I like hospitals. That sounds warped, but it's true. I've been a patient and a visitor, the bereaved and the relieved. Although I have had some bad experiences in the end - I still like hospitals.
In February this year I was rushed to emergency after a lingering annoying pain suddenly launched itself into an entirely new orbit. Everything hurt. Breathing hurt. Thinking hurt. Moving was unbearable.
At the hospital they did, admittedly, whisk away my dignity along with my clothing. Hospitals do that. I've been there before and so I now know that as long as you smile brightly, and don't look down, it is possible to hold a sane conversation when you're wearing nothing more than a serviette held together with a shoe lace. This time was no different. With that glorious logic of hospitals they took away all my clothing because I had a groin pain. Then they loaded me onto a trolley with my knees up and left me flashing heaven only knows what parts of myself to the passing throngs.
..but I did keep smiling brightly! Partially because it was icy cold in Emergency and my lips were frozen in that expression.
So why do I still like hospitals?
Because even though I was exposed to the elements, as well as passers by, everyone there was trying to find out why I hurt and make it stop. Because for every grumpy nurse I've had to endure I've met ten more who were human angels, but mostly because hospitals are such wonderful places to experience life.
In a hospital they do take away your clothes and your dignity, but it only makes your humanity that much clearer to see. You are left pared down to the "you" that lies beyond clothes, career, culture or race. No matter what the circumstances I have always walked out of a hospital having met at least one person who left me in awe or had an experience that changed me forever.
That is why I like hospitals.
That is why it is very probable that I will be writing more blog entries related to the topic of hospitals. Not for health or medical reasons, but simply because some of the most interesting and delightful people I have met in my life I have met in hospitals.
Now I suppose I had better return to that "me" lying shivering in Emergency in February and let you know what happened? I'm not here to write a blog on health issues so I'll keep it simple. They found what caused the pain and a month later I returned and had it sorted out. It was supposed to have been a week later, but I caught the flu/virus that everyone is complaining about and they had to postpone the operation for a month. Now I'm back home recuperating.
What is more important than my operation or illness is the fact that during the long boring days after the operation I found myself writing again. I say "again" because for the last few years I've written very little. Oh I have written lots literally - the odd writing job, personal writing of emails, journals and dozens of internet connections. I mean that writing from an inspirational viewpoint has fizzled almost completely.
I think I went into a kind of writer's block. A combination of the brain-shock of marrying and moving countries (from South Africa to Scotland) as well as the ego-shock of having lost my job a few months before I married. I had been working for a small local newspaper as an advice columnist-cum-astrologer. Then the paper changed hands and decided big full page adverts brought in more money than advice columns and that was the end of me! That was the end of my self-confidence as well. I loved that job and in one week it was gone. That hurt. A lot.
Writing is more than a pastime. It is my life, it is how I breath. I met my husband because I write. I have met all of my dearest friends via writing, in one way or another.
One of those friend's is convinced my recent operation was a key that unlocked my creativity once again. I have to say she looks like she's right. In hospital I scribbled the fox lady story on the back of a get well card and I have other notes and snippets that I saved written on my release form and in the margins of the book of crossword puzzles I took with me. It never occurred to me to take a note pad because I never feel the urge to note down anything anymore. For some reason that changed last month in hospital. I seem to be back, in fact even ahead of where I was four years ago.
Another reason why I can say "I like hospitals"? ;-)