Working in a rehabilitation hospital our patients have stays that are longer than normal. According to the CDC the average length of a hospital stay is 4.9 days. On our unit, the average length of stay is 8-12 weeks. That’s 56 to 84 days. Some have even stayed as long as 168 days. That being said we see these people all the time. I spend more time with my patients than my own husband. On one hand, this is awesome. I’ve met some of the most interesting people that I know and would have never met had circumstances been different. I’ve also got to know these people in very intimate ways. When they are relying on your to perform cares of a personal nature, a bond of trust is formed very quickly. Dr. Manheimer commented on this bond and I found it struck a chord with me.
They would talk to me for hours and ask me questions about my interests. It’s funny, but over a few weeks I came to depend on them and learned about their families, their special interests, places they wanted to visit. It was like a weird Scheherazade. Trading tales from different kingdoms. Each one a foreign language to the other person. I knew more about them and they knew more about me than my own family. I cared more about them than my own family.
I’m not sure I agree with the final 2 sentences, but sometimes they just may. When we see each other everyday very little can change. We discuss even the most insignificant details of our days. And how do we find the time? In their current condition it can take some of them over an hour to get ready for the day. The easiest way for both of us to pass this time is to make idle chatter.