News - March 28, 2013

A visit to Dutch hospital (I)

Het Ziekenhuis Gelderse Vallei is the first and only Dutch hospital I've been to. Luckily it was no hospital admission, but an eye-opening visit, a vivid life lesson.

The soft shade of the ward made me feel comfortable
I've been cooking for a Dutch family for almost three years. Sometimes I feel like I'm part of them. Cato, de vrouw des huizes, is one of kindest people I've ever seen. However, on a night three weeks ago we had dinner without her because of a hip-joint replacement operation she had just had. She had to stay in hospital.
At the dinner one of her daughters Karin told me about Cato's updated situation: the convalescence progressed more slowly than expected. I expressed my concern and politely requested to visit her in person. Unexpectedly they accepted it without too much hesitation, so after the dinner Karin drove me to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital, Karin told me more about this operation. She and her other six siblings had begun the preparation two months in advance. The housekeeping chores and caregiving to Frits (Cato's husband), which used to be done by Cato alone, were divided among seven children.
Karin drew up a roster of night shift: everyone would take turns to look after their father in the two weeks after Cato's operation. A hardbound notebook was also ready for the logs during their duty. 'Wow, I didn't know an over-80 housewife's life could still be so busy,' I said. 'Now you know it,' Karin said. 'And you are the master of logistics!' I said. 'Yes indeed,' she laughed.
We soon arrived at the hospital. On the way towards Cato's ward, many things fairly impressed me: the gigantic underground parking garage, the spacious entrance lobby, the "hospital smell"-free aisles, etc. 'I feel like I'm in a five-star hotel,' I said. 'Why?' Karin wondered. 'This hospital is so gezellig,' I said, 'even better than a French hospital in Nancy that I've been to.'
But what really made me wow was yet to come...
(To be continued...)
Vid of the Week  If only the hospital Gelderse Vallei had their own version....