Being sick not as fun as you might think

When I was a kid, I thought it sounded like fun to be sick.

Being sick at home meant my mom would bring me tea with honey and let me watch movies during the day. Putting up with a drippy nose and a sore throat seemed like a more than fair exchange for missing a couple days of school.

I remember a couple times visiting my parents in the hospital and how that seemed a little scary, but still mostly fun. An awesome bed with all these fun buttons to push, eating off a tray while in bed, getting to lie around and watch TV all day — was there any possible downside to being sick?

Now I'm an adult, and being sick sucks. There's just no other word for it. I've been sick for more than a month now. I've been to the ER more times than I care to share, and was admitted to the hospital for a week. Now that I'm home, I just lie in bed and try to nap between endless visits to the hospital, the doctor's office, and embarrassing, probing exams.

As a nurse I was prepared for the fact that it's not actually fun to be a patient in the hospital. I knew that I'd get woken up at five in the morning for lab draws, and that the fun of playing with the bed rather quickly looses its charm.

I am probably the biggest television addict you will ever meet, so for me to say that TV became quickly boring is a shocking statement to those who know me.

The hospital offers room service, with a fantastic menu of tempting foods. Unfortunately, I was too nauseated to enjoy anything, and just ate my sad little pieces of toast and sipped ginger ale. For me to lose interest in food and television meant that something must have been seriously wrong.

Between all my different tests and doctor appointments, I've had the opportunity to go to several different hospitals in the Rogue Valley. I like Rogue Valley Medical Center a lot. The people are nice, everything looks shiny and new, and there's a beautiful water feature at the front that never fails to make me need to pee. My son likes it because its offers French fries in the cafeteria. As much as I like RVMC, I love Ashland Community Hospital. ACH may not look quite as shiny and new, and instead of a water fountain there are just some trees and flowers in front, but ACH feels like home. Being sick there is sort of like being sick at home and having my mom around to bring me tea and start my IV.

Health care workers the world over are kind, good people. I know that you can probably think of a grumpy doctor, or a nurse whom you secretly believed would dull her needles as she saw you coming, but in general people go into health care because they really like other people and being able to take care of those people in their time of need.

The nurses, doctors, and aids at ACH didn't just take care of my illness and my symptoms, they helped me feel like a human being again. Some people went out of their way to do things that made me feel cared about, and not just cared for. An aide named Sarah helped me wash my hair. This may not sound like a big thing, but I have oily, greasy hair and I don't like to go out in public without a daily shower. Sarah not only washed my hair, but made me feel like she had all the time in the world to do it in, which as a nurse I know wasn't possibly true. Sarah was probably running around all day helping all sorts of patients and their families, and yet she found time to wash my hair and do it with a smile on her face.

As Ashlanders we are all part of a larger community, and part of that larger community is Ashland Community Hospital. Being sick isn't fun, and the hospital isn't fun, but the hospital, and it's staff, can be a blessing to all of us.

Zoe Abel is at home, going through two to three paperbacks a day. Her love of food and television is gradually returning. You can contact her at

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