CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Scenario one:
Imagine lying in bed in the hospital after surgery. You're nauseous, in pain and miserable. Now imagine that the people visiting the patient in the hospital bed next to you decide to hold an impromptu -- and very raucous -- family reunion complete with brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and long-lost cousins.
They use all the chairs in the room for themselves, leaving none for your visitors, turn the volume on the TV to "screaming" in order to hear a football game, and keep the toilet in your room in constant use.
If you would happen to need the bathroom, you would likely have to find another one down the hall. Their rude and obnoxious behavior has made you feel 10 times worse.
You are hospitalized for a severe illness and are experiencing a fever, muscle aches and a splitting headache. You are hooked to a machine with tubes sticking in your arms and wearing a hospital gown that covers only the front half of your body.
With the exception of a sponge bath, you have not been able to bathe, shave or comb your hair in days. You feel wretched.
Now imagine well-intentioned friends and neighbors making a surprise visit to "cheer you on to recovery."
While you appreciate their well wishes and thoughtfulness, the last thing you want is to see or entertain well-meaning visitors, especially when they fiddle with the tube running into your arm while asking very personal questions about your prognosis and medications.
Both of these scenarios are true. They are just two examples of comments and requests received from readers asking that something be done about the rude behaviors exhibited by some while visiting patients in the hospital.
Since this is not a subject that most people think about until they are faced with it head-on, perhaps the following suggestions will be helpful to you the next time you visit a hospitalized friend, neighbor or loved one. Many of these tips were graciously provided by the nurses at Charleston Area Medical Center, Thomas Memorial and Saint Francis hospitals.