I’ve spent a good part of the past two weeks in hospitals. In the unusual environment there were many new, different, interesting sounds which I had to identify. The first hospital visits were joyous - the birth of my first grandchild – a grand son. I feel lucky to have shared in his first few hours and weeks of life and to hear him breathe, stretch, cough and suck.
But the second hospital hasn’t been so happy. About 18 months ago my husband had a kidney transplant and the drugs he takes for anti-rejection suppresses his immune system. This makes him vulnerable to lots of infections which the rest of us would deal with quickly. Last week it seems he ate something which had more listeria in it (a bug which is in most foods to some degree or other) than was healthy – possibly a meat pie from a local bakery.
By Friday morning he was bringing up everything he swallowed including his cocktail of anti rejection drugs. This is definitely not good and since he couldn’t keep down a second dosage he had to go into hospital.There are so many sounds in this hospital I could live without.
First of all him barfing – not pleasant. Then the ticker, ticker, ticker, ticker, ticker, click-flip-pup, ticker, ticker, ticker, ticker, ticker, click-flip-pup of the drip machine which is returning fluid to him intravenously to combat dehydration. If he accidentally bends his arm this cuts off the flow and the machine screeeeech indicates the fluid has stopped flowing.
Did you know that in hospital these days, the nurses (and other staff) have to ‘suit’ up before entering his room? This is either by donning a yellow gauze garment a bit like a dressing gown, complete with knitted cuffs and an opening down the back - of course! Then they snap on rubber gloves and as they move about everything squeaks and creaks. An alternative is to don a white plastic apron – a one-size fits all thingie which makes everyone look pregnant (even the men!). Some of the nurses are quite small so the plastic drags on the floor and swishes and crackles as they walk and move around. As they leave the room all these actions are reversed with a final crisp crackle as all the plastic is squashed into the garbage bin.
My husband has a bed he can raise or lower to suit whether he wants to lie down, recline or sit up. Most beds move smoothly but his sounds like a moaning bag pipe on the Scottish Moors. It’s loud enough to make me hear bag pipes every time he moves it and is actually quite delightful!
The corridors echo and every time someone passes, you’d swear the footsteps were coming into your room. Add the chat, instructions and questions and the whole place is so noisy.
My fully hearing husband – who is of course the sick one – is frequently kept or startled awake by the noise. But for me of course on the plus side! I can hear it all and if I want I can take my processors off and cut it out.