Staying in hospital is not that different from staying in a backpacking hostel, a British woman has confirmed today.
The findings came as Caroline Gough visited her mother in North Devon District Hospital over a four day period. Gillian Byrom recently received a hip replacement.
Caroline, who was backpacking around Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, explained “The similarities between a hospital ward and a backpacking hostel are staggering.
Firstly there’s the communal sleeping in mixed or single sex rooms where everyone has a locker to put their things in and at least one piece of luggage.
Then there’s all the nocturnal activity. People trying to go to sleep early whilst other people keep them awake by talking or zipping and unzipping their bags a million times. People manoeuvring themselves out of bed to go to the loo in the middle of the night, and my Mum said that one night she had no sleep due to the constant noises from another patient’s phone. This is the sort of behaviour that happens in hostels all over the world.”
Caroline also felt the social aspects of staying in hospital were similar to that of a backpacking hostel. “You’re sharing a small space with people you haven’t met before and are unlikely to see again so the conversations tend to be about where you’re from and what you’ve been doing.
Sometimes you really hit it off with someone and have a lovely chat and then you’re faced with the awkward decision of wondering whether or not to ask to stay in touch. The number of times I woke up to find someone checking out early had left their email address or phone number on my pillow whilst I was sleeping. I think my Mum was too woozy and sore to make any lifelong friends during her hospital stay, but I had a lovely chat with Margaret from Chulmleigh on her behalf.”
In both settings, people don’t always know how long they’re staying, they might have a longer or shorter stay depending on their circumstances. So there’s the exciting element of not knowing whether you’ll have the same room mates each night or if there’ll be someone new to meet.
Caroline admits that not everything is completely identical. “Nobody brings you breakfast in bed when you stay at a hostel,” she told us. “And I imagine the use of bunk beds in hospitals would be greatly frowned upon, especially in the hip replacement ward. The biggest difference though is probably to do with vomiting. You can get shouted at and chucked out of a hostel for being sick, but in hospital special people called nurses immediately come running to look after you.”