Leaving the hospital

goodbyeI’m leaving the hospital! The staff would have had me stay longer but I told them I have little kids who are really missing me.  I also told them this last week and they told me there’s no doctor in the world who would release me in the state I was in.  But now it’s okay.

I am so grateful for this hospital experience.  I’ve unfortunately had a lot of experiences with hospitals in the last 22 months – two different wards for me after my last birth, six hospital stays with three of my kids that were each at least ten days long, then my mom had two hip replacement surgeries and was in the orthopedic ward and then a couple more weeks each time in the rehabilitation hospital and now I’m here.  So I’ve seen a number of different hospitals and different units and have plenty to compare to.

My stay here has been wonderful.  The staff has been compassionate, kind, respectful and reassuring.  I had a very pleasant roommate for my first four days who didn’t have any visitors and came over to introduce herself to me and to wish me well.  She looked me in the face the first morning that my bandages came off without flinching – she’s the only one except the staff who was able to do that except for dd19 – she talked to me the way she would have spoken to anyone.  When she left I hoped that I would get another roommate that was just as nice since I felt very fragile and didn’t want someone who would fill the room with lots of loud visitors at all hours of day.

Early Friday morning I got my new roommate, whose husband was verbally abusive and I didn’t know how long I could bear what I was hearing through the curtain.  They took her for surgery less than an hour after she got here and then the nurse told me she was going to transfer me to another room.

I really didn’t want to transfer.  I felt very vulnerable and my room was the last one along the corridor, on the far side of the room, where people couldn’t peer in and see me when they were walking by.  I was afraid to be in the bed next to the door, to have a roommate who would gape at me, visitors who would stare at me….I didn’t want to step out of my room and definitely didn’t want to have a new roommate watching me as I came in and got resettled.

I told the nurse I didn’t want to transfer.  She said there’s nothing she could do.  I told her it would be really hard for me.  She told me she has to move me because of concerns about me getting an infection from the person in my room who is having surgery, and they can’t put two surgery patients together.  (I’m in the burn unit but it’s combined with a surgical unit – there was only one other person here with a burn during my hospital stay so everyone else is here for some kind of surgery.  That’s why I’m noticeable, even here I look unusual.)  I asked her if they did  move me if I could be on the far side of the room and she briskly told me that there’s no way for them to guarantee that.  I wanted to ask her why she couldn’t move my roommate, who had only been in the room for less than an hour, but that sounded like a petulant child so I didn’t say anything.

A few hours later I noticed that they had taken the belongings of my new roommate away and put her in a different room.  Without saying anything to me, they decided to leave me where I was; although I didn’t make a big deal about it, they realized that I was distressed to move and changed their plans to accommodate me.

Aside from giving me a feeling of security that I could stay where I was, I had the luxury on Shabbos of having my own room (that continued for an amazing four days!).  I was able to close the door to my room and have an unusual amount of privacy for a hospital patient.

I didn’t think my feeling of privacy would last long – my experience in all the other hospitalizations is that the staff habitually fling curtains opens, turn on lights irrespective of the time of day or night and chastise you if you make any attempt to turn off the overhead light or close the door.

Do you know what happened here?  For the entire time I’ve been able to have only natural daylight in my room and keep the bright overhead lighting off.  One of the first days a nurse asked why the lights were off and turned them on, but when it was evening I turned them off again and no one said anything again.  For a week and a half!  A couple of times when they came in the late evening to take my stats they turned on a little side light but even then turned it off when they finished, without me saying anything.

When I closed the door, no one told me I wasn’t allowed to do that.  In fact, some of the nurses and cleaning staff even knocked before they came in!  Knocking, in a hospital!  To me this is a contradiction in terms.  Almost all of them closed the door behind them when they went out.  They not only sensed my desire for privacy but have actively been respectful of that.

I have a window on my side of the room and I’ve been able to keep it open all day and most nights and have plenty of fresh air.  I’ve been able to talk to my family on the phone without worrying about disturbing a roommate.  I’ve been able to listen to relaxing music and an audiobook played aloud.  Since each room has an adjoining bathroom, I had my own bathroom and didn’t have to time my showers or bathroom visits with my anyone else’s needs.

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression – it’s not at all like being at a luxury hotel – but hospitals can be a hard place to be emotionally when you need to recuperate.  God clearly knew I needed a lot of quiet and space to feel my way through this situation and find a perspective that is nurturing and respectful of myself.

I wasn’t sure when I would be ready to leave, and for a while I wondered if I’d ever be ready.  Yesterday I felt a strong tug that I needed to go home because of my kids, but I didn’t feel ready yet.  Making the decision to stay one more day has given me a chance to have a sense of closure and to express my gratitude to the nurses who were so kind to me at a time when I really needed that kindness.  I wrote a letter to all the staff here – and noted on the envelope that it included the cleaning lady – to tell them how much their compassion and sensitivity meant to me.

I wrote another letter to the head nurse, telling her I’ve overheard a lot of staff interactions during my stay and there’s a noticeable lack of yelling, shaming and blaming.  (Without going into specifics, I can say this is totally different from things I’ve overheard in different hospitals/wards.)  I told her that it’s a testament to the environment that she’s spent years creating – beginning with the respectful and non accusatory way that she treats her staff – that we patients are able to benefit from a calm and pleasant atmosphere.

Particularly during the first two shifts after I was admitted I couldn’t see the nurses who were taking care of me (after that I could see a shadowy outline and then eventually could see normally) but the sound of their voices and the feeling of their hands bandaging my face was very soothing.  Five days after I was admitted, two nurses came in to change my linens, and one told me how good I looked.  The other one told her that it was a huge change, that she had been the one who admitted me.  I exclaimed in surprise, “Are you Rachel?” I told her that I had been waiting for her to be on shift again to tell her how much her care meant to me in those early hours.  I felt her kindness coming through without being able to see her – and when I saw this older nurse with a stern face I realized that just like she saw past my burns to me as a person, hearing instead of seeing her made it possible for me to see past her businesslike exterior straight to her kind heart underneath.

How often do we miss what the true essence of a person is because we get distracted by how they look?  Probably most of the time.

Here’s a song that I’m listening to today – now with headphones since on my last morning here got a roommate. :)  This is from an audio program by Louise Hay titled ‘How to Love Yourself: Cherishing the Miracle that You Are’.  I love music in general and songs used well can be so powerful – if they’re filled with good messages they have an added benefit since as they begin to play themselves over and over in your mind, you create new neural pathways in your brain that will better serve you than the old scripts they’re replacing.  This feels like just the right message as I wait to be discharged and get ready to face the real world.

I love myself just the way I am
there’s nothing I need to change
I’ll always be the perfect me
there’s nothing to rearrange.
I’m beautiful
and capable
of being the best me I can
And I love myself just the way I am.

(skipping two stanzas)

I love myself
the way I am
and still I want to grow
The change outside can only come
from deep inside, I know.
I’m beautiful
and capable
of being the best me I can
and I love myself
just the way I am……
I love myself…. just the way I am.

Grateful for my hospital stay, grateful that I’m ready to leave and looking forward to being home!

Avivah

16 thoughts on “Leaving the hospital

  1. I’m glad to hear you feel healed up enough to go home! Please continue to rest yourself and give yourself the time, space and ability to work on healing your body.

  2. What wonderful news! You should continue recuperating and merit to have a refuah sheleima. Once again, you left me inspired with such a meaningful post. Enjoy your personal “geulah” as you sit around your seder table with the whole family.

  3. Avivah, thank you for sharing with such honesty (and courage and inspiration, as your blog’s tagline promises!). It’s interesting that you wrote about music today, because over the past few days I wrote you a song, using words from Tehillim. It’s not polished (it’s just a melody, not arranged) but I’d like to share it with you. Sending you good healing thoughts!!

  4. So glad you are able to go home and be with your family for the Chag. Wishing you a continued Refuah Shelemah and A joyful Pessach. So glad your hospital stay was positive and the professionals that cared for you were the way they were.

    A footnote: Please rest and let others do for you , you still need to recuperate. Children can be amazing if you let them. Yesterday my twin daughters ( married with families) and a granddaughter came to us to do the heavy Passover Cleaning, it was so wonderful, they cleaned and talked and made me forget my limitations with their banter.

  5. Aviva, I just heard the news and I wish you a very heartfelt refuah shelaimah. I am glad to hear that you are going home to your family in time for Pesach. Your strength is an inspiration for everyone. I hope you find wonderful, colorful hats that show your beautiful and strong personality.

  6. For some reason, I wasn’t receiving notification that you had posted and I just went on and saw your last few postings. How wonderful to hear your healing (emotional) coming through. I’m sure Yirmiyahu and the rest of the family will love having you home.
    You have so many people sending loving thoughts and prayers your way. Whatever challenges lie ahead, may HaShem give you courage, strength and faith. Wishing you a wonderful Pesach full of geulah for your family and all of Israel.
    Love,

  7. Dear Avivah,

    Hi, my name is Lucille and I have been following your blog on and off for 2 years now. You are a very beautiful, amazing and inspiring soul.

    I am so very deeply sorry about your accident. It must have been a terrible shock and emotionally traumatic. However, I know you have the faith in G-d to heal emotionally and the knowledge in our G-d given wonderful food and substances to heal physically.

    I am not sure whether you know of the following natural remedies for burns but just in case I thought I should write as they can be powerful mediators to help your body heal the burns without scarring.

    Lavander essential oil is one of the best natural treatments to prevent scarring from burns. It is so effective that the hospitals in new zealand use it for burn patients. However, it is important to ensure the lavander essential oil is unadulturated and is the true lavander essential oil and not a ‘chemical copy’. I personally use a website called http://www.iherb.com which deliver to israel for $4 and they stock high quality organic and natural items and I do believe they should stock an unadulturated organic lavander essential oil. 

    I also know that honey is also an amazing healer for burns. However, it is important that the honey is raw unfiltered and unpasturised otherwise a lot of the magical healing properties are destroyed in the pasturisation process. I would also recommend getting royal jelly and propolis as these also all contain amazing properties which will aid with healing and should be taken both internally and topically. I personally buy honey with royal jelly and propolis in the honey from iherb but it might be wiser to get a seperate royal jelly and propolis as that way you can individulise the potency and concentration of each when eating it and applying it topically.

    Coconut oil is also wonderful for burns as it helps the cells to knit together after wounds (plus many other reasons). However, I think it is best to use coconut oil in the skin healing stage once the blisters etc have gone and the new skin is showing through. However, I might be wrong in this as it may be good to start applying it sooner rather than later and so some further research into the right stage of healing to apply the coconut oil would be best. I buy my organic virgin coconut oil from eden teva and other organic natural food shops here in israel.

    And lastly, aloe vera is another blessing given to us which can literally save the skin from severe burns (it has been said it is able to reduce the burn degree eg if applied to 2nd degree burns, it turns into 1st degree burns). I have copied and pasted a link about this – http://www.naturalnews.com/001560.html

    Another link about natural treatments for burns which would be useful to look at – http://www.greenmedinfo.com/disease/burns-severe

    I also have a code which you can put in which will save you $10 off your first order if you would like to buy the various items I mentioned above from http://www.iherb.com

    However, if you can find the products here in israel that are organic and high quality (along with the various other requirements eg raw, unflitered and unpasteurized) then it would be best to buy straight away as the delay caused by the shipping time is not good. You could buy here in israel to cover the next 2-3 weeks and order from iherb now so you have it ready when the products you bought in israel have ran out. The code is – WFT489
    I think the code can be put in somewhere in the check out process.

    I sincerely hope that at least one if not all of these magical substances will help you heal. If you have any questions at all please feel free to just ask. It is my pleasure to be able to help in any way.

    I wish you strength and health and Please G-d may you have a full recovery very soon.

    Warmest Regards,

    Lucille

  8. What a wonderful inspiration you are! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and may you continue to be blessed in all of your endeavors. You have a beautiful family and your children are blessed to have you as their mother.

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