Joy (cithra) wrote,

'normal' is merely what we know

So I'm blithely looking up visiting hours on the Northwest Hospital's web site (11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. generally speaking), planning to go out and visit Chris this afternoon, and I come to a paragraph talking about paperwork that mentions in passing how daunting both the intake process and being in the hospital at all can be.

I read this with mild surprise at first. Daunting? the hospital? Boring maybe, but... and then it occurred to me that I grew up spending a fair bit of time in hospital waiting rooms, visiting centers, and so forth. And that, just perhaps, what seems perfectly normal and routine to me could in actuality be a trifle unusual.

Having older parents (my mother was 40 when I was born, my father 44) meant having older grandparents as well, and for most of my childhood we had first my paternal grandfather and then my maternal grandmother living with us as their health worsened. My grandmother in particular was in and out of hospital and nursing home both over a number of years, giving me ample opportunity to become very used to hanging out in hospital waiting rooms, with visiting protocols, and so forth.

Plus, as I just remembered, I spent a year or two in high school volunteering as a 'candy-striper' at the hospital in Bremerton. Low end, really routine tasks like wiping down IV stands with alcohol to clean them, watching the phones, delivering flowers and answering call lights - but it gave me time and means to get over any residual discomfort from the locale.

The upshot being, combined with the phys-anth training and medical terminology knowledge, I'm pretty blase about the whole thing. And of course, anything that familiar to me from childhood must be an experience that everybody shares, perfectly normal...

Anyway - I shall endeavor to remember it is not.

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