[Good luck and best wishes to Danica Avet, one of our Foxes, whose new book, “Primal Song” comes out today.]
I have had an unfortunately large proportion of experiences in doctors’ offices and hospitals, but finding a suitable one has been a challenge.
Let me tell you this one.
I had given birth a couple of days before when a lovely woman, probably my age,(I had turned 32 about a week before), walked gingerly into my room.
“Hi”, she said, “My name is Julie and I’m a volunteer here at the hospital. Can I come in and talk with you?”
I was game; I was alone, as my roommate had gone home with her baby. I assumed the hospital wanted feed-back, after all, they had just done a huge remodeling and had re-vamped their maternity ward; they had even moved it down a floor. There was a great deal of competition among the many local hospitals for business in Denver at that time, in fact, my doctors had wanted me to go to another hospital where they were moving most of their practice, even though this one was across the street from their office. But we traveled a fair distance to go to these doctors and that hospital, the other one, was almost as far again from our home. Plus, this particular hospital was a Catholic hospital, and that was important to my husband.(Which was really touching or really frightening, as he feared one of us may be at death’s door at any time).
When I related to the woman the trouble the nurses had with the ‘appliance’ that was needed for general anesthesia patients, she looked ill and voiced terror. When I told her that I had awakened in the middle of my cesarean section, she groaned and nearly fainted. That got me feeling sorry for her, so I joked. Suddenly in the middle of the next story she said, “You’ll be fine, you have a good sense of humor”. I finished whatever I had on my mind and she repeated the phrase, “You have a sense of humor; you’ll be fine”.
By that time I said, “Yes, I have to have a sense of humor”. She then said to me that she had started volunteering after she felt better herself, as she had a baby a few years before and had suffered from post-partum depression It seems the nurses had sent her in to me because they thought I, too, had PPD. I said, “Why?” The answer: because I kept sending the baby back to the nursery! The gloves came off! My husband was working long hours, my sister was, too. I had no close gal-pals and the women I knew all had their own little ones. My mother was caring for my other son. This was my second C-section in 16 ½ month and pain pills did not work well on me. I fell asleep a few times while holding the baby; I could have easily dropped him. There I was, alone, hooked-up to tubes, down a corridor and around a corner from the nurse’s station…and in the ‘brilliance’ of their redesign, I was a couple of doors down from the psychiatric ward. I could not have saved myself if some very troubled person escaped, let alone protected my baby.
A few years latter I had day surgery at the other hospital. I did not have to see the maternity ward to know that we had made the wrong choice before. I also heard that the hospital I went to decided that the psych ward was not comforting to the new moms who were out of sight of the nursing staff , so they changed it around once again. DUH.