Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hospitals of the Rich and Famous

You know you're in a swanky hospital when...

 This is the free condiment bar.

 There is anything resembling a fruit stand. With pomegranates.

 Food is cooked to order by a guy right in front of you in a chef's hat.

 These are your condiments.

 This is your ceiling.

 Decor looks like this.

 Light fixtures like this are in the budget.

 A waiting area has enough room for a tackle football game.

 There is a convenient door in the wall of the bathroom so you don't have to walk through a room with 500 people in, carrying a cup of your own urine to the nurse.

Remember a month or so ago when I had my freakout meeting with the first doctor about a VBAC?  I DID have to carry a cup of urine through a giant room full of people. It was like a DMV or an airport or something. To compare it to the above waiting area, it looked like this:

Monday I had to spend the day at my new hospital: the Pavilion for Women inside Texas Children's Hospital. Somehow they scheduled me for an ultrasound at 10am and an appointment at 2:30, which meant spending the day in the hospital. My insurance doesn't know the difference between this hospital and the first one I went to--I'll pay the same both places because I'm fortunate enough to have insurance. But the differences between the two were more than drastic.

Honestly, I think that during this hospital-and-doctor-finding journey, I've had to come to grips with how privileged a life I have had. Not to say that the first hospital was filled with underprivileged people--every one of them had an iPhone, for whatever that's worth. But the facility itself was stark, clinical and felt very low-budget, especially compared to the excessive loveliness of Texas Children's. I felt really guilty sitting in a cushy chair next to an aquarium and a decorated Christmas tree, sipping Starbucks coffee available a few steps away.  I felt...spoiled.

Growing up, we lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. Comparatively, though, we were sort of on the lower end of things. Most of my friends had nicer homes or bigger homes or drove nicer cars or had horses and designer duds that we couldn't afford. Every few years, my dad's unstable industry would result in his company being bought out and everyone getting laid off. Things felt tight at home to all of us, and I think our finances were a lot more precarious than I realized as a kid.

I never felt wealthy then, and I certainly don't now, though I know compared to the world we have so much more than the average. Yet in our neighborhood and where we fit in, I feel like Rob and I are certainly not rich. We're just getting by.

Still--getting to see the tale of two hospitals had made me come to grips with the fact that I grew up in a middle or upper middle class mindset. This is really hard to realize. I don't think about class very much. I don't think about privilege and wealth and those kinds of things, which maybe is the mark of someone in the middle or upper middle class. You don't have to worry about it.

I'm not sure I have some kind of conclusion or deep thought to all this rambling. I just had to think about these things Monday while enjoying a luxury that the people in the first hospital could not have had because of a lack of insurance for whatever reason. For me, swapping out a hospital like that was a piece of cake. For the people in the waiting room there, they probably don't have the luxury of choice. I don't feel guilty that I do have options, yet it does give me pause to think of the things I take for granted all around me in my cushy, middle-class life.

In any case, I am extremely grateful that I'm not giving birth in a DMV.

One sort of funny sign I found in the hospital bathroom.  I mean, why WOULD anyone leave their urine in this bookshelf? But I'm guessing, per the sign, it's happened before. Yikes.

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