Well they say life is the result of experiences and in the recent weeks I had an experience that will certainly add to my life; my view of life to say the least! For the first time in my life I was a patient in a hospital. Sure I’ve been in the hospital before to have broken or dislocated bones mended, but that was always on an “outpatient” basis. You know, in and out in a matter of hours.

Now however as I awoke in a hospital bed with all the necessary tracking and fluid delivering tubes attached I knew I wasn’t leaving in a mere hour or two. No, I had been informed prior to my hip operation that I would be a resident for several days. Of course before surgery the pain was so bad that the length of the recuperative stay mattered little. Heck I would have agreed to a year if they had said it was necessary!

But, as reality sank in and I lay in a semi dark room illuminated only by monitors I began to get a bit restless. The fact that it was about 2:00 AM and very quiet except for electronic beeps now and then and the shuffle of footsteps as nurses went about their rounds added to my uneasiness. What if they forget I’m here? What if they mix me up with another patient? What if no one comes to get me out? All the irrational thoughts possible crossed my anesthetized mind. I reached for a buzzer attached to the bed and like a child on a dark and scary night called for someone!

Moments latter a young night-shift nurse appeared. “Is there something you need?” “Yes”, I answered, “am I okay”

She smiled and re-assured me that I was fine and settling into the standard recovery program which I had naturally been told about but in panic had forgotten. I breathed a sigh of relief and as she took my vital signs and administered a dose of liquid painkiller dropped back into sleep.

I awoke early to a much louder and busier hospital than I’d fallen asleep in. It was daybreak, the nurses where changing shifts, raindrops and streaks of sunlight played on the window of my room and the smell of food wafted towards me. I was groggy and somewhat stiff but before me stood a nurse with a tray containing a low sodium breakfast and I first realized I was going to be fine because I got hungry!

The rest of my brief stay was quite an interesting experience. As a writer I tend to notice a lot of things about people, their speech, their motions, their moods, and when you are in a facility with three different work shifts you see a lot.

I witnessed the distinct differences between the night crew and day crew. The friendliness of the swing shift, the politeness of the cleaning crews and they’d duck in and out of the room to clean. The variety of doctors on call; the gruff ones, the friendly ones, and my own physician who made several trips on his days off to check on me. I was in a rather isolated single room so interaction with other patients was minimal but as I progressed to walking with a walker I toured the facility and by mere repetition became a nodding acquaintance with others I saw frequently. I actually began to feel right at home when it dawned on me; if I felt that good and relaxed then it was time for me to leave. Like I had been told, on the morning of the forth day I was notified that after one last visit from the doctor and physical therapist and a shower I was leaving!

My girlfriend had arranged to be there to drive me home and like clockwork I was discharged. It was done with the same precision as my operation and as the nurse wheeled me out to the car I knew I’d lived through an experience that had relieved me of my pain and opened my eyes to the amazing work that the many medical professionals of all levels do.

My hats are off to them and I hope that if you ever have to experience a hospital stay it will be as good as mine was!

And so folks, that’s it for the Hip saga; I’ll fill you in again sometime and let you know just how it is to be HIP!!!
To reach Rick Schultze email: yarick@pioneer.net

Rick Schultze

A few years ago at a writers conference held in the central Oregon coast town of Yachats, where I live, I listened to the late Ken Kesey, a frequent visitor to the area, tell a writer that this could be a hard place to write. “If you think you can sit there staring at the ocean for inspiration you’re wrong, it’s not out there, it’s in your head!” He was right; it is beautiful here in Lincoln County, the kind of beauty that makes concentrating on anything else tough and since hearing that insight, I’ve written at a desk facing a wall, no windows opening onto a ocean view, although I have one, but it’s worked. I’ve done, and do, different kinds of writing. As a freelance writer I’ve been a observational columnist, a humor columnist, a book and music reviewer for newspapers, magazines, and online. However, as a creative writer, my heart belongs to fiction. In that genre I do short stories, road adventure stories, musical adventure tales, and in current production, are three small novels. So really the purpose of this web site is to give you a glance of some of the things I’ve done, a preview of what’s coming, and hopefully, a view of what it’s like to be a writer living in a small town on the Oregon coast!