So June and I are back in the hospital for the third time in a month. We intend for her to fully conquer this respiratory bug before going home so that we don’t have to rush back here any time soon. The docs believe she’s almost recovered though, so we might be released soon-ish. In the meantime, she’s very stable, joyous, and charming *everyone* here. The funny thing we’ve observed about serial hospital admissions is that you seem to get a swankier room each time. At least you do when they can’t rule out contagious airborne illnesses upon admission*. We’ve worked up to what seems like a hospital condo, or what I have dubbed our “hospi-condo,” a beautiful private room with digital tv, a pull out bed for me, and a full bath. It even came with a folded towel snail like on a cruise.
A few days ago I watched a helicopter land on an adjacent building while I ate breakfast. Simply put, and without speculating on the reason for its arrival, it was pretty cool.
For reference, this was our experience on the other units, including those from last year:
Level III NICU:
The NICUs at both hospitals we were at are pretty similar. The NICU takes up most of a hospital floor and can be accessed by several secure doors that are staffed and/or video monitored 24/7. The NICU is arranged into 7 or 8 “pods” which are large areas connected to each other by large open doorways. Each pod is arranged into 10-15 sections separated on two sides by partition walls but open to a common walkway. Each section has 3-4 babies and two nurses. Unless the baby is in an isolation room, the baby’s “bed space” includes the crib or isolette and room for machines and monitors on either side; maybe 8’x8′ total. It’s completely open, not enclosed or partitioned from other bed spaces, but rolling screens are on hand for breastfeeding moms to use. Accommodations for mom and dad include a reclining chair, if available, that can be placed near the crib, but it often has to be shimmied out of the way of people accessing the bed space or alternatively of people using the surrounding common walkway. A blanket and pillow could usually be obtained for parents camping out overnight. Most bed spaces didn’t have windows, and needless to say, no tv, bathroom, or guest bed, as is very appropriate- the precious space on this unit must be dedicated to the life saving machines and a low nurse-to-patient ratio. Families on this unit could always use Ronald McDonald house during the day for fridge, kitchen, showers, laundry, naps, and computer, and then there was an overnight stay room lottery. But so there are so many NICU patients, I rarely “won” a room for the night when on this unit.
Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU):
On the CVICU we shared a large room that was separated by curtains into three bedspaces. Sadly, there were no recliners. I sat in vinyl cushioned 4-legged chairs, and I usually snagged one with armrest bars. At night I could usually round up a second to put my feet on. We had a TV but it wasn’t working, and I preferred to sew or read anyway. There was a family room on the floor below where I could sleep in a reclining chair, but if I was going to sleep in a chair anyway, I preferred to be next to June. Blankets and pillows were always readily available to check out from that floor. We had a breathtaking view of the city from the room’s window. Our bedspace was furthest from the window, but they rotated post-op patients in and out of the bedspace near it so I got to admire the view close up pretty often. Families on this unit could also use Ronald McDonald house, and with far fewer patients, I almost always got a room (SO nice).
Emergency Center (EC) admissions:
These last three times we’ve been admitted via the EC. After initial exam we were given a small private room to wait for feedback from the doctors on whether we’d be admitted or treated and released. The room has a TV and two vinyl cushioned chairs. All three times we were ultimately admitted, so we waited in the room while the EC found an available bed on a unit that fit our needs. On our first unit admission, we were placed in a large room separated into four bedspaces by curtains. I had a lovely recliner and a working tv, but no private bathroom. On our second admission, we got a private room with a tv, private bath, a beautiful big window, and **most** importantly a pull out bed for me to sleep. No towel animals though. And now our third admission features the “hospi-condo” which seems big and sleek because it’s not on an intensive care unit, so there are no monitors or machines adorning every corner. Even the necessary equipment and hook-ups are hidden inside stylish roll back cabinets.
And this view.
Circumstances completely aside, it’s a comfortable place to spend a week.
*she’s negative for contagious airborne illness, thankfully, but we’ve been able to remain in the private room!