Mildly Amusing, Modern Medicine

The Rights of Passage

Here’s the short list of things you need to know about staying in the hospital.

First, never try to buy sensible yet stylish pajamas to wear in the hospital — the day before Valentines Day. Unless you think a black and red lace see-through number is appropriate for the hospital. If you do, it will no doubt, not make you popular with the nurses.

The second thing is this: When going to the hospital, leave all of your valuables and your dignity at home. You won’t be in need of either.

The day after surgery of any kind, the kindly nurses will come to your room with pointed bayonets and poke you until you get out of your bed. And then they will make you walk up and down the hall. This will seem like a really silly thing to do because you won’t even be able to remember exactly where your feet are located. They will tell you that they are making you walk not just because they can and they want to humiliate you, but to encourage the passage of gassage (a new word I just now made up).

At this point you will want to hit the kindly nurses with something, but you have neither the strength nor anything handy that isn’t already plugged into you somewhere. So instead you mutter “damage” under your breath and you go. You go so that they might not poke a hole in your brand new sensible, yet not at all stylish Target Grandma Gown with their bayonets.

To be fair, the nurses promise you that as soon as you can “do this thing which they describe all too technically for my appetite” they will give you some real food, food that you cannot see through! And after several days with no food, this seems a good idea. This food reward system kind of makes you feel a bit like a dog. But like a dog, you are more than willing if it means you’ll get a Snausage or a biscuit or something and that they might then go away and let you nap on a sunshiny spot on the floor without bothering you.

So then.

There you will be, wearing your new Target Grandma Gown, bereft of your valuables and dignity, shuffling up and down the hall, taking itty bitty Tim Conway baby steps, hoping and praying to get a food reward for doing something which is considered impolite.

And it is then that you are acutely aware that everyone else is out there doing the same thing. Everyone has the same lofty goal. Passage of gassage.

And that makes it very hard to make eye contact with the other patients you “pass” in the hallway.

45 thoughts on “The Rights of Passage

  1. Oh My Goodness! Passage of Gassage! What a goal! I remember after my husband had his colonoscopy, this VERY atrractive nurse comes in. He smiled and seems so pleased he was blessed with such a cutie pie. Her first question though was about the “passage of gassage”. His entire face (minus a smile) turned so red. Toooo funny! Hope you’re up and about soon.

  2. I really enjoy your blog. My Mother was in her forties when I was born. I feel certain that I wasn’t planned because the sibling next to me was 14!

    I had a hysterectomy when I was 44. I was in the hospital 9 days and split from can to can’t but it is true you will feel wonderful once you get over it. However, it did take about a year for me to get that feeling.
    God Bless.
    Betty @ Country Charm

  3. I’m glad to see that your sense of humor made it through surgery intact. It’s good to know all is well. I assume you have passed the gassage test and are now consuming something solid.
    Praying for your!!

  4. I’m glad to see that your sense of humor made it through surgery intact. I’m just sure you passed the “gassage test” and are now enjoying consuming solid food.
    I’m praying for you!!

  5. Tim Conway baby steps… I love it!

    And having been hospitalized once with my Crohn’s, how well I remember the “pointed bayonets”! But in my case, they contained Demerol, which made them a little more welcomed…

  6. So considering the Snausage incentive, I’m imagining that all the patients in the hallway were acting the perfect reverse of middle-school boys, yelling, “I did it! That was MINE! I ripped one! You did not! It was me! Can I have my treat now?”

  7. Bless your heart! Pointed bayonets, “damage”, Tim Conway baby steps!! I was gasping for air from laughing so hard! Yet, I feel your pain. I hope you feel better real soon. Remember…and this, too, shall pass…..with gassage. Take care, AM!

  8. What a picture you have once again painted with your words! I should know by now that drinking anything and reading your posts should not be combined as I end up with whatever I’m drinking all over my monitor.
    Hope you are on the mend and feel better soon.

  9. I know we’re arent too laugh at other misery, but Oh my goodness you had me crackin up tonight! Congrats on graduating to solid foods, hope the final exam wasnt too hard. He hee. Geesh, I was reaching for that one.
    Praying your recovery is fast!

  10. oh my stars… I SO remember this!!!! I cannot believe how humiliating it is… and yet there are the rest of the patients beautiful ugly and in between alike… HA!!!!!!

    Thanks for the laugh! and reminder: (Lord please, let it not be another C-section!)

  11. After my hysterectomy last spring,I ended up in the same room as my aunt. Which made the “passage of gassage” that much worse, knowing that this was not someone that I would never see again, and so who cares what they thought of my “passing”. She, on the other hand, had no such trouble……!

  12. Can you imagine what it must be like for a nurse. The power! Bw ha ha ha ha! If you get to humiliate normal intelligent adults for literally hours everyday, that’s got to do something to your psyche. (My dad’s an RN, but I only ever remember him complaining about wiping people’s bums. He must not be as power mad as I am. Good thing I took his advice and avoided nursing.)

  13. Really and truly, all the nurses, except the recovery room nurse whom I will be writing up, was kind and caring and respectful and wonderful. I couldn’t do what they do.

  14. Ya’ gotta have goals. Aim high! (Not literally.)

    I agree that they must have left your funnybone fully intact. There’s humor in almost any situation, I guess, if you can surface enough to see it. Here’s hoping that the state of your body’s recovery is soon in line with the condition of your spirits. Glad your home!

    The description of your walk brought back a painful memory from 27 years ago: 5-minutes after arriving in my regular room post-op from an appendectomy, a nurse got me mixed up with someone else and started walking me in the halls until an angel of mercy noticed the mistake!

  15. Ugh. I understand. I’ve had two c-sections. The doctors did not want to release me from the hospital until my “bowels moved”. And they would not give me any solid food until that happened. I could never understand what they expected to move if I did not have any solid food in me to move.
    Glad you are on the road to recovery.

  16. Oh you’re back! Joy oh joy for us all today! Praise God for your return!

    When I had my first c-section, the nurses were all so kind, except for that poking thing – and of course I was too fearful of liking the pain meds, I would never take it before they came in to check on me. On the fourth day of my hospital stay, this sweet nurse named Sharon (the only nurse I remember by face and name – yes, it’s engraved into my mind now) came in to check me in the morning. She poked and out of no where, I slapped her hand away. I was mortified that I would do such a mean thing to this wonderful older lady who had been nothing but gentle to me, well except for the poking thing. I kept apologizing and then I just kept crying. I couldn’t stop… She just pulled up my blanket, patted my hand and said, “I think you’re going to be just fine now. We won’t have to check on that anymore, okay?” Then she backed out of the room.

    I guess the moral of my story is to slap first and then beg for forgiveness afterwards. You can blame it all on your hormones or emotions.

  17. You crack me up! I’ve always thought that patients should be given more coddling and hugs and TLC after the trauma that is surgery, but there must be a class in nurse’s school called “Get Over Yourselve. You’re the 42nd person I’ve met today who just had surgery… so buck up!”

  18. When I finally “passed” after my spine surgery, my middle sister emailed all the people on the prayer list and let them know. It was awful– the dump heard round the world.

  19. Oh, how I can relate. My oldest son was born via c-section and I, being heretofore almost prudish in my personal modesty, was amazed at how natural it seemed for everyone in the world to want to know all about my bodily functions. Yes, I lost my dignity when I checked into the hospital back in 2000 and I haven’t been able to find it since.

    I’m stealing the phrase “passage of gassage,” just so you know, and I plan to use it every day.

    And Big Mama’s comment made me fall over laughing.

  20. The comments on this post had me laughing out loud and possibly caused some passage of gassage. I can say it was your gas if you’d like.

    Hope you are feeling better annd finally had your snausage

  21. I had a hysterectomy four months ago. I was told that I couldn’t go home until the “passage of gassage.” My son and husband were in my room watching a football game. My son was anxious to get home to watch the game on the big screen……but alas, there was no “passage of gassage.” The last time the nurse came into my room, my son let out the most ungodly “passage of gassage” in the history of mankind and exclaimed, “MAMA!!!!!!!” I went home shortly thereafter. I love that boy.

  22. Although you have a bizillion comments on here already, I wanted to take the time to let you know you are in my prayers.
    I must say, also that Lucy’s story (above) might inspire you somehow. Maybe you could do an armpit toot or something when the nurse isn’t looking. 😀

  23. I’m so sorry I haven’t come by…I had no idea that you were going through this, and I pray that everything will turn out alright for you! I, too, am facing a possible hysterectomy due to a fibroid with a mind of it’s own. The choice seems to be up to me at this point, and I’m petrified to go through with it. God bless you for being so brave.

    And about the “passage of gassage” (what a hoot): clear liquids never helped ANYONE pass gas, or anything else except urine for that matter. What is wrong with hospitals, anyway? Haven’t they ever heard of Raisin Bran or prune juice?? Geez, how about some dang Metamucil?? Get those intestines rollin’!!

  24. How humiliating! When I was in the hospital after having my baby the doctor asked me, in front of my husband’s whole family, if I’d had a bowel movement and if I was passing gas. Seriously? There is no dignity for a woman.

  25. Oh, thank you for writing this! I laughed until I cried reading it – I had a c-section two years ago and this is EXACTLY what I experienced. 🙂

  26. I remember those times. After my laparoscopy three years ago, the nurses were so surprised that I was actually begging to walk up and down the hallways. But me, I’m always on top of gas issues. Super gasser that I am. Of course, I actually requested jello, too, because if there’s one place you can get good jello it’s in the hospital.

  27. Oi vey! 🙂 Glad you’re back and remembering that a cheerful heart is the best medicine…take it easy and let your family love on you!! Love in Him…

  28. I’d rather be poked with a bayonett and forced to walk then ever go through the feeling of trapped gas again. Ever. No snausage needed.

    And you gotta love a Tim Conway reference.

  29. I am a nurse and I found this absolutely hilarious! I almost fell off the couch laughing. So interesting to get the patients point of view. However believe me if you ever got the gas stuck or filled up your tummy with food before the intestines wake up you would think all the walking and “passage of gassage”, an act of extreme mercy. Believe me. I have been a patient and a nurse. I have alos had a hysterectomy and once you heal and get all your energy back (sometimes take up to a year) you will feel so great!
    Thanks for the joyous laughter!

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