Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"Lapbanders--they are EVERYWHERE!!!!"
It's no secret that I've been hanging out at the local hospital more than usual now that my mother-in-law has been ensconced in their cardiac care unit. Hospitals are not a place where anyone wants to hang out. However, when these things happen, there's no avoiding the long hours of doing nothing while the world around you goes at a frenetic pace---it's the one place on earth where one can feel totally helpless (unless, of course, you are one of the wonderful nurses, doctors and other caretakers who are tending to the patients). Every once in awhile--for those of us just sitting there--- it's good to get out of the sterile environment, get some fresh air and just recharge your spirit a bit. So, we've been doing just that.
This past weekend, when it was my turn to get out into the sunshine, I decided to wander down to a little courtyard, park-like area that was situated outside of the cardiac care unit. ( If truth be told--I was kinda looking for a place to sneak a smoke but as it turned out, since I don't smoke regularly, I didn't have any with me so I just had to sit on a bench....). The little courtyard was bustling with like-minded hospital visitors and workers just enjoying a respite from hours of hospitalizing. I sat there in a dazed stupor------not thinking about anything in particular--just resting my thoughts a bit, I suppose. All of a sudden, a man dressed in full golf attire approached me, carrying a big bag of groceries. "How do I get into the hospital?" he asked me. The funny thing about the fact that he was there and asking how to get in--with groceries in hand--was that it was impossible to get to this little area without accessing it from an inside hospital door. So, clearly he had to have been in the hospital already! Add that to the fact that the entire area around the hospital was under renovation so to get to the hospital itself, you had to park quite a distance and a shuttle would bring you to the main reception area--where they would have directed the man to where he needed to go. And, even more interesting was the fact that he approached ME---considering there were several folks in the immediate area wearing official hospital clothing. So, clearly, this man was there by some wild act of happenstance. However, at the time, I didn't really think of all of those things.
"Well, you can go into that door there but it depends on where you want to go," I told him, pointing to the door coming into the courtyard. Considering this hospital is a maze of hallways, wings and units and centers, it was almost impossible to tell him where he should go. So, I recommended that he go to the main reception area--which was quite a distance away.
"No, I can't carry these groceries that far!" he laughed. It was so hot and humid, I could definitely understand what he was saying.
"Where do you have to go?" I asked him.
"My friend just had surgery and his family has been here for 14 hours and they called me for water and food," he explained.
I found it all kind of odd since the hospital had several food places as well as water! Why did he need to bring food and water to them?
"Do you know what kind of surgery it is?" I asked, hoping to point him towards the wing of the hospital where the surgery might be.
Just then, he sat next to me and started talking....
"They are repairing something that he had put on his stomach to help him lose weight. He got it put on last year and he has already lost 100 pounds! Now, they said it busted!" he explained to me.
"They rushed him in here last night with what they thought was something else but it turned out to be this. He worked so hard to get that weight off and did so good!" he continued. "I just hope he is okay. He's a great guy!"
"Maybe his family is down in the Emergency Room area," I told him, explaining that he was much closer to that area than the main reception area. "I'm going that way, you can follow me," I told him.
And, so we started off on our journey. Along the way, I couldn't help myself but to tell this man that I too had Lapband surgery. And, I found myself asking all kinds of questions about what could have possibly happened to his friend. And, of course, I had to share some of the stories from Lapbanders who had issues with their bands too and who had happy endings. And, I assured him his friend would be okay. No, I promised him that his friend would be okay. I have no idea why I even went as far as to promise him but I think hospitals do that to a person---we are always saying things like "it will be okay..." I don't know about you but I always feel the need to be hopeful and encouraging in the face of not-so-great things...especially at hospitals.....
About 15 minutes into our walk, we ran into his friend's wife in a hallway. And, what were his first words to his friend's wife?---"Hey, she lost over 100 pounds with that surgery too! Look at her! You would never know it! She said he will be fine!"
I could feel my face turn red......
I introduced myself to the woman and asked how her husband was.
She seemed rather confused. I figured she was frazzled.
"Lapbanders! THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!" she blurted out!
She caught me by surprise.
"It's like a cult!" she continued.
I didn't know how to respond.
"Do you always go to the hospital when Lapbanders are in the hospital?" she asked me.
OOOH.....I was beginning to get it. She had no idea that her husband's friend just happened to run into me. She thought I was some kind of on-call Lapband 911 support type person.
"No, no. I was just showing him the way to the Emergency Room!" I explained.
It was starting to feel kind of weird and the story itself was so convoluted and odd that I was beginning to think it was a little bizarre myself. So, I politely gave them my best wishes and then excused myself...saying that I had to get back to the Cardiac Care Unit.
As I was walking away, the friend was explaining to the Lapbander's wife how we met and why I was there. It really is a freaky story.....do, do, do, do.....
Again, I heard her exclaim...."Lapbanders--THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!"
Yes, I guess we are.