How-to guide: surviving a night in hospital

1. If a nurse accompanies you down to the theatre and then, finding that the surgeons aren't quite ready for you yet, taps her fingers on the side of your bed, saying, 'come on, come on, anaesthetist, I've got things to do' and 'I wish there was a chair in here; at least I could have a sit-down', try to excrete something from an orifice - any orifice - and say, 'I hated to see you just standing there bored'.

2. If, after your operation, you are wheeled into a ward in which there is an old lady shouting, 'Mother! Mother! Stop your dressmaking! Where's my dinner? BRING ME MY DINNER! Where's my red tray? BRING ME MY RED TRAY! Clive, stop that! Stop your dressmaking! The police are coming! That red tray was the first tray I ever had!', ask the person wheeling your bed along to make a rapid turn to the right and leave you in the corridor. Should you not do so, you will find that a whole night of this does not a peaceful post-op recovery make.

3. If you have had an abdominal operation, you will discover that there are approximately one hundred and eighteen approaches to getting out of a hospital bed which you can attempt to undertake on your own. Unfortunately, none of them work, so this is the time to ring for the nurse.

4. Remember that hospital showers are not like home showers where you climb into a separate compartment or bath. They are more like wet rooms with a slight dip in the floor so that the water can run down into the plug. However, the floor will get wet for some distance around the shower. This means that where you put your slippers, clean pyjamas and toothbrush will matter.

5. What you understand to be the definitions of the terms 'porridge', 'toast' and 'pineapple juice' will not necessarily be what the hospital caterers understand. Remember this when obediently eating up your industrial glue, pieces of wet shoe leather and disinfectant with added Vitamin C.


  1. Oh my. Riding buses sounds like more fun! But this was very funny. Hope you recover quickly.

  2. Ha ha good post. I hate hospitals!

    Kate x

  3. Oh miss, I know it all so well, having had a great many overnight and longer stays in just such circumstances. You forgot the bit about the very early morning wake-up call, the last thing at night clatter and clutter with pill trolleys, the old lady next to you mistaking you for an ever available recipient of her ramblings about the intricacies of her family life (if she's with it) and (if not) her inability to understand that you are poorly and pestering you for endless assistance.

    However, the nurses' conversations over your head while they're rummaging in your sheets which have come adrift on the plastic layer between you and the mattress may give you a fair bit of blogging material. I hope you were awake enough to make lots of mental notes.

    Get well soon!

  4. Yes, Lesley, riding buses is more fun. And doesn't do (quite) so much damage to your internal organs.

  5. Friko, I can tell you've been there. You know it all very well.

  6. Get well soon! You forgot the 'waking you up to give you a sleeping pill' part.

  7. Thank God they didn't amputate your wit. Get well soon Fran!

  8. Yes, me too - It sounds so familiar - made me laugh (and you know how that hurts at mo.)

    Well, at least it's over for you now. Will catch up details by e-mails. Hope it's helped you m'dear.

    Now get your feet up and take it easy (audible laughter!)


  9. Get well soon, Fran! Hope you remembered your nose plug. HATE the smell of hospitals.

  10. Laura - that old lady in the corner shouting about the red tray made damn sure that any sleeping pill's effects were null and void.

  11. Yes, Mark, it's all a case of where they draw the arrows.

  12. Bluestocking - the problem is with laughing is that you only realise afterwards how much it hurts, and then, tell me, why is it that this makes you want to laugh more, and just make it all ten times worse? Life is a mystery.

  13. Thanks, Maya. No, I forgot the nose plug. A noise plug would have been handy, though.

  14. Have had similar experiences, not just in the US, but in Mexico during the 4 year span of my first "retirement." Dear Lord. Here's to your good health!

  15. Went and got a flu shot Monday, or Tuesday.
    Had some strange reactions.
    First of all, I'm running a bit of a fever
    and my left arm fell off temporarily.
    But the funniest thing was that my eyes
    sucked back into my head and switched sides
    so now my right eye is hooked up
    to the right side of my brain
    and my left eye is hooked up
    to the left side of my brain.
    This sort of thing can give one
    a whole new outlook on life.

  16. Hope you're feeing better! Last time I was in the hospital they forced me to leave with a crying, pooping little baby. I just thought I was going in for a routine liposuction procedure...

  17. I'm absolutely sure that sort of thing can, Lane Savant! Thanks for dropping by. Hope you feel better soon.

  18. So, Amanda, somewhere there's a lady who thought she was coming out with a baby and who is still puzzled by her flab.

  19. This post reminds me so much of my open-heart surgery just over three years ago. Your chest bone is sawed open,5 by-pass veins are stitched into your heart after being taken from your right leg and the whole mess closed with one-inch staples and then stitches.After being drugged out for four days they decide that it's time for you and your IVs to sit up in the reclining chair in your room. Whoa Nellie! It ain't easy but it's routine! Your room's bathroom was designed by a former small animal veterinarian for washing the family dog... My best. Count Sneaky

  20. Count, thank you for the long and full description of your operation. I trust, as this was 3 years ago, you are now eating solids and sitting more or less upright. It sounds traumatic.


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