Given that this was my Grandma's third multiple day hospital stay this year, I have recently begun to consider myself a professional in the hospital visiting world.
For being almost 90, my grandmother is in fairly good health except for the fact that she has horrible asthma that makes her susceptible to pneumonia. This time around, her blood pressure was quickly approaching the line that would put her in the "stroke zone".
I got off work on Tuesday night and went by to see her at her nursing home, she was carrying on conversation just fine and was eating dinner while she talked to me.
24 hours later, she was completely out of it and was not only unable to maintain a conversation but would not make eye contact with you. This would later lead to MRIs.
The thing that is difficult to adjust to when being at the hospital 8-12 hours a day is the fact that the hospital is completely self sufficient. Like a hotel, it's always light inside and there are always people walking around. There would be days when I would get there in the morning and not leave until night and have no idea what time it is.
The thing I like most about hospitals is the demeanor of other people. Between the three trips to the hospital this year alone, I have met people in elevators and in line in the cafeteria who have provided me with such support and inspiration.
This time, I was standing in the hallway outside her hospital room door, just taking a minute to regroup and breathe when a random person took time to ask me if I was alright and to tell me that everything is going to be okay.
There's something about meeting people who are going through similar scenarios that brings down their guard. In the real world, strangers go out of their way to avoid conversation, in the hospital world, it is these conversations that provide the words that are needed to carry on.
The last thing and my favorite is the way the dynamics of my family quickly changes when it needs to. This is a family who is full of nothing but drama and criticism. But the minute we get the call that we need to be there, every petty argument is left at home and we create a united front. We are suddenly a family, loving each other because of our flaws and caring about each other enough to know who is diabetic and needs constant snacks, who needs to leave the room to smoke or regroup.
At one point, we had been there 7 hours and I looked around to see us all look the same way, tired, hungry, in need of a shower and fresh air, but laughing and reflecting. Talking about old memories and Christmas plans.
Although never in a million years did I imagine I would be spending my Christmas eve and Christmas day this way, although I wanted to cry and moan about how unfair this was, I am beyond thankful that my grandma is okay, I am beyond thankful that although the conditions were not ideal, I had the opportunity to spend time with my family in a way that would bring us closer together.