You look up at the clock and see it's getting late. More importantly it's time for your pain medication. This will obviously help you sleep tonight. You hit the button. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help you, [your name here]?"
"I think it's time for my pain medication," you say.
"I'll let your nurse know."
That could mean that your nurse will show up instantly. Or maybe in five minutes. More likely in 15 minutes. If you're lucky. Surprise! You're lucky. She's here in less than five. She has your shot. It is glorious. It takes a moment to take hold because you've been loaded up with Dilaudid all day, but when it hits, it comforts. It feels like a burning gas in your chest and head. You want to close your eyes. You start to drift off. Soon you're asleep.
For maybe ten minutes. "Knock, knock," says a nurse. And you're awake again. Fuck. She apologizes, but she's here to check your vitals. She puts the blood pressure cuff on one arm and puts the pulse monitor on a finger on the other arm. She puts a thermometer under your tongue. It takes five minutes, and it's over. "I hope you get some rest," she says. You hope so, too. It takes a moment to get back into the groove, but you do. After maybe a half-hour you start to drift off again. Ah. Sleep is finally upon you. It takes you under.
For about five minutes. "Knock, knock." It's another nurse. This one is here to take your blood sugar readings. She asks you which finger, and you volunteer one that hasn't been punished too badly. She fucks up the first time, because this is her first night shift. But that's OK. Blood sugar tests are the least of your pains. She gets it right the second try. "Sleep well," she says. And it's over. It's harder this time, but you finally start to drift off yet again. You fall asleep. It is glorious.
For about five minutes. "Knock, knock." This nurse wants to take blood samples. As if you haven't given up enough of your blood since you got here. She can't take it from the arm with the IV in it, so you offer the other arm, the one with the collapsed vein because it's been pierced too many times. It takes her about five minutes to find a viable blood vessel, but she gets it after slapping the shit out of your arm. It takes her a couple of pokes before she gets two giant test tubes full of your blood. "Now rest up," she says. And she's gone. Holy Christ, please let that be it. You don't know if you can take anymore of this. There's just barely enough Dilaudid in your system to get you moving toward sleep again. But you succeed.
And maybe it's just five minutes. If you're lucky it's fifteen minutes. But that's when your IV starts beeping, and your eyes snap open. You try to figure out how to get it to stop, but there are so many buttons, and there's just no way. Finally you give in and press the button for the main desk. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help, [your name here]?"
"My IV is beeping."
"We'll get someone there as soon as possible."
It's never as soon as possible. If you're lucky it's 15 minutes. If you're average, like me, it takes a half an hour. A nurse shows up, apologizes and shuts that fucking machine up.
Blissful silence. No more nurse interruptions. It's the dead of night. You can finally fall asleep again, except . . . you can't. You're wide awake now. You look to the clock, hoping that it's time for your injection of pain meds. Nope. You've got two hours to go.
You try to sleep. Nothing. You try to fantasize. Nothing. You try finding something boring on TV, and while that's not a challenge, it still doesn't help. You keep looking at the clock, and the arms never seem to move. What the fuck? You close your eyes, hoping you can pretend to sleep hard enough that you actually fall asleep. Nope. Nothing helps.
And then it happens. The glorious moment when it actually *is* time for your pain meds. You hit the button. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help you, [your name here]?"
"I think it's time for my pain meds."
"I'll let your nurse know."
This time of day? That's a 20 minute wait at least. This time it is a half-hour. The nurse apologizes. She says that she wanted to double-check with the doctor to make sure you're supposed to get this shot. And then she gives it to you. It is wonderful. It takes a moment to hit you, but when it does you feel on top of the world.
And you finally--FINALLY--fall asleep.
If you're lucky, you get two hours of sleep. More likely you get one hour. Or something in between. One way or the other, it's only a matter of time before this happens: "Knock, knock." It's a nurse. She wishes you a good morning, but she's here to check your vitals.
And the cycle continues.
Hospitals: dedicated to make sure you enjoy nothing since the beginning of time.
*The title of this episode of GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS comes from this song. In case you couldn't surmise that.