Hospital Cat

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In speaking with my sweetheart that other night, I had a real epiphany as to exactly why I am so uncomfortable in the hospital.

I expected physical discomfort, and I’m okay with that. I’m actually a pretty tough old bird. The nurses are super-kind, and my doctor was excellent. The surgery went really well. The food – well, it is what it is, right? I was on clear fluids for the first three days, anyway, so really, no biggie. It’s kind of boring there. There’s really not much to do, but I wasn’t there very long, and was on sooo much medication that I really didn’t even notice I was bored until about day four. Plus, Den spent hours and hours with me there, keeping me company and anticipating my needs.

My first thought was that the lack of privacy was the issue. The door is always open, and one of the nurses had an irritating habit of flinging the curtains open so that I was staring directly into the beady little bird eyes of my insomniac, octogenarian roommate. Nurses, cleaners, nutritionists, doctors. In and out, all day, all night. I find the hospital to be waaaaay too warm for good sleeping, but I can’t in good conscious strip down with all those people flitting in and out, so I’m uncomfortable, too.

But it’s not precisely the lack of privacy that’s the issue, there’s something a little deeper at stake, and here’s what it is: I feel like I give up the right to the privacy of my own body. Suddenly, people I do not know have my permission to touch me. People want to see things that they should not see. My catheter bag is proudly on display, and I’m warned NOT to flush my next poop, so they can look at it. I “forget” and do it anyway. They want to talk about things that I’m not comfortable talking about, but I know they need to be discussed.

I’m considered a good patient, I think. I want to do as much as I can for myself as soon as possible, but I listen to instructions and follow the rules, mostly (sorry about the poop). I’m polite and pleasant.

However, Cat Person that I am, I wanted mostly just to bury my poops and be left alone to sleep. I’m a one-person cat. I will choose who touches me, thank you. I don’t quite go so far as to actually bite anyone, though.

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One response »

  1. When I was 14, I spent 5 weeks in the hospital, in traction, unable to move anything above my lower ribcage. To say that it sucked mightily is a vast understatement. I couldn’t move my head, so I couldn’t actually bite anyone, but BOY HOWDY did I want to.

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