I came across photos recently of when my mother was first in the hospital, recovering from surgery after her delayed colon cancer diagnosis.
The photos were taken in the ICU, a day or two after her surgery. I thought they captured the conflicting set of emotions that family members experience when a loved one is in the hospital.
I paced many a hospital hallway in those days. When I needed a break from staring at Mom’s frail body hooked up to so many machines, I would stand in the doorway and watch the hushed but high activity taking place on the floor. People moaning uncontrollably in pain, relatives leaving a patient’s room looking pale and worried, children laughing and playing, blissfully unaware of the sadness and fear surrounding them.
There are so many emotions one experiences during these times, from fear and anxiety to hope and even a few much-needed laughs. Hospitals are like other worlds, with their own time structures, rules and cast of characters. For those working there, it’s just another day on the job, for patients, it can be a matter of life and death. Visiting relatives get to see it all.
While you learn a lot about humanity inside those hospital walls, I hope to never be back inside one, or at least not for a very long time.
What lessons have you learned from hospital visits?