Keep Smiling with Rosie Preston – My stay at the not-so-general hospital


By Rosie Preston

Some time ago, I had been cleaning a friend’s house whose laundry room was large enough to hang her clean clothes as well a bird cage. She allowed the bird to fly free. I had just put wet clothes in the dryer when I heard a loud squeak. I immediately I opened the dryer and discovered said bird, which could not fly and appeared as if it had too much alcohol to drink. In the aftermath of the incident, the clothing rack tumbled down on top of me.

Not knowing what to do, I called the lady of the house, who laughed and said, “Oh! I just hate it when that happens!” She was talking about the clothing rack falling on me. I don’t think she realized that her bird might never fly again.

Years later when we had a girlfriend’s night out, my friend told the story of me and her bird. By the time she got to the part about me thinking the bird was drunk, all our friends had tears rolling down their face from laughing, except for one lady there who looked terrified. “Why didn’t you like your bird?” the lady asked my friend.

Back to the present time, you would have had to have been there to understand the complexity of me being in a hospital for four days before you may find the humor. You would have had to have gotten to know a few people by name and their different personalities. Most of all, you would have to know that I can turn just about anything into something to laugh about later.

I was given a hospital gown and changed into a new one every day. My clothes had been lost, but I just let it be since no one was coming to see me anyway. I was sick and I only wanted rest. My advice is not to allow a UTI or a headache get so bad that it is unbearable before you seek help.

The nurses and lab people were outstanding and put me at ease every time they found a vein. The doctors took turns checking me with an MRI, a spinal tap, CAT scans of my back and sinuses, chest x-rays and a lot of blood work. I had a temporary IV in my right wrist, and thankfully it never bothered me.

After my spinal tap procedure, I had to lie flat for over an hour. Someone gave me a container of cranberry juice, which I proceeded to spill all over my face, neck and gown. In the ensuing chaos, I’m sure that I sounded like a little kid who was begging to be cleaned up!

I also suffered what I call a mild heart attack. It happened so fast. I remembered a nurse was in the room and my left chest began to cramp and hurt. The nurse called an alarm to come to my room. My arms hurt and I had pain between my shoulder blades. I soon did something I have not done in a long time – I took the cloth that had been on my head, covered my eyes and cried. All I could think about was that I was going to die in that hospital bed.

Obviously, I did not die. It turned out that my entire body and mind was being affected by an infection, and I was dehydrated and weak. I’m now recovering at home and I’m still very weak. I previously had experienced gas around my chest, but it was not the case. It definitely scared me!

A few days before I went to the ER, my friend had bought me a jar of gummies, the kind that has THC. I had not taken them in days. I just so happened to have my purse in my lap and saw the jar. I showed them to a nurse, and she quickly took them and turned them into the nurses’ station.

I usually take the flight route when I’m scared, but I was bound by my IV and my too-large gown. I pushed the call button and told whoever answered about what had happened and that I was not a drug addict!

The nurse soon returned to my room and had me sign a form stating that my gummies would be returned to me when I was discharged from the hospital. I’m sure this incident could have been a hit on a reality show. That nurse was with me a lot during those days, and I magine the ladies at the desk outside had a big laugh about my reaction.

In another incident, I woke up and my body was tangled up with the IV cord and the cover was up to my waist. I remember thinking I had to get myself out of that predicament or I would be going to be mooning poor folks. I do have one clear memory of trying to set myself free, in that my legs were in the air and it looked as if I was riding a bicycle.

In all seriousness, my stay could not have been any better. I’m including all the people who had to put up with that short lady who wore a huge hospital gown and kept answering the phone as she held the remote.

P.S.: In yet another incident, I used the TV remote control thinking it was my cell phone. Oh, well.

Keep smiling, Rosie

Rosie Preston may be contacted at

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