Zach and I went to Europe several years ago, spending a fabulous 10 days in France and Italy. We enjoyed time in Paris, southern France, Florence, and Rome. However, our recent experience with Paris was not as positive.
Following Staley's birth, I was in the recovery room until after midnight. As they were wheeling me to our room, the nurse told me that the mother/baby floor was really full and there were no private rooms available. They wheeled me into a room with about 8 people visiting on the other side of the curtain. The first thing I noticed was that the room smelled like an ashtray. I turned to the nurse even before they locked my bed into place and told her that I was not bringing my newborn baby into this room. She was sympathetic, but informed me that she wasn't sure there was anything she could do. She spoke with the charge nurse and then let me know that there was one other open room she could take us to. I soon came to learn why this other room had an opening as well.
We were taken to our "new" room where I briefly met my roommate, Paris, before being placed on the other side of the curtain. I learned a lot about Paris in the 15 hours that we shared a room. Paris is an 18 year old, now mother of 2. She kept her baby in the nursery the entire time we were together, so I never had to hear her baby crying. What I did have to hear was the really bad television that she watched for the entire time we shared a room, including all night long and throughout the next day. Each time the nurses came in to check on me or Staley throughout the night, they would be surprised that Paris was still awake. Paris responded, "I'm always up at this time of night." Which begs the question: If Paris stays up all night, who is watching her kids during the day? But I digress... I'm not sure if her hearing was a problem, but the volume of the television made me quite sure that she must be deaf in at least one ear. Of course, the quality television that she chose to watch--Jerry Springer, the Bad Girl's Club, and any other show that involved people yelling at each other and cursing so much that every other word came out as a "beep"--made the volume appear much louder. This melded nicely with her telephone conversations (that again occurred throughout all hours of the day and night) that involved much cursing and occasional yelling. At least she did not discriminate as she kept up the loud, inappropriate television and cursing through visits from doctors, nurses, my work friends, and even my 3 year old niece. Because I was sharing a room, Zach was not allowed to sleep in the room. So while Paris kept me awake with her television and telephone conversations, I also had difficulty sleeping as I was worried about being the sole person keeping an eye on our newborn baby. Zach got a quality 3 hours of sleep on a chair in the waiting room down the hall.
Throughout the next day, we asked consistently about when we might get a private room. We asked my nurse, Staley's nurse, the techs, and the charge nurse. Each person gave us a different answer. Sometimes we were first on the list for a private room, sometimes we were fifth on the list, sometimes they were working on the list, sometimes there wasn't even a list. It became increasingly frustrating. On yet another trip to the nurses station on Wednesday afternoon, Zach was asking once again about the room status. My not-so-nice nurse (the only not-so-nice nurse that I had during our stay) was curtly telling him that she had told me just 15 minutes ago that she didn't know if we'd even get a private room today when our angel walked by. Cynthia overheard Zach's interaction with my nurse and introduced herself as the manager of the floor. After hearing Zach's "concerns" about our roommate situation, she told him she'd see what she could do. Five minutes later, Cynthia was helping us pack up our room and took us down the hall to what is known as the "Princess Room." The Princess Room is the largest private room on the whole floor--bigger than the room that Paris and I shared with a bathroom three times the size. We spent the remainder of our stay as a family in the calm and quiet of our room. Although, at 4 in the morning, sometimes Zach would turn on Jerry Springer and crank it up really loud, just for old times sake.