Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daylight Dawns

Daylight dawns on Sunday morning after spending the night in ICU tending to my mother-in-law. The paradoxes of a hospital stay abound. Throughout the day yesterday, she was encouraged to stay awake all day in order to reprogram her brain to get sleepy at night. So, we did our best to stimulate her during the day and keep her from sleeping too much.

And then arrives the night shift. Settled intermittently in a marginally comfortable lounge chair next to her bed, I observe throughout the night how ICU is anything but restful. Noisy carts are pushed up and down the halls at all hours----shouldn't they have silent rubber wheels? The patients' sleep is interrupted almost hourly: phlebotomy, respiratory therapy, blood pressure, medications, portable chest x-rays. Nurses and therapists come and go, some chatting loudly as they enter the room. A long night is made more exhausting by the irony of turning the clocks back one hour at 2am. A long night made longer.

As for me, I can make myself comfortable enough, but the constant interruptions, beeping monitors, nurses bustling in and out, noisy carts in the hallway---it's enough to drive one 'round the bend.

In one of our chats in the wee hours, my sweet mother-in-law and I joke about how much patience it takes to be a patient, and how little rest one gets in the hospital. I remark about how she was forced to stay awake during the day, only to be tortured throughout the night at the moment she had fallen asleep. She's not amused.

If I wasn't so tired, it would be funny. For now, the irony will have to do. One comes to the hospital for healing, but the nature of the hospital environment denies one the rest one so desires and needs. Oh, the irony of it all!
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