Having had one gallbladder and one baby extracted from my body, and two more pushed out the old-fashioned way (babies, not gallbladders), I’ve spent my fair share of time in hospitals. Though each stay was different (e.g. goodbye major organ and the ability to drink coffee without immediately pooping vs. hello adorable newborn!), I have encountered the same kinds of people each time I’ve donned the open-in-the-back gown and confused the TV remote for the nurse call button. Don’t get me wrong, there are phenomenal physicians and remarkable RN’s out there, it’s just that I rarely run into them…
1. The Complainer: Being in the hospital is no walk in the park, but The Complainer grumbles about everything, from the thread-count of the sheets to the harsh lighting of the fluorescent bulbs.The Complainer does not appreciate the rare commodities of room service, zero laundry, and minimal responsibility.
2. Dr. Zero Bedside Manner: I have personally experienced this doctor when he announced, on the heels of a joke, that my baby had holes in her heart. Dr. Zero has terrible comedic timing, waning compassion, and from the frequent glances at his watch, no time for you and your “issues.”
3. Chatty Cathy: Where does this woman come from?! Is she on staff? A patient? No one knows, but, like an apparition, she materializes at your door and then never. stops. talking. She wants to compare insurance coverage, but you just want to nap. Good luck with that.
4. Nurse Doom & Gloom: Meet Negative Nancy’s cousin, Nurse Doom & Gloom. She will corner you, probably during your first postpartum poo, and rage on about her under-active thyroid or the depletion of natural resources. You will nod quietly as she works up a frenzied sweat, afraid to interrupt because of her easy access to needles.
5. Hospital Photographer: No means no, woman, now get the hell out.
6. Nazi Lactation Consultant: The Nazi LC’s strict, no-nonsense approach to her (or HIS, as was my experience) job comes standard in other Nazi hospital employees. The NLC makes you feel like a horrific mother if your baby doesn’t latch, or–godforbid!–you say eff it and opt for formula. Not all LC’s are like this; just the ones with Nazi prefacing their name. You will recognize the Nazi from the helpful LC’s by their thin mustaches and the way they smash your baby’s face into your sore nipples.
7. Nosy Janitor. Listen to me carefully: Make friends with this person. He’s going to ask where you’re from, what you do for a living, and he’ll probably inquire about your burgeoning hemorrhoids. Answer all of the questions with a smile because the Nosy Janitor is your connection to extra pillows, warmer blankets, and if you establish a good rapport right off the bat, he will look the other way when he dumps your garbage and those empty Blue Moon bottles come a’tumblin’ out. What? They were a gift.
8. Over Zealous Religious Leader: A quiet knock on your door and there he is in all his glory. No, not Jesus, but some guy who wants to pray, loudly, with you. I’m not anti-prayer, but I’m anti-stranger-in-my-room-while-my-tush-is-hanging-out-the-back-and-my-boob-is-hanging-out-the-front-of-my-hospital-gown. Amen.
9. The Disgruntled Employee: The Disgruntled Employee can make or break your hospital stay. He hates his job, and he wants you on his Misery Loves Company bandwagon. While changing your bedding, the DE starts ranting about the “middle man” that provides the hospital linens: “QUALITY IS DOWN AND PRICES ARE UP! SUPPLY AND DEMAND IS A BITCH!” Valid complaint, but I’m going to focus my anger on this Greek yogurt craze. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO FRUIT-ON-THE-BOTTOM?
10. The Storyteller: This variety of hospital employee has no boundaries, personal or spatial. Once, an off-duty nurse actually sat in my room, divulging all the sordid details of her crumbling marriage while I watched the required “shaken baby” video. Talk about a double shot to the ol’ hormones. The whole situation was the epitome of disconcerting, but since she seemed like she needed a shoulder to cry on, I offered The Storyteller mine. She gave me extra ice packets for my mesh undies, though, so I didn’t mind too much.
Related post: The Vacation of Giving Birth