It’s 11:50 p.m. and Max and I should be sleeping, but there is no way in the entire world that anyone who is literally not unconscious could sleep. There is a ridiculously loud beeping sound, all the lights are on in our room, someone is fussing with the television on the wall, the door is slamming, three people are discussing how to make a bed, and a baby is crying bloody murder.
Hospitals are the strangest places in the world. I will never understand why, at the exact moment when we are sick, really sick, we are expected to casually bunk up with strangers. No one ever expects people to share anything with strangers – especially in NY – but of course, just when we are in pain and contagious, we have to be as chummy as college roommates. It really is strange.
So, we left the isolation of the ICU and are on a regular neurology floor in a shared room, with a one-month old baby and his parents. I’m sure the baby is adorable, but the kicker is that this family refuses to speak to us. And really, no one ever refuses to speak to US. By now, I should have learned their entire life story, their ancestral homes, medical history, first grade teacher’s names, and every single detail of why they are here. By the time we leave, we should have exchanged numbers, promised to keep in touch, become Facebook friends, and texted each other on national holidays for the rest of our lives. I have mad skills. None of this is going to happen.
They have the good bed, the one with the window and the bathroom, so we have to walk past them all the time. They will not even look at us. We have tried to be friendly, ask them if they want anything whenever one of us is going out into the “world” and smile politely at them on our way to pee. We know why the are here – thankfully it is nothing too serious and they will be going home in a few days with antibiotics. It’s not a cultural or religious thing – they are from East Brunswick. You see, these super secret curtains that are supposed to be HIPAA-grade prophylactics still let you eavesdrop all you want! Therefore, since we are hidden by the same paper-thin curtains, they have obviously heard every single conversation we have had, every mention of Max’s disability, surgery, and miraculous progress in 3 short days. They heard him crying his heart out in pain and frustration yesterday, and then watched him walk past them on his way to the bathroom, a feat that is so miraculous the third day after SDR surgery, that the nurses and physical therapists were crying too! Even Max smiled politely at them in the midst of the hardest walk of his life and we got nothin’ – not even a smile back. I find this all sociologically baffling. At least I have plenty of time not-sleeping to ponder all of this.