Living in a Hospital: The Room

As I’ve explained in previous posts, we were on vacation when our son B’s appendix ruptured. He had an appendectomy and was in the hospital in Cody, Wyoming for four days. Six days after coming home to Austin, he had pains again, and had to have a follow-up surgery, and he has been in the hospital here in Austin for six days now. And when I say that B has been in the hospital, I really mean our family has been in the hospital.

Let me know if this has changed over the past twenty years, but in the Netherlands, hospital beds were two to a room, with a curtain that you could close for some visual privacy. You could get a single room, but they were called first class and you probably had to pay out of pocket for one. So, although it’s another thing that makes healthcare so outrageously expensive in America, I do love the hospital rooms here. All single, and super nice.

We were impressed with B’s room in the hospital in Cody, Wyoming a few weeks ago. It seemed very spacious, with an easy chair that folded out to a bed that fit exactly between the bed and the window.

It had lots of cabinet space and a spacious bathroom. And of course TV and a DVD/VHS recorder for his viewing pleasure. And good wifi.

Now B is in Dell’s children’s hospital here in Austin, and the room is almost twice as big–bigger than many a Dutch living room.

It doesn’t come across in the photos (which I took with my phone), but there’s a love seat that folds out to two beds, and even though they are perpendicular to the bed, there is still about two feet between B’s bed and the folded out love seat beds.

The chair looks awkward there, but we put it on that side of the bed to better watch DVD’s, and have a foot rest with one of the fold-out beds folded out.

There’s the entertainment/cubby/desk area, again with perfect wifi, so T has been able to work here, and I’m blogging away.

Two nights we all slept in this room. T and I on the fold-out beds, and R on a mat on the floor. We could easily have a ten-person slumber party here. And you could dance in the bathroom.

The other day B’s advisory came to visit during their advisory class and lunch: ten teenagers and their advisor, and they all fit.

The room in Wyoming was very quiet, while this room in Dell’s is not soundproof near the window, so if there’s a loud family meeting in the room next door, it’s annoying. But then I think of the Dutch two-bed hospital rooms, with only a curtain for privacy, and the limited conversations you could have when visiting, and I realize we really can’t complain.

Oh, and visiting hours are all day.

4 responses to “Living in a Hospital: The Room

  1. Marie-Jacqueline

    First of all I hope that your son, and family included is doing well!

    The last time I was in hospital for an operation it was 6 years ago.
    Two or four person in a room, for some privacy a curtain between the beds is still very common.
    Man and woman are mixed.
    First class doesn’t excist anymore!

    What has changed is for instance that you can buy a cheap little headphone so you can watch your own television (hangs from the seeling).
    The sound doesn’t bother no-one that way.
    Douche and toilet are for two patient to use.

    Visiting hours!
    Most hospitals I know of have experimented with visitinghours:
    All day visiting hours, or afternoon and evening.
    Most of those hospitals decided to limit visitinghours again to the afternoon and eving and limtit the time.
    This because it ito much nterefered with hospital routine.
    I mean patients have to go for tests, examiniations etc.
    Furthermore visitors stayed to long so patients didn’t get the rest they needed and were often exausted after visitinghours.
    (I can undertand that in the US the distance to a hospital can be that great that family stays with their relative)

    Exceptions are made for:
    The maternityward and childrens’s ward
    Intensive care: Visits are limit to two visitors per visit and limited time.
    All patients with MRSA are isolated in private rooms.
    Patients from foreign hospitals and suspected MRSA carriers are screened and isolated. (This amongst other rules keeps the MRSA numbers lower than most other countries)
    Family of people that are very serious ill and/or dying.
    They can visit their loved one all day and night.

    The room your son had looks more like a hotelroom.
    I think those hospitalrooms will be very rare here.
    Maybe you will find them in private clinics like some clinics for plastic surgery (facelifting , tummy-tuck that type of thing)

    For me the care I get, the professionality of the nurses, specialists is more important than having a private room with all the trimmings.


  2. So sorry to read that B is needing to spend so much time in the hospital.

    Perhaps children’s hospitals are different, I don’t know, but I can assure you that not all hospitals are as you describe. I had a nice 4-day “visit” to a hospital in Alabama and it was a multiple-person-per-room situation. I was “fortunate” enough to have something contagious so I got my own room, but it was not even close to the spacious, well-equipped rooms you’ve described.

    It’s lousy to have to stay in the hospital regardless of how nice the accommodations are. I hope B is feeling well soon.


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