Husband had a bad health blip recently and as he was being admitted to the hospital, I asked myself for a favor.
“Lynn, buddy old pal, can we not abandon creativity because of this hospital stay? Pretty please?”
You see, I’d really been on a roll, creatively, at home, and I didn’t want to lose momentum.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a good support to my husband. I fetched things he needed and listened in on medical conversations, so we’d have two memories to draw from instead of one. I texted everyone with updates—a crucial job when your spouse is stuck in a hospital bed.
But I wanted to be intentional about keeping my creative antennae raised.
So how did it go? (Husband’s home now, thankfully, blessedly.)
Well, it was interesting. During this experiment I was able to commit a few acts of creativity, including:
I watched the nurses carefully, looking for aspects of characterization that I might use for my fiction writing.
One scene stands out.
A pump wasn’t working—hadn’t worked for hours—and the CNA (certified nursing assistant, if that’s a new term to you) and RN (registered nurse) assigned to our room were just not getting it fixed.
The RN whispered to the CNA who made a call and soon a different CNA popped into Room 3224. She was short with strong arms, and had a badgerlike intensity about her.
Everyone stepped back while the newcomer worked. She muscled the pump into compliance, confidently and firmly, in a matter of minutes. Here, I decided, is a mechanic of medical appliances, on call from her regular duties to help her colleagues.
Thank God for mechanics.
In the past (yeah, too much time in the past year and a half spent in hospital rooms, with three different family members) I have been really annoyed and disturbed by all the beeping. Alarms everywhere! Announcing everything from empty IV bags to low oxygen levels to things even the nurses can’t quite identify.
This time I tried on a few occasions to listen differently. It didn’t work every time, but when I focused on the beeps and played with the idea of them as sounds and rhythms and not as annoyances, it was kind of fun.
A beep coming from the room next door syncopated with one in our room for a while—felt kind of reggae-ish. Throw in the whoosh from an oxygen tank and soon my foot was tapping along.
I was grateful for all the usual reasons: thankful for insurance, access to medical staff (artists in their own right), for friends and family.
But I also found myself being grateful for the simple ability to text.
People used to have to rely on phone calls—remembering who to call and then keeping track of who had been updated.
During this hospital stay I had about 7 text threads going. (I hate to lump everyone together and end up annoying people with all the notifications.) With this texting system I could always check and see who had been updated, and when—very handy when stress has tangled your brain.
Best of all, the love coming through the replies to my texts was palpable. I felt connected and supported by this invisible clan, and I think they could sense how much they matter to us as I filled them in on my husband's progress.
So, yeah, an intentional lean toward creativity worked for me, and helped pass the time until the doctor said the magic words, “We can go ahead and release you this afternoon.”
Creativity. Here in the hospital, even here. Maybe especially here.
Because creativity is healing. Creativity is life.
The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write is an effort toward wholeness. —Madeleine L'Engle