I was recently hospitalized for four weeks in Budapest for a serious emergency surgery. There were numerous experiences to record in my blog during this time but because of the remnant effects of the anesthesia, it is often difficult for me to determine reality from my vivid imagination. One, though, is certain when my nurse Etta required me to wear pajamas citing in easily understandable English “No nudie in hospital!”
My aunt Edna had a career as one of the early registered nurses in United States of America state of West Virginia. Just like her, Nurse Etta in Budapest looked like a nurse from years gone by as she dressed sharply in nurse attire and was loud and demanding. Undoubtedly, she commanded authority and was regarded with esteem (if not fear) by patients and other nurses. Compassion wasn’t at the top of either Etta’s or Edna’s list of attributes.
In the Budapest hospital I had grown accustomed to just leaving my gown off. The seriousness of my surgery meant that I was being poked, woken, samples of everything imaginable taken, and sent for testing regardless of the hour.
Getting undressed continuously just seemed to not only be a waste of time but also a particular drain on the very little energy that I had following the initial surgery which had to be repeated two days later.
My stay was more difficult as most spoke only Hungarian and the food was Spartan (to say the least). Thank goodness for my landlord Zsolt with whom I became friends to help with the language, regularly bring me food and water, and keep my family advised of my condition.
I know Etta is a good nurse and, like my Aunt Edna, placed getting me well at the top of her priority list. But me having nothing on while under bed linen boiled over at the beginning of her shift one evening when she came to see me and threw pajamas at my face and said “no nudie in hospital.” I imagine she rehearsed that phase prior to coming to see me in order to ensure I would understand.
Etta’s shift was overnight. At 5:21 am it was time for me to be poked again. She was on rounds and came into my shared room to draw some blood. Promptly she checked under my sheet to reveal that I had not put on the pajamas she had given me hours before.
Just like it would have been with my Aunt Edna, “all H broke loose!” Now I was wide awake as she stood by me until I had those pajamas on. She was pleased.
I mentioned previously that I had other “experiences” in the hospital while under anesthesia’s effects. I am now reasonably certain that I wasn’t abducted by nurses or South Koreans or that I lived with my grandfather when he was a young lad. But the story of Etta is real; I am certain. Zsolt helped me understand Hungarian custom to give the nurses a gift basket to share on my discharge. I was happy to present it to nurse Etta as we both laughed about “no nudie in hospital.”
I am now recuperating in the USA in North Carolina with my brother and his wife.