JUNE 7, 1938
HYDE PARK, Monday—The unexpected is always what one should expect in life, but I never remember it until I am up against it. Mrs. Scheider and I had planned to leave here by motor at 7:30 this morning for New York, where we were to proceed to Washington by train. Man proposes, but God disposes. Yesterday she appeared to have a mild case of grippe but, suddenly, we found ourselves taking her to the hospital at 11 p.m. last night. A consultation revealed no definite reason for various symptoms. This morning an operation was decided on.
I think that out of my long experience, I must know all the sensations that anybody who waits in a hospital can experience. But as I sat this morning and wondered what the doctors would eventually come out of the operating room to tell me, I realized that in previous operations I had always known just exactly what was being done behind those ominous doors. For me, uncertainty is much more difficult than facing some known difficulty or danger, so I was much relieved when the patient was back in bed and the doctor finally told me what he had done. We will have two or three anxious days, but I feel sure that everything will come out right.
Someday, perhaps, I shall know the luxury of being a patient. I realize that if I were very ill and suffering great pain there would be very little luxury attached to it. But instead of worrying about someone else, I want to enjoy having everyone worry about me. Of course, this would include many attentions— having all the people I liked best spend most of their time with me, having all the nicest books and being able to read them, having enough flowers and not too many, and being able to eat the things I like, but none of the things I dislike. In addition, I should not want to take any disagreeable medicine or have any painful treatments.
It is now 3:00 o'clock, I have had a glass of milk and a sandwich for lunch. Mrs. Scheider's brother has arrived and I am at the cottage telephoning pretty nearly all the world, it seems to me. When this column is done I will return to the hospital, though I know there can be very little change for several hours.
When I left the hospital at 1:00 a.m. this morning, I was amused to have one of the young nurses ask me to sign her year book, which had just come out. It seemed a trifle incongruous to think about autographs in a hospital, but she was not the only one. After I returned from seeing Mrs. Scheider into the operating room this morning, three more sweet young things who had just graduated, appeared and asked for signatures in their books. Finally, a patient walking down the hall asked me to sign her baby's photograph and handed me two other slips for patients who were not able to be about. Children are the usual collectors of autographs, but by no means exclusively.