Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Hospitals are places devoid of joy. There is no hysterical laughter, no abundance of any kind of emotion - no effort to evoke any kind of feeling. At least on this high risk pregnancy floor - things are kept as quiet as possible. Mothers and their unborn babies are at risk. So be careful when you walk our halls, or all of hell might break loose. And if you're a Dr. making rounds, you especially don't want to become entangled in any one person's pregnancy hormones, so make your visits as brief as possible. Make sure you never fully enter a room. That you stand with one foot near the patient and the other as close to the exit as possible, as to make it known through your body language that you are not here to really listen, but to just make sure nothing's wrong.

I am not Anne here. I am Ms. Elser. And that's not the name I was born with. Why don't they put first names on the doors? What's with that crap? I mean, NO one calls me Ms. Elser. Or Ms. anything, for that matter. I am being absorbed by this place. I am patient #1714790 on a four sided mattress in a four walled room down a skinny hallway that I haven't seen since last Friday. Not that I'd want to see it anyway. It's just so fucking dreary.

There is not logic here. Especially in my own head. You can't reason depression away. It just IS. And it stems from being told to wait. WAIT.

Dante's first level of hell, called Limbo, is the best description of what's going on in my head I could find: Sorrow without torment. Peaceful, yet sad.

Level 1 - Limbo

Charon ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the brink of grief's abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

17 comments:

minus five said...

when my pa-pa was in the cancer ward, we played "name that year" in the hallway as we simultaneously played games of uno. "name that year" consisted of naming the year of people's hair and clothing. since it was in oklahoma, this was an endless amount of fun for us. we also made our game into songs. and there was a lady across the hall who never had visitors, but she always asked us for a cigarette even though she was dying of cancer and was hooked up to an oxygen tank. one day somebody was dumb enough to give her one.

why don't you ask them to call you by your first name? i would.

Nancy said...

My friend the nurse says that hospt.s are retraining nurses like mad in an attempt to change the culture to focus more on customer care (eg. posters in the hall with pithy sayings and pix of happy nurses and babies....notice no sad patients) but they are clearly missing the mark...with the exception of "warhorse nurse Judi" who I remember saying something wildly out of the script, then laughed "just kidding, just kidding". I loved that.
Dr.s in particular avoid at all costs asking personal questions. You are treated like an auto in a mechanics shop and they sometimes can fix you if you can recover
from the repair. I am sure they are doing the best they know but much is missed. I hate this saddness for you and wish Doug could safely spirit you away. Failing that, that he will be able to make time pass faster. Pat your tummy for me . i'm sending my love and prayers, Mom

Al said...

Unfortunately, you are right about hospitals, doctors, etc. The medical profession has taken on technologies with so much enthusiasm I often wonder if we are getting the right aplicants in medical school. It used to be more the people who were "people oriented" and had an interest in the humanities; now I think we are getting the quazi engineers and computer nerds applying. Further ,when they go through their training, they are taught to be educators (just provide the information). Statistics dictates the treatment, and time constraints mean there is no individualization.
Thanks for visiting my blog and hope you're feeling better soon.

SUhles said...

Doctors are dorks and so are nurses. Sad fact. While I respect, admire and am thankful for their ability to put the smack-down on tummy aches, serious sprains and the odd case of ebola, I've never met one that I was completely able to warm up to. Even Ava's pediatrician, who once dropped an F-bomb in front of me (I sort of dug it)leaves me a little cold. I think I subconciously believe they all have a needle with my name on it.
As a guy who, on occasion, has had my own cage rattled by depressive bouts, I feel for you. There's nothing like a serious case of the bummers - my own pet name - to sap any semblance of motivation right out of you.
At any rate, I'll be there this afternoon and maybe, if only for a few minutes, we can beat on the bummers.

Pack Rats said...

I spent everyday for 6 weeks with Dad in the hospital as he battled back from bypass surgery. What a a zoo. Of course, the cardiac wing is always extra busy I guess. You sought out the nurses who took the time to "care", ask how he was doing, made sure he was eating. Somedays were so hectic, we had to request several times for Dad to get a bath! And you know Uncle Jack, everyone loves him! It's a wierd time, the world seems to stop outside, you get your days mixed up, you lose your appetite, you need sunlight, you need to shop, you need to go to a favorite restaurant and have a great meal, you want normalcy. But, thanks to that staff, Dad came home and so will you..with a little treasure. May you find your happy thought.

MCALDWELLC said...

I'm so ready for you got get out of that fucking hospital. You sound miserable. I think I am going to go hire a homeless person on crack to wear a leopard print thong (only) and run through the halls of that place...just to shake things up a bit.

Tania Rochelle said...

Mary, you could do that for free. Except for the crack of course. You'd have to buy that.

Nancy said...

i regret what i said about dr.s. that was small of me. i was in a blaming mood. Please forgive me everyone.

Anne-Davnes said...

Mom - your comments were NOT small, but accurate. Maybe I'm asking the wrong kind of questions. I could asked to have statistics quoted to me until we're all blue in the face, but what I really want to ask are more personal questions like, "if it were you, your wife or daughter, what would you do?" I asked that of my first OB when we had just found out we were pregnant and with a different insurance company. He answered truthfuly. Then I asked him to tell me WHY he chose this area of medicine. And he answered again with conviction, "It's the most fun for me. I just love doing it." Being an educator, I had to agree with him that any student of mine should find the fun in the work easily.

SO, the plan is that from here until the day Bimpolatta arrives, I am going to ask every tech, nurse OB and Specialist why they personally chose this career and what they like about it most. I am going to break the bullshit barrier and find an answer that will make me feel more comortable with trusting an individual with the birth of my son. I want to know the person before I can let the doctor touch me. I think this will be a really healthy excercise. I just came to this idea after realizing how resentful I was of doctors and how powerless I felt around them.

Befor I let any professional person repair my body, car, house, I would want assurance that they themselves found the work gratifying and fulfilling for them on a personl level. Otherwise - without that passion, yer just kinda waisting time, no?

MCALDWELLC said...

a life without passion seems to be the norm, unfortunately. HOWEVER...those of us who are in the practice of changing other's lives...of healing others...of REALLY doing things of social or personal consequence ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY should be compelled by some sense of passion. otherwise, why? why do it? you and I know why we do what we do. there is purpose and passion behind it all. I say, if someone is willing to put george washington in your vagina, you should be able to ask what his or her passion is.

Nancy said...

I love the Bimpolatta Event. Is Bimp still excited?
You are doing a great job of taking care of yourself and your little package. This is a hard thing your doing. The hardest to just hold still for a long time. Do what ever you have to to just get through it and get darling Bimp on the other side.

love,
mom

p.s. i am very grateful to you wild and faithful friends out there. Clearly you are the pillow that she can cry and yell into. Thank you

Nancy said...

why is there a little garbage can at the bottom of only my messages?
it feels like a judgement.

minus five said...

anne's mom: don't feel judged by the trashcan. you only see it on your comments because you wrote them. that means only you and/or the blog author can delete them.

Nancy said...

Anne, I can't wait to read the results of your "career choice" research project questionairre. i wish you great cooperation from hospt. staff. are all included..like rose the food lady?

thank you minus five. hmmmm.
nancy

SUhles said...

Might I suggest you query the staff before, and not after, you unleash Nerf Hell on their unsuspecting asses. That's when you are well and truely being judged Nancy, wheh you find yourself at the business end of of a foam dart.

Doug Elser said...

i can safely say that i have never heard the phrase "business end of a foam dart" before tonight. thank you, steven, for yet another first.

Anne-Davnes said...

Mom - th eresults have been interseting do far. I'll post more abot them tomoeeoewr. This doc actually sat with tme and answered all my questuions,leaing me with a feeling of connection to a personw who loves what he does and is in the right group of people, setting, system for problem solving. i'll talk more when i';;msober tomorrow,ok?
love to all