Thanks for not visiting

Dear Friends and Family:

Now that I am home from the hospital, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for not coming to visit me. Yes, you read that correctly: I’m glad you stayed home, or went out for dinner, or did something much more fun than watching Food Network reruns with me in my cramped hospital room. The thing is, if the doctors see fit to admit me to hospital, I’m pretty sick and I’m not really up for visitors. Maybe I’d feel otherwise if I were there for happy reasons, if I were having a baby, for example, but I’m not; I only look pregnant.

When you’re not there, I’m pretty busy with visitors from within the hospital. That lab technician who drew my blood just after 5 a.m. every morning, the surgery resident who discussed the fragility of my spleen with me just before 11 p.m., and all the doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff in between. My belly is a magnet for doctors in training.

The best thing about having a private room, if I’m lucky enough to score one, is not having to endure others’ visitors. I’m amazed at the crowds busting out of some patients’ rooms. My roommates must have more Facebook friends than me, or maybe they’re just not the recluse I turn into when I’m unwell. This past hospital stay, many long-lost family members visited my ailing aging roommate night after night. The patient slept most of the time while the visitors loudly and excitedly caught up on each others’ lives. Were they visiting each other or the patient? And if they were visiting each other, couldn’t they have done that in the cafeteria?

Visitors often forget the curtain between beds does not provide soundproofing, so occasionally I’d hear some pretty juicy stuff. Despite what you may think, I’m not all that  interested in the details of others’ bowel movements or erectile dysfunction. And later, when they realize I’ve heard all their true confessions, bodily or otherwise, I will feel less awkward than them. It’s amazing how my making my presence known–a little cough, perhaps, or a visit to the washroom–silences the masses.

Thank you also, dear friends, for not bringing your active and vocal two year old with you. Imagine an hour in a hospital room with a busy two year old who isn’t even there to visit you. You know I’m not anti-kid. I adore kids! Bring them to synagogue, to my wedding, to my funeral, just not to visit me at the hospital.

I wonder if I’m the only one who’d rather be alone when I’m in hospital. Nothing personal, my friends, but it’s the one time I don’t miss seeing you. I want the time to rest and recuperate so the docs will let me loose faster. I’ll look forward to catching up with you then.

I’m lucky to have friends like you who are willing to take their visiting cues from me. No need to feel guilty for not coming in. I’ll call on you when I’m home and again up to hearing all about your exploits while I was out of commission. Hope you’ll have something juicy to share with me then.

With love and my undying appreciation,




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