Friday, January 19, 2007

Sick people are my favorite people

I've spent the last several days enjoying myself to no end. I don't know if I'm a dying breed (no pun intended), or if other people just don't talk about how much they like hospitals, but I love the hospital. Depending on what you're talking about I might say otherwise (I hate how my hospital tends to misdiagnose everything and neglect it's patients) but for hospitals overall, I give them two thumbs up.

You're generally surrounded by a large population of people that at some point (they might have gotten hard and burnt out by now) got into their profession because something in them wants to help people.
Unlike Wal-mart, when you walk down a hallway and smile at someone they tend to be aware of you and often seem to have needed that smile.
It's a place where people speak to strangers, it's a place where a connection is instantly formed as they know you're here the same reasons they are - someone you love is in pain.
It's a place where most peoples guards are down, and just because you're in the same place as them, they will tell you things that their friends don't even know about their suffering.

But the main reason I like hospitals? I have a captive audience.

I like people, almost all people, and I like to learn. Those old people stories that kids don't like to hear -- I'd gladly spend all day listening to. I don't like hearing the same ones over and over, but if you listen long enough new ones are generally thrown in.
Also, at the risk of offending people, I've noticed that the older they are, and sicker they are, the more likely they are to be nostalgic. They'll tell you more about the things that went on 50 years ago when they were in school, or first had kids, or got married, or moved to where ever. And those stories are the best stories.

I've spent the last several days parking myself as often as possible in a chair next to someone that's got a wealth of stories. And I've enjoyed myself completely. As much as I want her to feel better, I'm going to be sad when she gets out. I will miss these visits.

And while I'm not hoping my friends, family, acquaintances, or anyone for that matter, will end up in the hospital, I will be there if you do. So I hope you have a good story to tell.

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