Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Other Side of the Curtain

When I checked in for my surgery on Friday, the financial lady asked me if I'd like a private room. I had memories of my hospital roommates being up all night gibbering away with loud accents, of them snoring all night despte their sleep apnea/biPAP machine, and memory of mysteriously getting moved to a private room post my skin graft and actually getting some sleep. So, I said yes I'd be interested. Then she said, I'll need your credit card as it's $500 extra a night. *Cough, sputter, gag, um no thanks!*. The happy thoughts of a blissful recovery dissolved.

Therefore, i have a hospital roommate again. When I got wheeled into my room after the long night in the PACU, she introduced herself through the curtain. "Hi, my name is S. I have brain cancer how about you?". I replied "Nice to meet you, my name is L. I just had survey for cancer in my ankle.". Thus, the odd relationship through the curtain began.

It is an extraordinary thing. You take two people, two families, two social networks and throw in a mountain of stress, a flimsy curtain, some drugs, and a lot of pain and see what comes out. That there aren't frequent brawls might be amazing. But most people just live and let live. Most just accept the parallel life going on on the other side of the curtain.

We are privy to intimate details that no stranger should know about another person becuase there is simply nowhere to go to maintain true privacy,. I'm on complete bed rest, so i really can't go anywhere. She had a consultation that by all rights should be private, but I couldn't leave the other half if the room. My dad went and got coffee out of respect. I put on my noise cancelling headphones. It seemed only fair.

Although, at points yesterday while she prepared for brain surgery today, I didn't think I'd survive her visitors, all in all general courtesy still wins out. Her husband helped with some of the banal tasks of daily living i cant handle (closing curtains, or turning on a light, etc.) They really are very nice people, extraordinarily scared at what today holds. I understand this. I know this fear that can be palpable, it can be paralyzing. She went to the OR this morning for brain surgery. I wished her luck, told her I'd pray for her. She may come back here, she may not. I may begin the dance with someone new you never know.

I wish good luck to the Lady in the Other Side of the Curtain!


Cathleen said...

Such a heart warming story, thanks for sharing and I am saying prayers for her and you!!

agent99 said...

I am not the praying type, but I have been thinking about you over the past few days. I really hope this karma thing works, because you have some awesome mojo that should be coming your way.
The other days, I took care of patient who reminded me strongly of my own grandmother. Although I try to be as compasionate and gentle as possible with ALL patients, I decided that I would treat this woman with all the love and kindness I have held for my late grandmother....and in doing that I felt very peaceful.
I wish that every provided you meet treats you with half the campasion you obviously have for your own patients - and wish you a successful outcome.

Cousin Jack said...

Yo Lisa,

You are a terrific writer! It makes you laugh and cry at the same time. Sue was in the hospital once for 4 nights and I recall that exact situation for her roommate who also had cancer. We love cousin, keep writing!


Dr. Lisa said...

Thanks all, it is circumstances like this that make you appreciate every small kindness and removes any desire to allow evil or bad thoughts into your brain.

JaxMom said...

Guess I should have read the older posts first. Any word on her? I guess at $500/night, that private room should come with champaign, chocolates, massages, etc.