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Sarah Stultz: You can’t help but smile with these memories

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

 

It was almost like scenes out of a movie — first, a scary movie, then a drama and finally a comedy.

Our family and I trekked to Rochester Christmas Day to spend time with my mother-in-law, who had been moved from the intensive care unit at St. Marys Hospital to a less-rigorous, more specialized unit in the same hospital. After visiting her multiple times over the past five weeks in the intensive care unit, we were eager to check out a different part of the hospital — and, even more importantly, to see her slowly, but surely, make small steps of improvement.

When we arrived, we set out on our journey to find her new room. Anyone who has been to St. Marys before can attest to how huge the hospital is and how if it weren’t for the posted signs, it would be quite easy to get lost. Even with the signs, sometimes it still happens.

We weren’t quite sure what we were going to come across, considering we had never been to the part of the hospital we were looking for. After going down a few long hallways, we knew we were getting closer. The signs still showed we were going in the right direction, but not a person was in sight. It was a much quieter part of the hospital with low light and tan-colored tile reminiscent of an earlier era.

I don’t know if it’s because we’ve watched too many scary movies or because of how dim and quiet it was there compared to the ICU, but it felt as if we were walking through a hallway in a horror film and that at any minute, some scary creature would come out of a doorway. I shudder and laugh at the same time as I think about it. I know it sounds silly, but I wasn’t the only one with that thought.

Once we got settled into my mother-in-law’s room, it was an action-packed family visit as you can well imagine with four children and four adults plus my mother-in-law — plus the machines and cords — in her hospital room. Keeping two young children entertained without making a lot of noise and keeping two teenagers focused without being on their electronic devices was quite the challenge.

After we left the hospital, we went looking for a restaurant that was open and came across Denny’s near the hospital.

The place was packed, and it felt like we stepped into a comedy — all I could do was laugh to make it through that meal. The kids were getting especially antsy as they waited for their food, and more and more people came pouring in.

At least everyone around us was in a pleasant mood, as the evening finished with a bang as my son bolted toward one of the exit doors — which happened to be the emergency exit — and alarms started blaring.

Ahh, the memories. This won’t be a Christmas we’ll forget any time soon.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.