report from the road

Hospitals are grim. I feel really grateful that I don't usually have to go anywhere near them, or even visit doctors at all. My mother had surgery yesterday, so I spent the first half of the day in a waiting room which in retrospect wasn't bad at all -- I was able to listen to my MP3 player and get some work done. But once she was brought out of recovery and up to her floor, I gave up on being able to concentrate. She was still groggy from the anesthetic, but would jolt awake every five minutes or so, confused and disoriented -- in part from the medications, but also because there is So. Much. Noise. in the hospital -- the IV machines are beeping, various alarms are going off up and down the hall, the deaf old people are shouting, the nurses are shouting louder than the old people, etc etc. The 90-something woman in the bed next to my mom lies on her back, mouth open, gasping loudly for air when she's asleep; when she's awake, she garbles incomprehensibly because they took her false teeth away. The nurses are good, but they're stretched very thin -- so you really need a family member or someone there to do basic care, like prevent the patient from tearing at the IV and the oxygen cord, give her sips of liquid, blow her nose, etc. But I don't know how anyone actually rests while they're in there, it's so loud and overwhelming.