When most people hear the word, “hospital,” they tend to think morbid, bleak, and depressing thoughts. They picture needles, doctors, machines, and blood while shivers run through their body. Sounds of painful cries, upsetting news, and unfortunate phone calls may ring about in their ears. My perspectives of hospitals differ from a large sum of society. I think about lives that have been saved rather than lives that have just gone cold from the absent heart beat. I imagine kids who are receiving a second chance rather than just being confined to IV poles and machines. Unlike most people, I have an odd sense of comfort around needles, blood, and just the hospital in general. So, is it odd that I chose to sit and observe hospital life for sheer enjoyment? Maybe so, but what can I say? At least it just makes me that much more unique, for a better word.
To begin, I had already been at the hospital as an inpatient from September 17th through October 1st. I originally planned on making the hospital my choice of observation so being an inpatient just made things that much simpler. Luckily, since I’m 18, I was now able to leave my room on my own to go to the cafeteria, take a simple walk outside, or to just roam the floors. The pediatric waiting room and outpatient surgical floor were the two destinations that I had decided to observe, beings how I assumed those would have the most activity. And so, my journey began.
Granted that I have considered the hospital, “my second home,” I knew the route in which I had to take. First stop: Pediatric waiting room. I walked outside of my room, laptop in hand, and grabbed a mask that leached to my mouth with every breath in. The walk to the waiting room wasn’t far from where I was located. A less than 5-minute walk with only three turns, and I had arrived. I took a seat, opened my laptop, and began surveying as if I were a security camera recording all of the action. The room was filled with several couches, chairs, and tables, but only few had been taken. There was only a maximum of 20 people that had sat down in the 30 minutes that I was there and I believe out of the 20 people, they separated into 3 different families. A family of 7 had sat in there for the time period that I was there and we exchanged smiles and nods numerous times. It always makes me feel better knowing that there are kids who are being surrounded by family and loved ones while undergoing a difficult obstacle. In my many years of hospitalizations, I had seen numerous kids who were so young, but spent many hours alone. The family that was there the whole time seemed like such a caring bunch. I watched as they all got along with each other, which were confirmed, with laughs, comforting words, and hugs amongst all of them. There were two little kids that weren’t running around screaming, crying, and/or complaining. Instead, they sat with each other and skimmed through children’s books while conversing about the pictures quietly. It’s amazing how kids can easily adapt to situations by just grasping a hold onto what’s happening through sight and emotion of others.
I then continued on my destination by heading to the outpatient surgery waiting room. Arriving here, there were a much more variety of people. As I sat down, I began to count in my head how many different family’s there were: 12 was the number I ended up with. I watched as members of different families constantly looked at their pager they have received to see if there was anymore news about the surgery that their loved one was undergoing. Several times, there were a handful of different surgeons that would greet a family and luckily, every thing that I had heard was all good news. You could see the expression of relief, happiness, and tears of joy form on the faces of worried ones. Each time I saw that happen, I to began to smile. In a back corner I saw an older couple holding hands while the lady held a tissue to control her running nose from the crying. I felt sympathy and hurt as I saw that. In my head, I began thinking about how different peoples lives are and how fast so much can change. I remember when my best friend, Joshua Pauken, and I were talking on MSN and he told me he had to go and that they just called for him to receive new lungs. I didn’t believe him for a second and then I received a call from him a minute later telling me, that after waiting 5 ½ years, it was official. The amount of emotions that were flowing through me could never be expressed. At the same time, a family was mourning over the loss of a loved one, while another family was celebrating for Josh’s new chance at life. Hearing families receive words of, “The surgery went well and he’s doing good,” or “Your daughter is now in recovery. There were no complications, the feeding tube is now placed so hopefully we will see positive results within the next month, and you can see her if you’d like (Qtd by Dr. Leinwand),” rung about memories of Josh’s recovery and my friend Ilene’s feeding tube placement. I almost went and told them about Ilene’s G-tube and how much it has helped her, but they all instantly sprout up and headed towards the recovery room.
In the end, I was satisfied with my choice of observation. Within the hour spent in the two rooms, I underwent feelings of sadness, gratitude, joy, sorrow, motivation, and comfort. I witnessed as families and loved ones came together during rough times to overcome the obstacle as one. Out of all the families that I observed, not one argued, instead, they all comforted, hugged, and smiled at one another. After watching all of this, I began to think a lot of my family and my close friends. Thoughts of how much I appreciate and love them started to make tears well in my eyes. So much of me wanted to just make a huge group hug with each and every one of them for an unlimited amount of time. This allowed me to see how humans interact amongst each other during troubling times. A handful of emotions were felt in just my 60 minutes, most of which were positive. So yeah, hospitals can be gloomy, depressing, and may protrude shivers through some individuals, but to me, they help shed a bright light of hopefulness and gratitude amongst my whole being.