Hydration, however, is not what today's post is about. Nope.
After two nights alone in her hospital room, the Mama got a "roommate" who has a loving extended family to visit her. The Mama, in contrast, has loving me. The husband is sick so obviously cannot visit and Molly the Cat is not allowed in the hospital. The Mama had forbidden me from telling her friends where she was.
Before I go any further, let me say this: I have nothing against visitors in hospital rooms. But, I also expect visitors to act appropriately—such as talk quietly, be considerate of other patients, and recognize that a hospital is not a place to party hearty.
I continue. Yesterday, when I left the Mama after lunch, her "roommate" had four relatives visiting her. When I returned just before dinner, she had three different relatives around her. The hospital room is small, so without even trying you can overhear each side's conversation. The "roommate" and her relatives were very chatty. Because my mom has poor hearing, I sat on her bed as close as possible so I wouldn't TALK LOUDLY or even at my normal pitch.
The Mama did not look rested at all. "Did you sleep today?" I asked. She shook her head. "How come?" I asked. "I don't know," she replied. I had a feeling the "roommate" had chatty visitors all afternoon.
The Mama is very good about "sucking it up." Not me. Hello. We're in a hospital. There's a sign in the hallway that says "QUIET." I did my best to not pay attention to those TALKING LOUDLY on the other side of the thin curtain that separated the beds from each other. I also did my best not to get annoyed when those TALKING LOUDLY made me shudder like the sound of chalk squeaking on a chalkboard. The Mama drifted in and out of sleep. I did my best to not pay attention and not to be annoyed for 45 minutes. That's when I heard a fifth voice at the door.
I stood up, walked over to the curtain, pulled it aside, and looked around. They all looked at me. I didn't say a thing. One woman asked, "Are we too loud?"
"Yes. You are."
"Sorry. We'll try to be quiet."
"Thank you," I said, "This is a small room."
The not TALKING LOUDLY lasted 10 minutes. Maybe. But, I wasn't concerned about that anymore. Mama was feeling cold even with 5 blankets on her. The air conditioning was on and it seemed to be directed at her head. I pressed the red call button and told the nurse who answered that the Mama was feeling cold and could she please put the heat on her side of the room. Within a few seconds, the nurse was there, saying, "There's no way to regulate the room so that one side gets heat."
"My mom is cold," I replied. "She already has five blankets on her."
The nurse closed the curtain, talked with the other side, and came back. "The other patient feels hot," she said. "My mom is cold," I repeated. "Right," said the nurse.
The woman who asked me if they were too loud, called from the other side of the curtain, "My aunt is hot."
"My mom is cold," I said.
"You've told us we're too loud. You've got to give us something. You've got to work with us."
"I'm trying," I said when I really wanted to say: You knew you were loud without me even saying so. You weren't even trying to be considerate to the other patient in the room, just because she is quiet. And, I don't have to give you anything. This is a hospital. My mom is mending from pneumonia. She is cold. Why should she feel miserable? And why was your aunt put in this room anyway. Hers is a physical problem. She could catch whatever my mom has.
Fortunately, the nurse came up with a solution. I heard her ask, "Would you mind moving to another room? We have a few empty rooms."
"Fine," said the woman who asked me if they were too loud.
For the next 10 minutes, a lot of movement took place on the other side of the curtain. They TALKED LOUDLY. They called me names in their language, which obviously they didn't think I understood. I felt like responding, but like the Mama, I, too, can "suck it up" when it's better to do so.
"Is she going home?" asked the Mama groggily.
"No, she's being moved to another room."
"Because you feel cold and she feels hot."
"I don't have to have the heater."
"Yes, you do. You're cold."
I went over and tapped the shoulder of the woman who asked me if they were too loud. "I'm sorry," I said.
"It's fine," she said, huffily. "Now you can have your privacy."
"As you can, too," I said. Not adding what I felt like saying, Now you can TALK LOUDLY as much as you want and have as many people as you want in the room.
The nurse came back in. "Do you still want the room warmer?"
"Yes," I said. "My mom is cold."
"I've put it up to 80 degrees."
"That's great. I do that at home when she's feeling cold. Thank you." Then, I asked, "By the way, how many visitors can a patient have?"
"Three," the nurse mumbled. She turned to another nurse who was at the door. "Isn't it?"
"Two," that nurse said, almost under her breath.
It wasn't my intention to get the other patient and her clan moved to another room. But, I am glad it happened.
When I left the Mama sleeping an hour later, the hospital room was quiet and warm, as it ought to be.