Early on in my illness I had plans to keep a diary, but most days I just wasn't up to writing, and even now, with the incision almost healed, I still can't spend more than a few minutes at the computer without feeling some sensitivity in the incision area and flat-out running out of ideas. But there is one memory from our first hospital stay that I wanted to record because I found it so striking and unusual.
When we went to Cedars-Sinai the first time, my wife Jen stayed in the room with me on a cot they brought in. She also helped out whenever and wherever she could -- sometimes making the bed, collecting stool samples (ugh!), cleaning me off, cleaning the room sometimes -- just generally making herself useful and helpful to the nurses. The nurses simply gushed with appreciation. Jen ask a few why they were so effucive, and they said it was extremely unusual for spouses and/or family members to be helpful in the hospital. She and I found that rather surprising. You would think family members would be eager to help, but apparently most of them are more than happy to let the nurses do everything while they just sit around. Maybe it's because hospitals are so expensive they figure they'll get their moneys' worth of care and not pitch in? I simply don't know. But I found it surprising and a little dismaying.