It’s been a little while since I’ve really spent much time in the hospital visiting anyone, much less a family member. Yesterday I spent about an hour and then today about 6 hours with my step dad Bill Harlen. Bill has been married to my mom for many years now and he’s a great guy. Lately he has been suffering a lot of pain. As a recovering prostate cancer survivor, among other ailments, he manages to get around fairly well. His health has deteriorated over the last few weeks with him having much trouble breathing, intense pain in his stomach and abdomen. Then today as he was preparing to go home, he seemed to be disoriented and confused. He would wander off in his thoughts, mumbling things that sounded like gibberish and even once tried to escape the hospital room. This was very strange. After a consultation with the doctor when she questioned him with some very simple questions, he missed all three of them. This was also disconcerting. Nonetheless, they let him go home, which overall I feel was good for him, despite his behavior. His health had improved and there was nothing on the CAT scan which would compel them to keep him. So right now he is at home resting. Please keep him in your prayers.

Here are a few things I take away from my day at the hospital.

1) It’s full of sick people.

As much as this may seem like a “duh”! moment, it’s a point that must be made. Some people know what’s wrong while others don’t but people don’t end up in the hospital because they are well! This place is not a hotel. It’s not a resort. It’s a place for sick people to get well. It takes time, medicine, doctors, and perhaps even surgery for this to happen, but this is the place where it all goes down. No one goes because they want to be there but  because they want to be better.

2) The people who work there care about your health.

The nurses and doctors are there to help diagnose your problem and then to ensure you return to the best health possible as soon as you can. They work long hours, deal with difficult and sometimes nasty and disgusting situations because they are in the business of helping sick people. It’s no wonder why some of these doctors get paid a lot of money; they are not only knowledgable but they are commissioned with caring for your life!

3) When you’re well, you leave.

The time comes when health is restored and it’s time to get back to living. As evidenced by Bill today and others like him, there’s only so long people really want to be around “sick” people. Being locked in a room, hooked up to wires and tubes while watching Judge Judy is not something that many people endeavor to do longterm. The hope is that the day comes when the doctor says you are well and you can leave for home, work and being with family. That’s what hospitals are for, not to keep you from all that you love but to get you to the place so you can enjoy all that you love in a healthy way.

Thanks to all those who work in healthcare and hospitals. You are very special people!

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