A Night in the Hospital
Sometime around when I was 7, I spent one night in the hospital so the doctors could measure my stomach acid levels. At the time I had these inexplicable chest pains and they wanted to rule out some stuff.
I remember my mom being with me as we checked in at the hospital. It was the afternoon and I had fasted in preparation for the procedure. I felt scared and very hungry. There was some sort of a delay so the other kids in the room received their dinners. I buried my face in my mother’s chest and wept. When the nurse finally came, they had to get some sort of a tube down through my nose and into my stomach. The doctor told me I might tear up a little, but I cried again. A lot. “Swallow, you need to swallow now!” he kept telling me. Between my sobs I couldn’t manage a swallow for the longest time.
Someone, maybe the mother of a friend, had given me a sticker book. I sat in the bed and did stickers. I vaguely remember there being a playroom type area for patients as well, but when I went down I felt too awkward and quickly came back up to my bed. In the bed next to me was a little boy who had had a surgery (I think). The nurses had to help him go to the bathroom.
Nobody had told me to the rules of the hospital, and so when I woke up at night needing to use the bathroom, I tried my hardest to hold it. Was I allowed to go across the hall to use the bathrooms? Or did I have to stay in my room? The point of desperation finally hit and I quickly, silently padded down the hall and across into the bathrooms. But now what? The floor was silent except for the sounds of muffled conversation coming from the nurse’s office at the end of the hall. I knew that my friend never flushed during the nighttime, but my family did. Was I allowed to flush here? Everyone might wake up! But I couldn’t not flush…
I hit the handle and rushed back to my bed. “Hello? Is anyone up?” The nurse had heard. I dove under the covers and tried to slow down my breathing. She poked her head in: “everyone ok?” She kept walking. Safe.