I don’t like hospitals. I don’t have much founding for that statement, but they tend to be associated with illness, bad health, funny smells and old age – none of which I want to suffer from.
Recently, I have had to spend a large amount of time in hospital and I wondered if it would help me to build up an immunity to this hatred – in the same way that some people overcome their fears by tackling them head on, such as jumping out of a plane (with a parachute attached) to overcome vertigo. I am certainly getting more used to hospitals, but I still don’t like them.
The time spent in hospital is often the cause of much stress – both direct, and indirect. It is clearly stressful to those in hospital – the patients undergoing surgery who may be drugged up to different levels and to the doctors and nurses who are trying to do a job. But it is equally stressful for the families and friends whose lives change as a result. Change is always stressful, but when it coincides with illness, the result is compounded.
And the media don’t help. There are often stories of infections spreading, hospitals (and their inadequacies) being responsible, not being allowed to take flowers when visiting because they encourage infection, and having to wash hands whenever moving between rooms. I don’t disapprove of this last point, I just don’t see how it will solve all problems; I suspect it is an attempt to give an impression of taking proactive action, but I fear it only gives an impression. And in the words of Tom Smith (The Editors) “The saddest thing that I’d ever seen were smokers outside the hospital doors” – notably the staff.
Hospitals are such large establishments that there is still so much that happens that is not known about and it is that fear of the unknown that continues to haunt me.
So in a quest to overcome my dislike, I look for the positives. Hospitals are designed to make people better, however long the process may take, which is certainly a good premise. And the hospital I have been visiting recently is in the middle of some lovely training routes allowing me to run to and from as I choose. ‘Two birds with one stone’ is always a bonus.
Maybe hospitals are not meant to be liked. So long as they make people better, it doesn’t matter.