What Is It About Hospitals That Scares the “Mess” Out of People?

I mean, besides the fact that many people die while they are there. That issue aside, what gives?

In my former life, I was in the medical field for many years. I have visited almost every hospital in the metropolitan area of Atlanta many times. I have walked patient room halls to meet clients, met with all kinds of doctors and nurses and reviewed medical records until my mind went numb. Medical records review is lengthy, heavily boring and requires mental stamina. Half of what medical staff documents, in the medical records, are never read by anyone!

I am also aware that hospitals are usually one “big cootie factory” after another. It is not the hospitals fault, honestly. Think about it, you cram dozens of people who are sick and/or immuno suppressed into one small space. Of course, you are going to have all kinds of crap floating around in the air and living on the walls. Ask any surgeon and he/she can tell you how many “cooties” are living in their nose membranes. Conversely, people who work in hospitals reportedly have the strongest immune systems.

However, what make a person completely freak out when told they have to go into a hospital? I have already checked and the boogey man does not live there. He actually lives under your bed, but that is for another time.

I recall a time when a friend and I went to visit someone in the hospital after a surgery. My friend had warned me that she did not like hospitals, but I did not think much of it at the time.

I drove us both to the hospital and we make our way through the halls of the patient rooms. We are less than halfway through the football field distance to the room and my friend hunches over her knees. I was talking to her at the time and noticed she was not walking next to me anymore. I look back and she is leaned over with her hands on her knees. She is breathing like a track sprinter and was just as red in the face. Ah, she meant she “really” did not like hospitals, after all. Silly me.

I do my best to calm her and try to ensure that she does not pass out, like a new dad seeing his baby being born. She did manage to breath and oxygenate her brain enough to continue walking to the room.

My friend did make it through the extraordinarily short visit, but she kept shifting her weight from one foot to the other and rubbing her arms like she had hives or a bug on her.

So, what gives? Please enlighten me, people. I realize that no one really wants to go to a hospital, but why does it seem like a traumatic event for some?

Most people leave the hospital better than when they arrived. However, I see so many people who are a patient or a visitor visiting a hospital that seem to require a Valium just to walk through hospital doors!

The idea of a hospital is to make you well, not hyperventilate and puke. Although, I have seen a lot of people “lose their lunch” when getting medications. The sight of needles has the same effect on several people that I know, too.

I actually know a few people that will not enter a hospital at all, neither as visitor nor as a patient. This strikes me as odd, as most people are born in a hospital!

One last category is those “addicted” to going to the hospital. There are multiple reasons for these folks to go to the hospital, but few of them are reasonable. Most of them were “mental” in nature.

When I worked at an inpatient hospital, I came to recognize these particular people and noticed their frequency to come in. Who has that kind of free time anyway?

Many times folks just wanted to be seen, heard and validated. So, that’s what we would do for them. The patient always got “checked out” by a doctor in order to make sure nothing was truly medically wrong, then some sort of counselor or social worker would meet with them for assessment.

I soon realized that there are a lot of crazy people in the world! Many of them are roaming hospital halls like a sorority house pledge.

What a lot of people fail to realize is that hospitals run 24/7. Christmas, New Year’s and every other holiday is basically just another day in a hospital. People do not get sick or injured on a schedule. I know this because I have worked many holidays and seen the strangest things.

So, I wondered, why do so many people have such a heinous aversion to hospitals?

I surveyed the friends I have that avoid hospitals. The list included the “smells”, sick people make them nervous and they did not watch to catch any “cooties.” I understood these responses, but still could not figure out why this kept them away.

If you are a person that avoids hospital, stay well! I feel for these people that have an aversion to hospitals, but many times I still do not understand.

What I can tell you from years of personal experience, working in various hospitals, is that most people working at a hospital have your well being close to heart. The people I worked with were willing to sacrifice time with their own families to care for others. I have watched doctors take a seat in a patient’s room to spend time and chat about things other than illness. I have had nurses dance with me at a patient’s bedside to gain a small smile of delight from a patient who could not get out of bed. I have worked with other therapists to assist patient’s in taking their first steps after a debilitating injury and watched as their faces regain hope of living.

I have also sat at a patient’s bedside, talking to the families, as “the life force” was slipping away from their loved one. I have given and received millions of hugs of joy and in sorrow.

So, I realize going to the hospital is not a day at the beach. Just know, if you have to go, there are people there that really do care about you and your health. And if worse case scenario, take a Valium before you go. Just let someone else drive you.

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