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Jennifer Huntley, Come on Down! You’re the Next Contestant on:

Surgery on 2 at the fabulous Miriam Hospital!!!

It was early that Wednesday, Dec. 16th. We were one of the only cars in the parking lot at the bird chirping time of 6:30am. I was antiseptically clean after 2 prescribed showers with very special purple soap (careful, don’t touch the face with it!). We went to walk thru the front doors and noticed a special Sabbath entrance. I paused for a moment (In 1902, a handful of women began collecting coins to raise $1,000 for the down payment on “a place to care for theindigent sick of the Jewish faith.”The Miriam Hospital Association was formed by Jewish women sharing a common goal: to alleviate suffering by providing hospital care for Jewish immigrants in surroundings where their language and customs were understood. In 1926, The Miriam Hospital received a charter from the Rhode Island state legislature. As the community grew, so did its need for health care services. The Miriam’s transition from a 63-bed hospital on Parade Street to the 247-bed complex on Summit Avenue has been a response to these needs. The new Miriam Hospital was dedicated on April 24, 1966, “… to serve all the people of Rhode Island, regardless of race, creed, origin or economic means.” It may be the first and perhaps only hospital initially founded and funded by women (distinguished from other hospitals for the care of women, or, staffed primarily by women). Currently, top staff are women, and it is affiliated with Brown University Medical School. WOOT WOOT!!!!! You go girls!) and thought, “Maybe I should go through that door. Perhaps I’ll receive some special extra blessing.” Instead I chose the round about…much more fun. I rang the bell at check in and much to my surprise I was #1! “This is a good sign I thought”

Once checked in, my Dad and Step-Mom (who had moved in to my place the night before), and I were motioned to the elevator to the Surgical Floor. Spunky, sparkly, cheery Diedra greeted us as we checked in. With her lilting Irish brogue, she made us feel right at home. As if we were guests in her tea house in County Claire (except really what I wanted at the moment was a Guiness or a shot of Jameson’s not some Irish tea and scones). Ladies and Gentlemen, this is who you want at the desk of something serious like the surgical ward. Diedre was bright and cheery and sporting the bling from the top of her blond head to her bright yellow blazer and down to the diamond encrusted landyard she wore around her neck. She (apparently it’s a tag team: my Parents said her sister Linda works side by side with her and is practically a twin in every way.) made us feel welcome and calm and frankly; happy.

She showed us to the waiting area and I stared out the window instead of at the other patients and families waiting for their names to be called. 592

I took notice of the hip upholstery on the comfy chairs, the framed photographs of Providence landmarks and was very thankful the tv was not blaring something obnoxious and headache inducing like FOX NEWS. I mean come on folks, I hadn’t had any coffee you wanna give a girl a break. I did happen to notice a big screen jetting out from the wall. “What is that?” I thought. I showed my parents and we realized it was an up to the minute update of patients and who has checked in and who has gone in. Jeez it was more up to date  than the DMV! Certainly much more exciting……

“Jennifer Huntley and So and So!” (Come on Down!) The young lady called 2 of us to join her. We hugged our respective relatives and started the long walk. Seriously, it was long and winding. It was however, made very interesting by a large collection of black and white photographs hung all along the hallway. At first I thought they were photos from the surgical staff in the 50’s. Actually the pictures were taken fairly recently but being in black and white and in the hospital setting, they had a retro feel to them. Everyone seemed to be smiling so I thought that was a good sign.

I was escorted to my very own pre-op bed, changed into a fashion forward johnny in my favorite color blue, and warm double treaded socks and when ot completely curtained off, had a great view of the center of the ward where the Docs and Nurses hang out before surgery.

My Dad was escorted in by my Nurse who later asked how old he was as he seemed; “so young!”) I’m thinking she thought he was handsome and fit for his age, which made his day. Dr. I came by, carrying a suspicious red cup. “You stopped at Starbucks Dr. I?” “No” he said. “It’s hot chocolate from the cafeteria.” (It became part of his daily “uniform” his preppy sweater, wide waled corduroys, an old canvas LL Bean bag on his shoulder and sharpies and pens in the pocket of his Doctor’s coat. A reassuring site to see every morning in the hospital). He checked my vitals, typed info into the laptop (nothing is written down anymore. Hospitals are very tech savvy now…or getting there at least) and took out a super fine point sharpie. “What’s that for?” I asked. “I need to mark the spot.” No room for error here and before you could blink, x marked the right kidney area along with a signature. “Time to go!” The Nurse kindly let my Dad say good bye and off I went.

The next part was all a blur…as they say… well actually not really a blur as I remember nothing……The next thing I knew I was waking up in my room.

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