November 11, 2008
Out of My Comfort Zone
It was not my plan to spend a week in the hospital for the time that Heather was in Seattle. I had planned to work during the day and had a series of dinners and visits all set up for Heather to meet some of my friends. You see, I'm in the home stretch of luring Heather to Seattle after years and years of trying. She's interested now. I wanted her to meet my interesting friends.
Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that jazz.
So, Heather ended up admitted to the ER and then the hospital within 24 hours of her arriving. Less than 12 hours later, she was in emergency surgery for a dangerously infected throat that was swelling in a way that was making her esophagus bend. Doctors don't like anything that presses on the main air passageway into the body. And thus, I spent nearly 24/7 in the hospital while she was there.
There was no way in hell I was going to leave my best friend in the hands of strangers where I could not watch and be sure they were treating her right. Turns out I was needed and Heather appreciated me there. It was an odd sort of bonding experience and this has more than evened us for her coming to stay with me for my surgery AND the corset fiasco/dash she did for my wedding.
Next time, though. I insist we do what I have planned.
I learned something about my time in the hospital. I snore really loud when I'm uncomfy. Normal people don't often come in contact with people like me very often. I do freak the mundanes out. Not intentionally but I do.
Things that really got to the nurses and administrators:
1. I write horror and other such dark, creepy stuff. They all gave me a look as if they were wondering if I act out what I write.
2. I discovered that four levels of the hospital tower we were in were empty. Of course I wanted to go look at them. Talk about story fodder. Every nurse and administrator looked at me as if I was crazy when I asked about it. The administrator said, "It's just an empty open place. Like a Costco warehouse." Right. He did not understand. When one of the nurses discovered I had asked about a tour, she looked at me with an incredulous look, "You asked about that? Wow, you were actually serious."
3. I probably shouldn't have mentioned that I've killed off Heather about six times in my stories because I like her. They didn't understand. They didn't get it.
4. I probably shouldn't have mentioned that I got a great story idea about a demon working in a hospice house while I was staying at the hospital.
However, despite all of the freaking out of the mundane I did, I discovered I still have the kind of face and demeanor that compels people to look past the hospital workers to come ask me where things are. I was asked for directions every single day I was at the hospital and, the second day I was there, the café person asked me if I worked there. Apparently, despite my freakish thoughts, I have the face and demeanor of "someone who belongs."
The only doctor who did not seem really put off by me and my oddness was the Infectious Diseases doctor who helped treat Heather. He was interested in Grants Pass and asked about the vectoring of the genetically modified diseases. Then we got into a fascinating discussion about how if everyone in the world contracted HIV, it would not be the end of the human race. He went on to tell me why and he seemed pleased that I was interested in it.
He had just enough weirdness in him to get me a little bit. I think he was amused by my references to Heather as "Patient Zero."
All in all, it was a very interesting step outside my comfortable little world of gamers, authors, artists and musicians. I've spent so much time with "my people" that I had forgotten that I really am the strange one where most of the world is concerned. It is something for me to think about.