’m in the ER, on my own since my husband is home caring for our kids. Conversations overheard through the thin drapes separating the beds are a welcome distraction, now that I’ve worked my way through the novel I was reading and caught up on reading other people’s blogs. (Even my small community hospital has wireless!)
Distraction is good. For the past few days, I’ve had some very mild weakness in my left arm and leg, along with a slight tremor in my left hand. I can type but it’s as though my left fingers would rather be jitterbugging across the keyboard. I’m pretty sure I haven’t had a stroke but of course that’s what the ER doctors first have to check. So I just got back from a CT scan, which I think is a very cool thing if it weren’t for 1) the mounting evidence showing that the radiation from a CT scan is more dangerous than originally supposed, especially in kids, and 2) fear.
It’s funny. I wasn’t really scared, just uneasy, until I called my osteopath and my family physician this afternoon and was told I needed to get this checked out. It’s odd how walking into the hospital congeals those previously diffuse fears into something cold and solid in the pit of your belly.
But because I don’t want you to start sharing that frigid fear: The doctor just informed me my CT looks great. So did my blood work. There’s no sign of a stroke.
(Lucky for me the technology’s still not refined enough to detect half-baked ideas, ‘cause they’d find an awful lot of those floating around in my brain.)
I still don’t know what’s going on with me. I’ve got to come back tomorrow for more tests. But I’m grateful that the ugliest possibility has been largely ruled out. I’m grateful for the nurse who gave me just about the least-painful IV ever. I’m grateful that the doctor appeared smart and competent. (Yes, Dr. House would have found a diagnosis by now, but only after first insulting me and then recklessly endangering my life.)
And again I’m grateful for the supportive murmurs of the couple on the other side of the curtain. I don’t know them. They’re not my people. And yet, they are.