There have been two occasions recently that I found myself in the hospital, visiting not being cared for. As when anyone goes to the sit with a friend or family member it was impossible to plan for how much time is needed. What I learned about the way time works within the walls of a hospital is that the clock measurements are secondary to the events that take place.
Time is measured from having a test run to when the results come back from it. The next measurement is what will happen from those results. A CAT scan is ordered. Wait. Go have CAT scan run. Wait. Receive the results. All clear, good, breathe, next steps. Wait. The doctor will be in with the official diagnosis. Wait. Meds are offered every four or six hours. Shift change. New nurses, another round of vitals. Dinner comes at 5:00 p.m. Food services do seem to use a regular clock. Perhaps food service workers are the links to living on real-world time.
As a visitor, it’s an odd feeling to walk out of the hospital time warp and back into normal timekeeping to realize 10 hours have passed. If I had started knowing I would be there for a long period, would I have planned differently? Taken snacks? To be honest, sitting in the hospital with a family member, time really doesn’t matter, only they do and making sure they are being cared for. The time warp of hospitals is necessary to keep the health of the patient the priority. Here’s hoping for less time spent in the hospital and especially in a hospital bed.
All the best,