The hospital is like a casino. With hallways that have no windows, a staff that goes all hours of the day – fresh as can be, and no clocks in public places…you can easily loose time here. Oh, and there is a buffet here (we call it a cafeteria).
The hospital is like a fire station. Joking, teasing, drama…but always ready to handle whatever comes. People live and work here…nuff said.
The hospital is like a school. There is lots of learning that goes on here, from the nurses and doctors receiving lectures and training, to the parents and patients being exposed to worlds of information that they never knew they needed to learn. Then there is the cafeteria…like all other school cafeterias.
The hospital is like camping. You sleep where you hang out, you shower in communal showers (and not everyday if you don’t feel like it), you have to make you bed each morning and reset it each evening, and the nurses get to see you at all hours of the day: just waking, fully awake, napping, eating, on the way to the shower, dirty, smelly, clean, with PJs on, in bed, etc.
The hospital is like a fishbowl. Without the ability to completely close off the room from the hallway and the nurses desk, there is always someone watching – even if they aren’t sitting there, they are connected to the alarms. The room that we have is in the hallway that leads back to the staff amenities: lounges, offices, sleep rooms, and elevators..so we get to see everyone…all the time. Even if we pull the curtain near the bed in the room, it’s still not completely sealed from the rest of the room. On top of that, everyone knows what you and the patient are doing….it’s good (sharing of information, constant concern and checking in) and it’s bad (sharing of information, constant concern and checking in).
The hospital is like a prison. There are guards at the front doors to even get into the hospital. You have to wear a wristband and a sticker. You have to go through another round of security at the entrance to the NICU, and if you are a visitor, you have to be in the visitor log and receive a photo ID. Only after all of that, are you allowed into the secure and locked unit – with restrictions on what/who you can have in your room. And that cafeteria thing. Ok, really it’s nowhere near a prison, but…..
The hospital is like the interstate. To paraphrase lyrics from a favorite song: we have left but we haven’t quite arrived. It’s a constant place and feeling of going somewhere, but being nowhere.
The hospital is unlike home.