I’ve signed onto The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2021.
The challenge is to blog the whole alphabet in April and write at least 100 words on a topic that corresponds to the letter of the day.
Every day, excluding Sundays, I’m blogging about Places I Have Been. The last post will be on Friday, April 30 when I finally focus on the letter Z.
I counted up all the hospitals I have worked in during the 40-plus years I have been a nurse. The total is 18. These are the hospitals where I was officially employed. That is, I attended an orientation, worked forty hours a week and received a regular paycheck.
It doesn’t include the hospitals I visited as a nursing instructor when I had to review patient charts in order to choose appropriate student assignments.
It doesn’t include the hospitals that I visited to enroll a patient in a home care program.
It doesn’t include the community hospitals that I visited to evaluate the care that veterans received (I worked for the VA at the time).
So, I have been in many hospitals. Hospitals prompt a plethora of memories.
The newer hospitals don’t stir up remembrances. They are disguised as hotels. Sterile. I suppose that’s desirable in reassuring patients and visitors that germs are kept in check. The older hospitals, to me, expose the nursing effort of caring for patients at a critical time in their lives—sometimes with success and sometimes with failure.
I visited an older hospital in 2001, right before I retired, to enroll a patient in a hospice program. The hospital was a small community facility that had little renovation over the years.
I needed to copy a form. The xerox machine was in the basement. I hiked down the stairway. On opening the door, humidity from steam heat, warm ovens in the kitchen and the noise of the washers and dryers immediately assaulted me.
This was a functional basement of hospitals of long ago.
Jolted by the sensory stimulus surrounding me, I trekked along the long corridor feeling as if I was twenty years old, wearing a white uniform, spotless white shoes and starched nursing cap held with bobby pins on the top of my head. My life in nursing, unlived, still ahead of me.
Lost in nostalgia, I almost forgot to look for the Xerox machine.