Been a Long Time

Ten Signs You’ve Been in the Hospital Too Long

10. You can’t wash your hands without a foot pedal

9. You get to a set of double doors and look for the admittance buzzer while other people walk around you and simply push the doors open

8. Perfect strangers have seen more of your body lately than your spouse has

7. You’re on a first-name basis with the housekeepers

6. Your digestion is aided by the constant application of hand-sanitizer

5. Medical device alarms have begun to sound soothing

4 The food no longer seems boring or expensive

3. Walking outside feels as novel as going on safari

2. You have your own ID badge now

1. Sleeping without interruptions feels inhumane

Compared to what many friends and family have experienced in terms of hospital stays (especially in NICU), I realize I haven’t been here long. But it can feel long when I see the rest of the world going camping, swimming, and generally celebrating the advent of summer weather. I do get to go home for 18-24 hours every so often. But even that feels like I’m on parole for good behavior. I still have to check in with the milk pump every three to four hours.

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My toddler takes photos of me at awkward moments

My little vacation in the hospital has its moments of feeling like I’m being held captive. Nothing illustrated this feeling better than the day I emerged from my shower to find on my pillow not a mint, but a bill. It told me how much I needed to pay before I could be discharged. Some people might call that a ransom note.

So while you enjoy your freedom today, please remember all the people who are bed-bound, home-bound, work-bound, grave-bound and generally bound for brighter days ahead. Today they just might be feeling like it’s been a long time since they felt free.

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