| Jinny’s article this week will be written by her daughter, Adele.
I want to begin this by telling everyone that my mother has been spending a few days in her favorite spa, the hospital. She is home now, but not up to writing quite yet.
When I visited my mother in the hospital, a place which does not appear anywhere near the top of my favorite places list, it brought back to me the many humiliations I experienced in a hospital setting. It was not a warm and fuzzy memory.
My first child was born in a teaching hospital, which, by definition, means that there are numerous people wandering around who are there to learn and observe. My doctor asked if I would mind if an Intern came in and observed when I delivered my son. I was OK with that; what’s one lousy medical student?
When I was in ful on labor, the doctor trotted in with six interns in tow. I only registered this in a vague kind of way since I was in excruciating pain at the time and not fully lucid. Behind the young doctors came a handful of student nurses. At least, I think they were nurses. They may have been real estate agents for all I know. At any rate, the room was getting crowded.
My poor husband was looking pretty bad. Not that I cared very much since I was having some fairly homicidal thoughts about him at that moment. I remember him looking around the crowded room with a dazed look on his face.
Some more people came into the room. It may have been the janitor and a small religious cult. All I could think, in my haze of torment, was that the room was beginning to look like a scene from a Marx Brothers movie when they put about 100 people in one ocean liner stateroom. Fortunately, I was too far gone to be humiliated. They could have brought in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for all I cared.
I can recall other occasions when I ended up pondering the indignities of illness. Like, for instance, that nasty hospital gown that everyone fears and hates. The one that ties in the back. I asked once, and was told that it was designed that way so that doctors could examine you easily while preserving your modesty. That works great if your problem happens to be somewhere behind you. Unfortunately, my problems seemed to always involve the front of me rather than the back and I can’t recall my modesty being preserved…ever. I guess it’s a darned good thing that I don’t worry too much about stuff like that.
The day before yesterday I had to take my lunch hour and go home and fetch something I had forgotten that morning. I was dressed in my usual, suit with skirt and high heels. This would not have been a problem if I could have just walked through the door. Sadly, I couldn’t. I had forgotten my house key. I was locked out. The only access into the house was a window in the kitchen that I knew was not locked. The window in question is about 4 feet or so from the ground. I’m 5’3” on a good day and I was wearing 3” heels. You do the math.
Fortunately, I am in fairly good shape for a woman of a certain age and jumping up to the window and crawling in would not be a monumental problem if I were dressed for that sort of activity. Getting in the window in a short skirt, pantyhose, and 3” heels, however, is another matter entirely. Nevertheless, necessity being what it is, it had to be done. I removed my high heels, gritted my teeth, said a short prayer for the life of my pantyhose, and heaved all 120 pounds of me up into the window.
Bonnie, my dog, was sitting on the floor inside the kitchen staring at me with an expression that suggested that I might have gone entirely sack of hammers at last. I pretty much agreed with her. After a small struggle, I landed in the kitchen safe and uninjured, pantyhose intact. I felt rather proud of myself. I also felt incredibly grateful that the kitchen window was at the back of the house.
My philosophy is simple. When faced with a potentially humiliating situation brazen it out and go for broke. Pretend you don’t care and someone might actually believe it’s true.