But through the flow of life, I have spent quite a bit of time in hospitals. I have been in really fancy hospital rooms, with guest beds, a couch, many chairs...the rooms they reserve for the families of people who are dying. I have served my time sitting in ICU. I have held hands with the most precious people in my life in small private rooms...and watched as they "coded." I watched the 2000 summer Olympics in a hospital room with my wife going through pre-term labor. I kept watch over my 2 week old only natural child in a hospital room, grabbing 2 hours of sleep here and there, waking to the sound of alarms on monitors, medication, IVs, nurses and more nurses. I've held the line with my good friend, waiting for the surgical outcome for his toddler son.
I've followed the maps of the halls; ridden the elevators, purchased and eaten the food...and there is nothing like hospital cafeterias...to their credit, they actually do a good job, most of them.
I've listened to doctors who cared, who were honest, who were concerned. I've listened to doctors who were an embarrassment to their profession.
I've spent my share of time in hospitals...and I hate them all.
People are honest in hospitals. Transparency is expected and accepted; a nod of familiarity among people who are staring into their own personal abyss. It's okay to cry in hospitals. It's okay to walk down the halls with tears on your face and Kleenex to your nose...in fact, there is honor in it. Everywhere else, we must wear the mask. "I'm okay, I'm tough, I'm in control of my emotions." But in the hospital, you aren't expected to be "in control."
I like that. I appreciate the acceptance. I tend to be transparent anyway, so...well, guys might cry once every two years...so it's nice to be in a place where you have permission.
I hate hospitals...but I know I'll be back. And I'll be honest...because I won't have a choice.