I had to go to the Red Cross Children’s hospital last night. What an eye opener. In the ward I was visiting one girl had just in the last few days gotten her leg amputated, anotherone burned her lips and nose off, and a little boy had both hands and wrists crushed. What scares me is how many small children were in the hospital with serious injuries. All of them between 5 and 10.
I’m generally a cynical bastard but that was a little much for me.
The worst thing about being in the hospital as a kid is waking up at night and not always having your parents with you. Hospitals have all sorts of creepy machines and noises, and the other patients sometimes freak you out as well if you’re not in a room alone and if you are in a room alone it somehow makes it worse. You’re not in your own bed and trying to get to sleep again involves ignoring all these unwelcome stimulus on something that is neither cozy, nor comforting.
You probably have your body in some sort of uncomfortable position or those jelly suction pad things on your chest and the little sticky gauzy stuff they put on your arms with the needle that makes you feel part cyborg. The stuff itches after a while and no matter how gentle the nurses or doctors are (and they usually aren’t) they don’t feel like your mom or dad can.
Then there are long stretches of waiting where nothing anyone brings you keeps you occupied over why you’re hung up in the hospital.
After having kids, there’s now a part of my brain that refuses to even think about the things you saw. Some feelings are too primal.
People like aid workers, paramedics and doctors are pretty fucking incredible.
I know what you mean - after having kids my empathy dial just got turned permanently to 11. It’s so bad, that I can’t watch shows like ER… it seems there’s always a brave five year old dying of cancer or something like that.