The Rhythm of the Hospital

Throughout my life, I’ve always thought hospitals have had a certain rhythm to them.  There is a flurry of activity, a hum of voices and a little community of people doing their jobs and supporting their loved ones.

Yesterday, when we brought Chris to the ER, that rhythm was off from the very beginning.  It was eerily quiet in the ER, so they thankfully were able to get him right back to be seen, but it still just felt different.  Everything was moving so quickly as his pain was spiraling out of control.  For two hours, as we waited for the original surgeon who operated on him a week ago to arrive, the pain refused to subside.  Three shots of Dilaudid provided zero relief and it threw off the rhythm even more.

After running blood tests and tests on the fluid in his knee, it was determined that he had infection.  Possibly MRSA, in fact (it’s in the staph family if you’re not familiar).  Suddenly, a trip to the ER in hopes of pain relief was turning into emergency surgery.  Was it life or death?  No.  Was it urgent and something that couldn’t wait?  Yes.

The doc assembled his team, as people came in from their homes to perform the surgery.  There were questions from us, questions from them, all part of a rhythm that was unfamiliar.

I followed the team as they rolled the bed down the quiet hall at 8pm, kissed Chris, and told him I loved him as they rolled him into the OR.  One of the anesthesiologists escorted me to the waiting room, where I sat down and finally exhaled with relief.  He was in great hands.  They were fixing him.  It was going to get better, soon.

It was odd, being in a dimly lit waiting room all alone.  Apparently emergency surgeries aren’t all the rage here, so he was the only one in surgery on a quiet Friday night.

I sat alone for those two hours, trying to shake off the unfamiliar rhythm of flying solo in a place that’s normally filled with voices and action.  I thought about how things had unfolded and how the past two months of his pain had led us to this moment.  All unpredictable, and all out of our control.  All of these things had led us here; him on an operating table and me anxiously waiting.

In recovery, the rhythm shifted.  Everything became calm and warm.  Fuzzy, almost.  He had the recovery room all to himself with two nurses doting on his every need.  He was pain-free, happy and calm; all welcome things after the week he has had.  He came out of the anesthesia so well that he was able to be taken to his private room just an hour later.

We arrived to a corner room with a nice little window, and he happily approved of his accommodations.  We got him settled and acclimated to his nurses, and then, I went home to a bed where I could rest and to our animals who needed me.  Six hours later, I was back at the hospital greeting a sheepishly happy man.  I walked in the door and he said, “well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.  I missed you.”  Ditto, love.

Through such a time of uncertainty and fear, there had been calm and comfort in these last 24 hours for which I am thankful.

We will be here for a few days as he recuperates.  In sickness and in health, this is just one of the pieces of marriage.  He’s comfortable in his bed, his pain is under control, he’s soundly sleeping, and the rhythm is finally restored.


5 thoughts on “The Rhythm of the Hospital

  1. You are such a good writer. I think it comes from being an observer. Your description of rhythm is amazing…it took me there. Maybe someday you could turn this into a short story, starting with the facts and then maybe turning it into fiction with some embellishment. You have a talent with words for sure.

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