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Love-Sick for my Hospital?

April 18, 2011

A lot of people hate hospitals.  I kinda love hospitals.

I work three days a week down the street from the Jewish General Hospital of Montreal, which is where, one year ago, I went to in a taxi the moment my GP called to say my blood sugar was at a 29, where I spent 2 days on an ER gurney getting stabilized, and where I now go regularly for visits with my (incredibly supportive) diabetes team. Three days a week, on my commute to work, I bike or walk past the hospital I call “home,” and I smile.

I smile because that place was where something pretty darned big happened to me. I smile because, during a pivotal moment in my life, it was my home.  Think about the place where we first kissed our true loves – that sure makes us smile, right?  I guess I had my “first kiss” with diabetes – a disease that, while not exactly a partner that buys me roses and takes out the garbage, is still a life-partner, and one I have a pretty decent relationship with.

Today I popped into the hospital for my quarterly blood test – the big ole A1C – the results of which I’ll learn at my endo appointment next week. I was excited for the blood test. I was excited to walk into the big front lobby, to navigate the maze of corridors to the C-wing, to feel the excitement of interns and orderlies zipping around in their lab coats, to smell the mix of lab chemicals and Second Cup Coffee.

It brings back warm memories. Yes, warm memories.

In the weeks following my diagnosis, to say I was freaked out was a bit of an understatement. I was calm, accepting, and at peace with my diagnosis, but not willing to take ANY risks. My regular hospital visits during those early weeks were the few times I truly felt safe in this scary new world. My diabetes team was my support group, my life line, my teachers, healers and guides. Even the receptionists at the clinic could identify me as a diabetic. I needed the world to see me that way, so that I could see me that way too.

I’m still working on building my own community of diabetics. For now, as I’ve written before, I feel pretty alone in my diabetes management, despite friends and family who care. That will change, as I take more actions to find support groups, work at a diabetes camp, and run with Team D. For now, the hospital is the only place where my diabetes can be the centre of attention. It’s the only place where people truly understand.

I had a nice, short trip today to the JGH. I took pleasure in filing my blood requisition form, people-watching in the waiting room, and in poking my head into the endo clinic to say hi (again, flood of sensory memories and warm tingly sensations). Having the blood technician rub that spot on my forearm with the alcohol swab actually felt soothing (that, I admit, is weird).

In any case, I am grateful to have a supportive home at the hospital. And I am mindful that my strong emotional reaction to that place, every time I go in and every time I bike past, is a reminder of how deep an emotional impact my diabetes has made on my life, and of how much I must still allow myself to feel.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Megan permalink
    May 19, 2011 2:58 pm


    I am a communications specialist at the JGH. We saw your blog and we loved what you wrote about our hospital. Can I please have your written permission to publish the section on your love of the JGH in Pulse, our hospitals publication? Please let me know ASAP.

    Many thanks.

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