Sunday, November 17, 2019

Roommates, Part 2

(Continued from previous post)

Then there were 4. Until the end of my stay, the 5th bed would be empty.

Around this time, they were easing up on my meds and I was out of the woods but uncomfortable. The two younger ladies were getting discharged and it was down to me and Olga again.

(Although I had found the younger surgery patient dramatic, I later ran into her in the hallway when I went in for a dressing change. She was readmitted a week or so after going home, though assigned to a different room. I felt badly for judging her. They never did find a specific cause of her stomach pain, though...maybe she was there just as a precaution in case there was a complication with her incisions.)

I was now getting out of bed and going to the bathroom by myself. I made myself walk a little, because I was supposed to, but it was hard.

Then we got a new roommate.

Connections Lady

Our new roommate was rather heavyset. This was relevant to her situation, but in order to avoid offense, I will call her "Connections Lady" due to her apparent acquaintance with the hospital staff. She checked in at night, but the next morning everyone was hustling and bustling to make her comfortable. She needed a cyst removed, or something to that effect. She wasn't very interested in getting to know us, so we didn't really bond until later.

When an opportunity came up to have the surgery, our roommate got undressed as was the custom, and climbed onto the waiting gurney. Within a few minutes though, she was BACK! It turned out that all the operating theaters were full, or something to that effect. The nurses were a bit red-faced. The second attempt came later, and this time the surgery went through. We didn't see that roommate again during my hospital stay, as she required extra care following surgery.

(I later ran into her also when I came back to get dressing changes. She was on the regular ward now, back in our same room, making recovery progress.)

So now TWO out of 5 beds would remain empty.


As the daytime nurse (the competent one) came through adjusting IVs one day, she remarked how depressing our room had gotten..."it used to be so COZY." Yes, perhaps there was a time when we were all friendly and no one demanded special care. We made it easy on the nurses, didn't we?

With Lyudmila's arrival, we were all in for a challenge.

Olga and I were alone again, and as I headed down the hallway to get food, a gurney passed me in the hallway, an aged gray head peeking out. Was "our babushka" back? My heart sank as I imagined our elderly roommate coming back from surgery in frail condition.

But no, it was a different babushka. I walked in the room to find our new roommate perched on the side of the bed, in a stupor. I think I introduced myself, but she was VERY out of it.

She sat on the side of the bed nodding off to sleep and then waking up with a start, over and over again. Her clothes looked like she hadn't taken them off in months. She mumbled something about leaving her bag in the ambulance, which meant she didn't have a phone or any other personal items.

I tried to clarify a few things, but Olga gave me a look as if to say Lyudmila might have a touch of dementia.

The nodding off continued.

Night fell.

The night nurse came in to do final rounds, and left.

Lyudmila was still perched on the edge of her bed.

We were going to be alone for the night. Olga, who was in too much pain to walk, me after my surgery, and a stranger who possibly had dementia.

I had switched my pillow to the other side of the bed, to lie on my other side. Now my head was closer to the door. Closer to Lyudmila.

I was terrified that she would start walking around and doing something in the middle of the night. What if I woke up and she was standing over me?

Lyudmila's bedside lamp was still on, it was about 2 a.m., and Olga and I were wide awake.

Finally it happened-Lyudmila got up and staggered toward us, eyes as though unseeing, sputtering something. "GO TO BED!" Olga yelled. "What is it? What time is it?" We finally convinced Lyudmila that she should go back to her bed.

And she did. And I might have slept a little.

To be continued...


  1. Oh my goodness, what an interesting experience, Elizabeth! I would be a little freaked out about a patient staggering around in the middle of the night in the same room too, ha! This is so interesting to read about, since American hospitals are so different.

  2. My nervous laughing continued, and from across the hall the parish secretary calls, "What are you reading???"

    "Oh, just a funny article." I could hardly say "a blog post about someone in a hospital in Russia". That wouldn't sound like laughing material - and it isn't. It is just so awful. Laugh or cry, I guess.


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