My friend texted me in the middle of the night – she was in the hospital with gallstones. This was a Saturday morning and they were going to keep her until at least Monday. Any normal human being would have thought, “The poor thing!” and left it at that. But my next thought was, “Ooh. Lucky.”
Admittedly, I’ve never had gallstones. They sound super painful, and no one loves pain. But I have a toddler, and my friend has several. So the idea of a quiet weekend anywhere — even a hospital — sounded like magic.
Someone else is going to make food for her.
Assuming you can eat with gallstones. (I have literally no idea.) This means she may actually eat an entire meal, instead of a few bites of ravioli, grapes, and carrot sticks left on a child’s plate, while simultaneously trying to keep said child from climbing up a bookshelf.
She’s not going to make food for anyone else.
No having to prepare ravioli-grape-carrot stick combos for three entire days.
The conversations in hospitals are about grownup stuff.
They’re generally about things like gallstones, but still. They’re not about how one of the trains in the “Thomas” movie fell into the sea, or why you’re not allowed to hit your brother just because he’s playing with the Batman that you wanted to play with, even though there are – no exaggeration – 17 other Batmans.
There’s such a thing as visiting hours.
And then there’s such a thing as “visiting hours are over.”
When visiting hours are over, she will get to go to sleep.
No one will wake her up at 4:30 in the morning because “I just got hungry for lunch” or “I thought I saw a heffalump.”
She will not have to do laundry for three days.
She won’t even have to change her clothes, and no one will judge her for it.
Speaking of clothes, she’ll basically be wearing a bed sheet.
If anything is more comfortable than sweat pants and a tee shirt, it’s a hospital gown: no waistband.
People will feel sorry for her.
It’s hard to explain how much a parent yearns for sympathy and admiration in everyday life. No one ever really says, “I don’t know how you do it!” except on the cover of Cosmo. The residual glow of three days of sympathy could last months. Or at least until the next time she’s peeling a toddler off the top of a bookshelf.
And yet, after waking up to my friend’s middle-of-the-night text, I peeked at my sleeping three-year-old and realized something: I’d miss this kid pretty desperately. So I made us some breakfast and mentally prepared for another day of chaos and joy.