Things I Learned in the Hospital

As our lovely little girl, Anna, came early, we had to spend a few extra weeks in the hospital with her. My wife and I learned a few things:

  • There’s a super-loud cricket that lives right outside the hospital entrance over by the mail boxes. Super-loud.
  • Nurses are heroes.
  • The hospital food was surprisingly tasty.
  • The hospital food was surprisingly unhealthy.
  • If you don’t eat your meal within a half-hour or so, they’ll come steal it away.
  • State-of-the-art round-the-clock medical care is free, but you have to pay for was parking.
  • Parts of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital look like a moon base.
  • The walking trail around the hospital grounds is surprisingly nice.
  • Communication might be the most important thing for worried new parents. The staff does well with this, but more is always better.
  • Hospitals are given baby supplies for free by the manufacturers in order to gain the favour of new parents. This should be disclosed as not to imply a false endorsement (though I assume they only accept the good stuff)
  • There’s a mystical fourth meal around 9pm called “night lunch”. I think it’s a bit like the “second breakfast” enjoyed in The Shire.
  • Everything is disposable. Even the disposable utensils come in disposable plastic wrap. At least I won’t get bird flu on my spork.
  • If you drop it on the floor, you throw it out (unless it’s the last of your prescription painkillers).
  • You’re often told to relax and get lots of rest, but you can’t go for 30 minutes without being woken up.
  • All farts in the nursery get blamed on the babies.
  • In the nursery, burps are hard-won and to be celebrated by anyone in ear-shot. Don’t take them for granted.
  • Two babies crying is 10 times worse than one.
  • There is such a thing as a “lactation consultant”.
  • Using a powerful alcohol-based hand sanitizer 25 times a day won’t eat away your flesh, as I had suspected. I got so used to this stuff that I look for it whenever I enter a room now.
  • The healthy babies are called “well babies”. I resented the well babies and wanted to play pranks on them (dip soothers in lemon juice, etc.), but then our baby became well, as well.
  • A cesarean-section can happen really fast.
  • Chanting “Nurse! Nurse! Nurse!” to encourage your baby to nurse isn’t a good idea when you’re surrounded by nurses.
  • A breast pump looks like (and may be) a medieval torture device.
  • Our baby was totally the best one.

7 thoughts on “Things I Learned in the Hospital

  1. Love the list- I laughed out loud! I really enjoyed that all farts are blamed on the babies… you were off the hook for a whole month!


  2. I can be accused of being biased but–
    Anna Maureen Garrity is the cutest by far of all … she is sooo bright — speaks four languages – English, French, Greek and Latin ! and does the NY Times crossword pretty easily

    Anna is a real butavieka that’s mushroom in bad Lithuanian
    and we wish her and parents and the whole world, enough

  3. Re your observation: “Everything is disposable. Even the disposable utensils come in disposable plastic wrap. At least I won’t get bird flu on my spork.”

    I hate to burst your bubble, but decades ago I heard from a social worker who had just visited a facility where mentally challenged individuals worked — and hooray that they had jobs!!! — packaging those plastics sporks and napkins into individually sealed packets. Like the rest of us, she had assumed the packets to be the ultimate in sanitation. But, she said, she’d never make THAT mistake again.

    Unless those packets are carted off to a sterilizing machine? I’d like to think so. At any rate, I decided not to worry about germs on sporks. Still, I’ve never forgotten.

  4. Hey! Congratulations. I was in Maine for a week. Now I am not. I had two turkey dinners at the QE hospital/diner the day our first was born. All hospitals should have a secret family roadside diner hidden in its basement.

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