A story from the health care trenches...keeping a sense of humor on the gurney.
A patient's viewpoint on a hospital stay.
ER + DAYS

Dear Rebecca,

As I told you, I thought you might take a professional interest in a patient’s view report on a hospital stay. After
a few lines (quite good, really), I saw my careful words vanish into cyberspace. This time I shall type in Word
Perfect and learn to E-mail it.

Decided to inflict this also on progeny, nieces, and nephews. Forward to the other Beloved Greats if you wish.

I think you know this, but brief review: went to ER with strange chest pain. Tests launched, heart stuff okay,
CT scan turned up pneumonia. Antibiotics poured into the IV. Soon began the two most miserable days of my
life. When the docs caught on it was a drug reaction, they switched to a different antibiotic and I gradually
began to get better.

When life began to improve but I couldn’t read yet, I amused myself by making up names for people whose
name tags I couldn’t read. I gave up on non-human staff; my constant companion, the IV rig, was cold and
impersonal and began loud beeping when I slept an hour; no C3PO or R2D2. The squeezy machines wrapped
around my legs, my pet boa constrictors, didn’t rate names; I like my pets warm-blooded. The communication
control, when I punched the Nurse Call button, did contact the nurse’s station, but also turned on the TV, a
startling event at three AM.

I’ll begin with the pair of bewildered novice blood drawers. They were girls, but somehow I kept thinking
Moe and Curley.

The one and only angry and sullen person I met at St.Luke’s, who needed to know my weight at 4:30 AM ,
found it a great nuisance to release and reattach my leg irons, and left the light on and bedclothes in a heap.
She’s Lisa. We once had a page at Natural Bridge library...

Before my visit from Moe and Curley, I was fairly stoic, or at least adult, about needle pricks. But I began to
freak out at mention of the words "draw" and "blood". So when the young woman deftly slipped the needle in,
nailed it on the first try, and was outta here before the others could have located a vein, I tried to think of an
angel’s name for her. No luck. Didn’t know any lady angels, and few male ones, for that matter. There was the
Angel Michael, who had this tendency to appear before an old lady and joyfully proclaim "You will soon bear a
son for your husband!" (I don’t recall that it was ever a daughter). Go away from me, Michael! Been there,
done that. Then there’s Gabriel, who blows horns a lot. Hey, Gabe, why don’t you just hang out with Michael,
okay? I finally called her Florence, though I don’t like the name much.

Later I was having a heartwarming conversation with Robbie when I heard the dreaded words: "I need to draw
blood". It was Florence; she said "Just move the phone to the other hand." It was over in a minute; she aced it
on the first try and I hardly felt anything. I resolved that when she was not on duty I will call Robbie when the
vampire threatens.

One day, while I still couldn’t eat, the lunch tray sat beside my bed for several hours. Tray Person would come
in and see it, and say "I’ll be right back to get that". The third time that happened I named her Alice. (None of
you is old enough to remember Alice the Goon) At six o’clock, when the rumble of supper carts was heard in
the land, Alice showed up. She picked up the slab of strawberry cheesecake and said "I’ll leave a spoon for
this." I said "No. I don’t want it", but she left it anyway and took the lunch tray.

Then Clouseau brought the supper tray and set it upon the cheesecake.

The Boss of Housekeeping dropped in one day. "I just like to check on how we are doing; are we keeping the
room clean enough?" Dave and I gave glowing reports about some of his staff, then I pointed to the curtains
that hang between the beds. "These red smears don’t bother me a bit because I know what they are and how
they got there," I said "but the next patient might be grossed out, so I’d better tell you about it." Curtain Guy
arrived in twenty minutes.

By Sunday I felt lots better and hoped to go home the next day, but the medical staff got upset about my blood
tests. Platelets down to 28!! Monday morning the doctor said "No way are you leaving here with a platelet
count of 19!" They called in the head of Hematology, who said, "I think I may know what the problem is; we’ll
do another test (gulp), and I think I’ll have very good news for you this afternoon."

I heard someone say "Lets get someone from the IV team to get the blood this time." She arrived at an
awkward time; I said ‘I’ll only be a minute". She said That’s okay, I’ll come back in a little while" – But she didn’t.
Time marched on. Two other people each stuck me twice without success. Head of the IV team finally returned
and made a swift job of it, but by then I knew it was too late for a lab report to get me home that night.

Morale plunged. At that point Shannon and Seth showed up bearing a little vase of pretty daisies, and printouts
of my cheerful E-mail. Pulled me right out of the depths. I was glad I knew their names, because I had already
flunked out on angel names...

Earlier in the afternoon I had become aware of an altercation in the hall outside my room. Voices were raised,
but I caught only a word here and there: Doctor — Hematology—it’s been hours—Raker—we ALWAYS—. I
saw a man nose-to-nose with someone. Got the impression of a guy backing up his staff. Good for him! I
always tried to do that at the library. I never actually met that man, but I named him anyway. He’s Tony.
(LaRussa chatting with an umpire after being ejected from the game)

It’s a puzzlement. Here am I, a quiet, docile, cooperative, harmless old lady, and I find myself in the role of
troublemaker!

Doctor Blood came in Tuesday morning and explained platelets to me. It was all a mistake, I was never in
imminent danger of bleeding to death after all. (I suspected that and wasn’t scared; after all, I had holes poked
in me every few hours and none of them bled too much.)All concerned were glad to release me to come home.

Have been home several days now, and was surprised to find it wasn’t the instant cure I expected. Still weak
and wiped out, but every day is better, and I have until the 19th to get strong. We have tickets to a dinner
dance.

Some of this seems pretty funny now, though humor escaped me at the time. You might note that in your
research, Becca. You can tell patients "Some day you’ll laugh about this"...

Love, Marge
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Julie Andrews Turns 69, this is hysterical  

To commemorate her birthday , actress/vocalist,Julie Andrews made a
special appearance at Manhattan 's Radio City Music Hall for the
benefit of the AARP.   

One of the musical numbers she performed was "My Favorite Things"  
from the legendary movie "Sound Of Music".   

Here are the lyrics she used:   
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

(Sing It!)
Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts ,and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache,
When the hips break,
The eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

> > > > > > > > > > > >

(Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd
that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores.
Please share Ms. Andrews' clever wit and humor
with others who would appreciate it.)
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Humor:
Laughter is the best medicine!
My Favorite Things
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Musicnotes.com
written by Woody Allen


Alvy Singer: It was great seeing Annie again and I realized what a terrific person
she was and how much fun it was just knowing her and I thought of that old joke,

you know, the, this, this guy goes to a psychiatrist and
says, 'Doc, uh, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a
chicken,' and uh, the doctor says, 'well why don't you
turn him in?' And the guy says,
'I would, but I need the
eggs.'
Well, I guess that's pretty much now how
I feel about relationships.
You know, they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd and, but
uh, I guess we keep going through it...because...
most of us
need the eggs.
Woody Allen



[click her to return to the main movie monologue page ]

p.s.
from the website publisher:  
I know I do....I definitely need the eggs!

Plastic eggs for Egg Hunts available from Dollar Tree
How many psychiatrists does it take
to change a light bulb?
Only one.
But it really has to
WANT to change.
Laughter rises out of tragedy,
rewards you for your courage.

Erma Bombeck
Humor is a serious thing.
I like to think of it as one of
our
greatest
earliest
natural resources,
which must be preserved
at all cost.

James Thurber
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