Considering how much I have been in and out of Vassar Hospital this past weekend, I’ve decided to use that as an inspiration for this week’s blog post. My grandmother entered the hospital early last week, which was enough time for her to make the space her own. Her hospital room consisted of a single bed, two chairs and a bathroom. Over the course of a few days, my grandmother managed to make it her own.
She had the comfiest chair in between her bed and the windows, so that she could look out at the view of the Hudson River. That chair, although already lined with cushions to make it as comfortable as possible, was then covered with various blankets that she would use to drape over herself for warmth.
For most of her visit, the food tray was in front of that one chair by the window. It held all of the necessities like a tissue box, a water pitcher, and sanitary wipes. However, it had also accumulated various items that she determined necessary for life. This included Hershey’s chocolate bars, sugar packets (hidden of course), and Mallomars. The essentials were always hidden in the various drawers of this tray table. Although this table was mostly stationed in front of her window seat, it traveled over the bed for the occasional breakfast.
Now, the bed was definitely her personal space by the end of her hospital stay. At the foot of her bed we tied extra slipper socks around the bed handles to make sure that she always had a pair available. At the head of the bed, which only ever had one pillow, there was also a lengthy scarf that I gave her for her birthday last month. When I went to visit her on Valentines Day she was wearing it around her neck and although she did look a little ridiculous draped in this long red, white and green scarf, it brought color into the otherwise white hospital room. When she the scarf is not keeping her warm, it remains at the top of her bed with that single pillow and somehow manages to brighten up the horribly drab room. On top of both the scarf and the pillow rests a tiny plush puppy that she recently received as a gift for Valentines Day. The small dog barely left her pillow in the day or so since she got him except to follow her to chair this morning. Regardless of its placement in the room, it also seemed to lighten the air in the room.
This morning when we packed all of these individual items into a plastic hospital bag they lost some of their importance. Then the room became just another messy, unoccupied room on the fourth floor of the hospital. While her stay may have been short, thankfully, my grandmother made the small space they gave her into her own personal living area. Now that room is just another blank slate, waiting for someone else’s relative to lie in the bed and move in their important belongings.
I hope that once this week is over I will not have to step foot in Vassar for a fairly long time. However, if another one of my family members goes in, I have already compiled a list of the essential items they will need with them during their stay in the hospital.