Being trapped in the hospital in a foreign country for two and a half days while feeling completely fine provides a lot of opportunities for both boredom and observation...but mostly boredom. I should say here that my coworkers were so, so great. They came and visited me multiple times, and packed me up bags of magazines, crosswords, snacks (they didn’t know that milky medical IV feed sack it the most delicious snack), and sodokus. Despite my bag o’ fun, I still spent many hours lying in bed watching the women around me. All the rooms had multiple people in them. There may have been single rooms somewhere else in the hospital, but all the ones I saw has 4-6 people in them. Anyway, the cast of characters is as follows:
Frog Lady: This was the loudest and most outspoken of the characters, so named because of her frog-like appearance. She did not posses the ability to chew with her mouth closed, ate excessively, and seemed to be self declared master of the remote and room lights. She also had a strange predilection for pulling her hospital outfit pants up to under her boobs every time she stood up from her bed...I know this because she would pull her shirt up to reveal her exceedingly saggy boobs resting on her pants each time she did this. Frog lady’s bed was situated kitty-corner to mine across the room, and she was therefore the person in my direct line of vision the most frequently. This woman was my secret nemesis.
Monkey Lady: I wish so deeply that I had a picture of this character. She stood about 4’8” and weighed in at perhaps 80 lbs. She also had the squeaky, high pitched yet gravely voice of a cartoon character and hair that stuck directly out from her head in what would have been an afro if she had about eight times more hair. Not only did she lack the ability to chew with her mouth closed, she frequently made sucking and smacking noises with her mouth for no apparent reason which made me want to leap out of my bed and end her. Monkey Lady’s bed was situated directly across from mine, which hindered my view of her from my frequently horizontal position.
Barfing Lady: This was the only character in the room who actually seemed ill. She spent most of the time barfing, hence the name. I did not hear her speak. Ironically, Barfing Lady was significantly less annoying than both Frog Lady and Monkey Lady.
Old Lady: While both Frog Lady and Monkey Lady were old, Old Lady was the oldest, and thus earned the title of Old Lady. She was not a hospital patient, but seemed to be the mother perhaps of Barfing Lady who was staying in the hospital to attend to Barfing Lady 24/7. She, like Frog Lady, was quick to comment on everything happening in the room. My final morning in the hospital, when I could eat for the first time in four days and sat looking at the Korean style breakfast of kimchi, soup, rice, seaweed, and two other things I couldn’t identify, she came over to my tray and took all the little lids off for me and unwrapped my seaweed for me. I must have had that stupid-foreigner-who-only-knows-how-to-eat-out-of-milky-medical-IV-feed-sack look about me. Old Lady and Barfing Lady’s beds were next to Frog Lady’s bed, also facing mine, so they were also frequently in my frame of view.
Next to Me Lady: This woman did seem ill sometimes. She was unremarkable. Additionally, because her bed was located next to mine, I couldn’t stare at her and observe her without it being very obvious.
I wanted to keep a war-style journal:
Sunday 2:28pm, Day 4, Frog lady stares at me, speaks to me for the first time
Sunday 4:14pm, Still Day 4 Right elbow has lost any concavity it once had and is filled to a disgusting swollen blob with milky medical IV feed sack fluid
Monday 11:32am, Day 5, Frog lady eats for the fourth time before lunch
Monday 12:58pm, Still Day 5, Monkey lady climbs on top of her bed to be able to reach her IV bag, detaches from the holder, balances bags atop her sparse afro and leaves the room with bag on head...seriously
Tuesday 9:09am, Day 6, Korean soap operas causing IQ to drop
...and in this manner I spent Sunday, Monday, and part of Tuesday. Well, this and trying to talk my way out of being stabbed with more needles, which did not, on a single occasion, work. Part three shall include pictures of the best of the Get Well cards from my students.