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Elaine Benton Headshot

Frequent Hospitalisation

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Anyone living with chronic disease like myself, probably experiences frequent hospitalisation. I often wonder if there should be a special club, as with airline companies who have a frequent flyer card, hospitals could create a "frequent hospitalisation club". I somehow doubt this would be anywhere near as enticing as flying all over the world and getting upgraded to business class. No one in their right mind wants to be hospitalised on a regular basis, but some of us are not afforded the choice. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't expect a bed with monogrammed sheets or a tempting gourmet menu offering a mouth watering speciality of the day, but simply having hospital pyjamas that actually fit might very well make a nice change.

There appears to be a "one size fits all" policy, but unlike the popular brand shops who fashionably sport this unique size that I believe is a total myth; the hospital's one size fits all, literally does fit everyone! I am swamped in these oversized tent like pyjamas which inevitably don't stay up, as the elastic far too loose needs more than willpower to hold up as gravity pulls them ever south. I usually opt for nightgowns, which at least alleviate elastic waistband problems. Here again the "one size fits all" leaves me swimming in enough material to make a duvet cover and pillow slip, should I suffer insomnia and get bored in the middle of the night, with a sewing kit I could get quite creative. In the well loved film "The Sound of Music", Maria (played by Julie Andrews) made outfits for the seven Von Trapp children from curtains. Just think what you could do with meters of hospital night gown fabric!

I've had quite a number of operations during my life, and undergoing hip surgery a few years ago, I am so familiar with pre-operation procedures, I took it all in my stride. However, I did have to laugh when the surgeon drew a large arrow with a black marker on my leg indicating which one was to be operated, ensuring no mistakes once I lay unconscious on the operating table. The wrist band with my name on it, was reassuringly checked several times before I was finally wheeled into the operating room, where it is always so cold, I feel as if I have arrived at the North Pole. But alas no reindeer, cookies or hot chocolate, just a warm blanket that is placed over me until the anaesthesiologist asks me to count back from ten. "10, 9, 8" is probably as far as I've ever managed to get before blissfully falling under his spell (or rather from the anaesthetic that's entered my veins). As long as I'm out for the count, and I can't see or hear anything, I'm just fine. When I eventually open my eyes, I find I've magically returned from the North Pole and thankfully find myself in a warmer climate of the recovery ward, with my dearest husband's smiling face reassuringly looking into mine.

Hospital staff adhere to a strict efficient routine, keeping a ward running smoothly and are often under tremendous pressure, working long hours, covering day or night shifts. This schedule is occasionally adjusted when an emergency case suddenly appears, therefore when I am hospitalized, I am aware of these factors and have patience and understanding towards hospital staff whose work is far from easy.

Have you ever noticed how quick people are to complain, yet often forget to say thank you?

Acknowledging and thanking someone takes just a moment, but is of great importance to the person being thanked. So often people are left feeling taken advantage of, or that no one really cares or notices. Saying "thank you" can truly lift a person's spirits and make them feel appreciated. If you are hospitalised, please make sure to thank any hospital staff who have taken care of you.

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