The Stanford B & B

With movies and television, the people who are getting the IV drug treatments all sit together in one big room.

Perhaps this gang-drip is a creative liberty taken by the writers because it allows us to watch the characters interact.  And when they do, they invariably say things that make us laugh and cry.

In any case, by Stanford, each patient gets their own “bay”, a medical cubicle with curtains for walls that provide a limited privacy.  You can hear, but not see, the other people on the unit.

Normally, there isn’t much to see, and what action there is, well, mostly it’s the kind you didn’t really want to see anyway.

Besides, any real excitement that is going to happen is going to happen in my room.

This morning, the bottle containing my medication broke.  An extremely spontaneous event during an ordinarily monotonous routine.  Shards of glass.  1000 ml of fluid.  Everywhere.  Good thing it wasn’t blood.

Fortunately, I am the relaxed type.  My heart rate didn’t spike.  My blood pressure didn’t rise.  We know this for the sure because there was actually a machine monitoring my vital statistics at the very moment of the spill.

Not everyone is so easy-going.  Some people can be annoying.  They give other people a hard time.

Today there was a woman who didn’t like her bay.  She was checking out all the bays like she was checking in to a B&B.  Scrutinizing every room to make sure she got the best one.  And giving a rather rude commentary throughout her inspection.

I just go wherever they put me.  The rooms all serve the same purpose and we’re only there a few hours.  They all have the same medical equipment.  They all have the same TVs and headphones.  They all have the same internet wi-fi.

But the rooms are not all the same.  Some are a bit larger.  Some have windows.  Some have chairs with heated seats.  Heated seats!  There are few things that give me more pleasure than heated seats.  And windows!  Everyone knows I bought my apartment strictly for the greenhouse effect.

Still, even I should see that one of the nicer bays is vacant, I would never ask to move.  It is not my way.  It might make inconvenience on the nurses.

When we were growing up, we were not allowed to ask for anything.  We were told that we should be grateful for what we had because we didn’t deserve even that.

My mother had two standard responses for any inquiry, no matter how urgent, no matter how paltry.

If she was in the rare good mood, as soon as you said “Ma?” she would respond, “Whatever it is, the answer is no” so you never even got to ask the thing in the first place.

If she was in her usual foul mood, she would let you ask and then respond by screaming, “How dare you?  How dare you?  You ingrate!  If you think for one minute —”

[Edited for content.  Unsuitable for readers of any age.]

In any event, we never learned how to ask for what we want.  We only learned we should never ask, we should never want.  But now, I am thinking the woman reviewing the bays, well, she was just asking.  She could have been more polite, but the worst they could do to her was to say no.  Maybe this is what it means to be assertive.

It could be that there is something for me to absorb at the clinic that doesn’t come in a liquid form.

© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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