Deanna and I used to sit at my kitchen table laughing about all sorts of super silly and monumentally unimportant things. One day, we somehow got on the subject of women being hospitalized but without access to things most women deem important.
Wait. I take that back.
Not so much life-or-death important. But like, first world important. You know, like, if you were in the hospital and couldn't talk.
"I think everybody needs a girlfriend list," she said one day. "Like this list that one of your best girls knows she needs to quickly jump on the minute she hears about your unfortunate news."
Petty, I know. But dead serious.
We settled on five of them that we considered absolutes for girlfriends going to see girlfriends in the hospital.
Like to hear 'em? Here they go:
5. Alcohol and cotton balls
Her: "Girl. If you been up in the club and got a hand stamp? It ain't a good look to have a big ass green star on the back of your wrist when your mama come to see you. I'm just saying."
4. Alternate underwear
Her: "Uggh. I heard folks in the hospital don't have on underwear half the time because they don't really have too many options available."
Me: "Yeah. They pretty much have two kinds -- 'you just had a baby so let me give you something to hold this pad' kind and 'underwear? BWAAAAAH HA HA HA.'"
Her: "Make sure I have some damn drawers, you hear me?"
3. A good toothbrush, comb/brush, and deodorant
Her: "Have you ever seen those hospital toothbrushes? And those little tiny combs? What do they think somebody with a bunch of hair is gonna do with that?"
Me: "Deodorant, too. I never really see deodorant in the hospital kit."
Her: "What the? Girrrrrrl. Bring that, too."
2. Nail Polish remover (and those same cotton balls from before) and some Vaseline
Her: "I went to see a friend of mine in the hospital once and the nails on her hands and feet looked so crazy. She'd been picking at it and I could barely pay attention for wanting to get the rest off."
Me: "And maybe some Vaseline to smooth on your hands and legs so you won't be ashy."
Her: "No! For your lips! That same girl had the crustiest lips I have ever seen. Add that to the list."
1. Tweezers and a good razor
Her: "Dude. Can you imagine being knocked out and waking up with a goatee on your face?"
Me: "Actually, I see it all the time."
Her: "Somebody better come pluck those hairs!"
Me: "I think this one is the most important of all, man."
Her: "Or shave 'em, you know, if that's your situation and all. Oh! And get those armpits while you're at it."
Me: "You'll really need the deodorant then."
These are the sorts of important things we'd discuss when hanging out. And you know? Since I'm working on the hospital service right now, I know that there's definitely some girlfriends slipping on their jobs.
Oh yeah. We did add in contact lens case, solution, and glasses--but couldn't make that an absolute since so many folks got Lasik surgery now.
What else do you think needs to be on the Girlfriend (in the hospital) List?
Honestly? I write this blog to share the human aspects of medicine + teaching + work/life balance with others and myself -- and to honor the public hospital and her patients--but never at the expense of patient privacy or dignity.
Thanks for stopping by! :)
"One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends of how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."
~ James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)
"Do it for the story." ~ Antoinette Nguyen, MD, MPH
Details, names, time frames, etc. are always changed to protect anonymity. This may or may not be an amalgamation of true,quasi-true, or completely fictional events. But the lessons? They are always real and never, ever fictional. Got that?