I’ve been looking forward to this show because I thought it looked kind of cool. And right off the gate I see so many similarities to things I’ve already seen it boggled my mind. It looks like a kids version of Nurse Jackie, without the drugs. But whatever…that’s beside the point. Here’s the problem I’m running into.
I lived in a hospital, 2 to 3 weeks out of every other month I was sentenced to a hospital. I grew up knowing the nurses and knowing that there was some vampire that was going to come in, turn the lights on at 5am and make my life miserable. They force you to eat, even if you don’t want to. And there’s no gourmet chefs. They make you work your muscles and push against the wounds. There’s never a nurse that is that awesome. All the doctors are there to be paid but not a one of them makes you want to be friends with them. And that’s just the beginning.
In no hospital, did I ever, get to make my room the way I wanted it. The most I got was balloons, and those came from my dad. There was no cool guy who was a Woodstock performer there to make little quips and throw parties for you. They didn’t let you get out of the bed to go running through the halls and I don’t know a single person that wanted to KEEP their bands. And fyi, they’re only red if you have allergies and you only get one of them. The latex band is yellow, the hospital bands are white. And if you get out, you want them all off. You don’t keep any of them as a souvenir because IF you get to go home, you want to forget that you ever had to be there in the first place.
I’m trying not to get too pissy about this but I am pissed. And I’m hurt. Because this show is going to do to hospitals what media is doing to mental illness. It’s a cute little thing that makes you a better person and you never make the friends outside of a hospital that you do inside of it. You know what?
I made 2 friends, who after we left one another’s rooms, we never spoke again. And somehow I’m okay with that. Because when I look back on it now, the girl was more of a whiner than anyone else I knew. Having cancer, having an eating disorder, being in a coma, being a bitch with no heart and now needing a heart transplant? It’s not cute!
I was burned in a gas explosion when I was 6 months old. Yeah. 6 months. And for the vast majority of my life, I was poked, prodded, skinned and stitched together like some kind of new world Frankenstein’s monster! I have a mini foot and only one breast because the other one burned off. I can’t sweat properly, I have headaches and the weather can be the death of me if it’s too hot or too cold. I can’t see well and I’m only getting blinder. My left side of my body is so fucked up it’s lucky it works at all. I have a wound on my right side that has been open for 13 years because a doctor made a mistake, it used to be a hole the size of a golf ball and 3in deep in my side that oozed and had to be pumped until it was empty after every shower.
When I went to the Shriner’s hospital, I didn’t have any friends. There was no racing around in wheelchairs, and if you were a poor schmuck that had to have their birthday, or Halloween, or Christmas in the hospital, I hope you were prepared to have those days virtually ruined for you. I had a surgery on my birthday, where I lost the feeling in my left leg. Still don’t have it back and that was 20 years ago. Halloween in the hospital meant trick or treating through the OR. Oh yeah…if you didn’t find the operating room panic inducing to begin with, imagine some doctor’s sick joke of putting a bloody body on a slab and making you watch. And this was for kids. Christmas…I’m one of the lucky ones, I never had to experience that but I can venture a guess it was probably pretty miserable too. I pity the kids that had to stay there.
The worst ward, was where they had the babies. I went down there once, babies in a burn hospital…it was like Silent Hill’s hospital scenes, all the nurses were covered by yellow mesh things over their scrubs and they wouldn’t actually touch anyone. There’s no contact in there. When I finally got to the teen section of the hospital, the BEST thing we got was movie night on Fridays. But the only good thing about that was you got out of your room, if you were stuck in your bed, you had to go in the bed. And you didn’t get the chose the movie, or get anything good. I remember the one time I had that, no popcorn, we got ice cream and if you were like me, you got either blue or green jello. And the movie? Dante’s Peak. Yeah…let that one sink in for a moment.
There’s probably psychological scarring on my brain from the kind of shit I had to endure. Nurses aren’t nice and sweet and helpful. Oh sure, there’s the rare one in the bunch, usually they’re the ER nurses, but the real nurses, the ones that come into your room? They don’t give a shit about you. I’ve gotten into fights with nurses who have apparently known more about my body than I have. A few years ago I had to fight with one of them about my legs in braces that were causing more harm than good. This is the same nurse who didn’t want to believe that I couldn’t breathe out of the nose cannula. I have severe scar tissue inside my nose, not just outside. I can’t breathe through my nose. And they gave me a nose cannula. Who’s a fucking moron? Shriners weren’t much better. They will fight with you, they gave me a drug that caused hallucinations that I was screaming all night and wouldn’t sleep and then told my mother that I was probably just doing it for attention. I was watching the god damn walls melt. I have an allergy to morpheine. These are the people who make you sit in your bed and wait and wait and wait until you can barely hold it anymore before helping you go to the bathroom and if you’re like me who says fuck it and gets out of bed to do it yourself, they yell at you.
The ONLY good nurse I EVER had quit working because he was bullied out of his job. He used to bring me a ginger ale and a bowl of chicken noodle soup and sit with me and play cards until I wasn’t feeling sick anymore. But then he just wasn’t there anymore and when I FINALLY got someone to tell me what had happened to him, he quit because he was gay. And was bullied. No one would ever do the soup and ginger ale thing with me again either, I got ice chips. That’s it.
Doctors aren’t much better. When I was 6, a doctor looked right at me and said that because my left leg is twisted around, the best they can do is cut into my skin, break my bones and then realign them but I may never walk again. I cried for days. Later on in life, I had another one look at me and tell me that my cellulitis, with the 101 fever, was Mono. There was a doctor that almost killed my wife, saying for 6 months she had asthma. She had the bird flu. I’ve had doctors that make me cry, broke me down and made me scream and they were just doing their jobs.
And roommates? You’ll never get buddy buddy with your roommate. You’ll be counting the days until they go the fuck home or they’re gone to therapy just so you can sleep.
My life was HELL when I was in the hospital. I never had anyone come see me, I never had celebrities come down and spend time with me - and note I’m not angry that people like Chris Pratt or Chris Evans or Tom Hiddleston or any of those are going to hospitals to spend time with kids, that is awesome, but you know who we got? Tampa’s worst football team. And I don’t have a damn clue what they were actually doing there. I would have loved someone cool, but most of the time, it was clowns doing lame tricks.
This show is entertaining but there’s no way this is inspiring. You won’t find this kind of treatment in a real hospital.