Listening to the Short-Timers Gripe

It never fails. You’ll be entering your third or fifth or eleventh week of hospitalization and someone will strike up a conversation with you at the hospital. They will immediately launch into how sick they are of the hospital, how long they’ve been there, and how rough their road has been. Nine times out of ten? They’ve been there less than a week.

It’s really frustrating to listen to these tales. It’s really difficult to try to be sympathetic. It’s just plain hard.

By now, you’ve probably watched dozens of babies come and go in the NICU. You’ve met some great people who breezed in and out of your life. When you give birth to a micropreemie, you know from the get-go that you’ll be there for awhile. That doesn’t make it any easier.

I honestly felt that perhaps I was more at peace with our lengthy hospital stay because I never anticipated anything else. It’s not that I wanted to be spending months on end in a NICU, but I knew that was the only option I had if I planned on bringing my precious little girl home.

When you’re facing a long, practically no-end-in-sight kind of hospitalization, you’re just about guaranteed to have to listen to a few “short-timers” gripe.

My advice?

Just realize that these are people who need to talk. They need to vent. For whatever reason, they’re not getting the support and communication they need from others in their lives. So let them. With people like this, you really don’t have to say much. Just nod. Smile sympathetically. When they’ve run out of complaints, they’ll often ask, “So how long have you been here?”

Three months.
Ah, the glorious silence…

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