Dr. Smiley, the Happy Hour Hospital, and Nurse Nausea

I arrived in Memphis Sunday after an uneventful flight, and, after an altercation with the rental car agency– I propitiated for my sin of not carrying a credit card by giving them an extra thousand dollars on my deposit; they appeased my anger by giving me a Volvo for the price of an economy Hyundai (this was good, since it was supposed to snow and I had been leary of the weather resilience of said Hyundai)– I relied upon Ann, my Droid, to navigate me safely to my Aunt C’s house near Germantown.

The next day we admitted my stepmother for her surgery at what is called the Methodist LeBonheur Hospital.  I considered this.  My moderate French language skills translate “bonheur” literally as “good hour” but the unspecified but large percentage of the French genes in me are more inclined to translate it as either “good time” or “happy hour”, neither of which evoke images of pain and suffering or healing.  I confess to not really even wanting to know the contextual meaning here; the idea of associating joviality with a hospital is oddly appealing, especially when Jesus’s name is also in the mix.  After all, they do say that laughter is the best medicine.

It did indeed make me laugh to see the sign that designated her beginning point as “Same Day Surgery”.  I would certainly hope that most surgeries could be begun and finished within the same day.   But my bemusement at that choice of wording was soon surpassed by the information that the surgeon’s name was Dr. Smiley.  This was getting better every minute!

Of course I had to keep my hilarity at these observations to myself lest Mom think it inappropriate.  A sense of humor has never been her greatest asset, and at times like these the more sober and dour expression one can maintain, the better as far as she is concerned.

Surgery went very well, and before mid-afternoon she was ensconced in her blessedly private room.  This is where I have remained but for one excursion each day back to Aunt C’s house for a shower and fresh clothes.  Tuesday, after getting about one whole hour of sleep the previous night, I looked forward to a nice long nap there.  I had just laid down and drifted off to dreamland when I heard a series of octave scales being played extremely loudly on a very out of tune piano.  Aunt C had not remembered that the piano tuner was scheduled to be there, but there he was, and there he remained, beating every key to within an inch of my sanity, for two hours, thirty-six minutes and twenty-two seconds.  I am pretty sure that THAT will be hilarious five years from now.

Anyway, back at the happy hour hospital, I was further entertained by the names of nurses and aides.  They write their first names on a whiteboard in the room.  This being Memphis, the majority of the staff is African-American, so the names are much different han boring old white names.  We had a Keisha, a LaKeesha, and a LeKeisha; a LaShondra, a Cossandra, and a LaTonya.  And today, our pretty young nurse’s aide introduced herself as “A Nausea”.  At least, that’s what it sounded like.  I asked her to repeat it, and then, for lack of anything else to say in my astonished state, simply said “That’s a pretty name.”  I was relieved when she wrote it on the board as Annodgia.  That is seriously pretty.

I must say that if I had to choose the healthcare workers for myself,i could not find a finer set anywhere.  They are responsive, kind, patient and thoughtful.  I nearly kissed Louise, who went to great lengths to get low-salt broth for Mom, and found warm blankets for me when I had not even mentioned how cold I was at night trying to sleep in a room whose temperature accommodates mom’s low tolerance for heat. 

So here I sit, waiting for Mom to get to the point where she can be discharged by Dr. Smiley from the happy hour hospital, to leave Nurse Nausea behind to care for other lucky patients.  I have my knitting, my drop spindle, and my Droid-hosted Kindle.  Mom will regain her health.  Life could be a while lot worse.

I may sneak out this afternoon while her friends are visiting and find The Yarniverse…

4 thoughts on “Dr. Smiley, the Happy Hour Hospital, and Nurse Nausea

  1. Dr. Smiley!?! I’d want all my surgeries done by a Dr. Smiley.

    Sounds like an adventure. Right now I’m reading a book, “Left Neglected,” about a woman who has injured her brain and cannot register the left side of her body or the left side of the world. It’s set in a hospital. It sounds like a boring place to be. But at least my Momma can write 4398273 times better than the author of Left Neglected.

    +1 Good Daughter badge for Sheila Leverson! 🙂 Hope Grandmama gets to feeling better. Tell everyone hi!

    Love, Sherah

  2. Sheila, I’m so happy to hear that your Mom’s surgery went well. I see that your sense of humor is in fine form and must be a big help. I looked up “bonheur” in a french dictionary and the first definition I found was “joyeux”. In English, the first definition is Happiness. I wish you and your Mom much happiness with Dr. Smiley and his loving staff. So glad that you have your yarn + spindle to see you through!

    xoxo, Linda

    1. Linda, thank you! Today they found a blood clot in her right leg, so she won’t be able to leave the hospital until Monday at the earliest, but at least they did find it and can take appropriate action. Dr. Smiley continues to live up to her reputation.

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