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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » A series of nosey questions

   
Author Topic: A series of nosey questions
goatboy
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Here's my next question.

Are any of you so uncomfortable with hospitals that you won't go to visit a sick friend or relative?

Now, the same question but with funerals. Anybody who can't bear to go?

May answer to both: No and no. No problems with either one, but I know that some people do have and I'm trying to get a handle on how big a segment of the population that is.


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cvgurau
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No and no.

I went to a few funerals as a member of the church band, and one otherwise. I wasn't really bothered by it. Everyone dies. It's inevitable. But then, I've never attended the funeral of someone I've really cared about. I imagine my answer would be different if I had.

And hospitals? Like most other places, they stir my imagination, and sympathy for others, but I've never dreaded them, though I can see why some might.


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Minister
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As a pastor, I couldn't get out of funerals and hospital visitation if I wanted to. How difficult the funerals and visits are depend greatly upon the people and situations involved.
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hoptoad
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Yes and Yes

(Is that bad? )

Often duty wins-out though.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited May 18, 2005).]


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TaShaJaRo
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I can deal with hospitals for the most part. The only time I found it difficult was when my mother had brain surgery for a tumor. I got very lightheaded visiting her in ICU because of all the tubes and bandages and because she was so out of it, not my mom at all. So that kind of freaked me out.

Funerals I avoid if at all possible. I cannot deal with death and if I do go to a funeral, I refuse to go near the casket.


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Dark Country
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Yes, I have a problem with hospitals and sick people, because I fear suffering.

No, I don't have a problem with funerals, because the suffering is over, and I don't fear death.

To put another way, I fear dying, but I don't fear death.


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rickfisher
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No, and no. I don't like funerals, but not because there's a dead person there.
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Rahl22
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No and No.

I work at a hospital, so that rules that out. Oh, and if like you said, I were visiting a sick relative or friend at their funeral, that would freak me out. All that banging from the inside of a coffin could be disquieting.


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Survivor
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It's a strange question, but I suppose since we've had a few "yes" replies it isn't something to take for granted.

I haven't been to many entirely depressing funerals, most the people I know that well belong to a culture that regards the funeral as a way to help people deal with grief rather than a way to make sure they feel bad about losing someone close to them (that part is kinda assumed). And I've never been to a totally depressing hospital, I'm not even sure they exist anymore, at least not ones you can actually visit. Even nursing homes and terminal care facilities are pretty nice these days.

I do sometimes feel kinda awkward if the person I'm visiting is, like, half-naked in bed and hooked up to a bunch of tubes. That depends on a lot of factors, but it's kinda like visiting with someone while they're sitting on the toilet. That's only a problem if the patient is conscious and semi-mobile, I guess. And, you know, somebody that you don't usually feel comfortable talking to while one of you is on the toilet.


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xarius
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No and no. My mom worked in a hospital so I was there all the time anyway. I've been to quite a few funerals, some out of respect for my friends who lost someone, some from my my own family. I feel uncomfortable if I don't know the deceased, but I'm not there for them anyway. I'm there for the family.
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goatboy
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Interesting, I had expected the two to perhaps go together. (They seem similar in my mind.) But, we're getting a segment of the population that is only bothered by one and not the other and another group that is bothered by both.
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Void
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Answer: No and No
Now here's a question for you: Why do you ask? I know you said you want to get an idea of how large a segment of the population would answer yes, but why? Just curious.

[This message has been edited by Void (edited May 19, 2005).]


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Three Minute Egg
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I have no probs with hospitals. I think funerals are a pretty barbaric (for lack of a better word) custom and choose not to go when possible. I think we honor the dead more by gathering and remembering them than by public displays of grief.

Of course, there's always the possibility of scenes like The Soprano's when Tony's mother diead and janice got everyone together...


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djvdakota
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No and No.

But I do hate going to funerals because by the time the funeral rolls around the grieving have done most of their grieveing. It just seems a little weird that people gather around a dead body as if it can appreciate the respects they pay. Or that they get together to dredge up the feelings of loss again. It's like the guy in Of Mice and Men who keeps a dead mouse in his pocket cause it's soft. He just can't let go.

I DO want my children/grandchildren to have the opportunity to see my dead body, to understand that I'm not in it anymore. I DON'T want that to be done at a funeral where a long line of people I may or may not know file by and say "My, she looks so nice!"

Just drop me in the ground and have a good old fashioned wake! Party! Celebrate my life with a celebration, for Hell's sake!


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Survivor
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GZ
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No and no, though I don't find either location particularly confortable.
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hoptoad
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I am not saying that I would not go but I just feel like I've been to too many ( hospitals and funerals ) I can't even bear hearing certain hymns played at church any more.

Also, when you said hospital I thought 'full gamut' from respite care through psych-wards through to intensvie care etc.

Plus I have little tolerance for doctors and/or psychologist-counsellors.

A place is a place is a place it's the people that make me want to go sit under a tree instead.

Ever read 'Earth Abides' ?


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Elan
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My problem isn't hospitals and funerals. I discovered when my dad was dying of bone cancer, I have problems being in the presence of someone making those gurgling gasping sounds for breath in the final stages of life. It unhinged me. I drove an hour and a half to see my dad that last weekend, and I couldn't handle being there for longer than about 45 minutes before I turned around and drove home again. Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of his death, coincidentally.

I always thought I'd handle it a lot better than I did, but there is a very primitive reaction that takes place when a parent dies that cuts to the core of your identity. You feel five years old again and like it's the first time it ever happened to anyone in the history of the world.

I don't know if this relates to the "discomfort with funerals thing" but the day of my dad's memorial service - which was held at my uncle's house - I was walking out to my car after the service and a couple of his neighbors stopped me. They asked if anything had happened to another neighbor, knowing the man had been ill. I said, "No, my father passed away and my uncle has been kind enough to let us hold the memorial at his house." The woman smiled and said with a big sigh of relief, "OH GOOD! At least it wasn't anyone I knew!!"

I stood there and smiled at her, thinking all the while, 'Well, it was someone *I* knew!!' I hope that she eventually stopped to realize how callous that sounded. I know she didn't mean it to come out that way, but it still grates on my nerves 11 years later.

Odd, isn't it, how death only matters to us when it's someone we know. The rest of the time we wrap ourselves in a blanket of denial, pretending the weather here in Egypt is lovely.


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Lullaby Lady
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Maybe I'm more macabre than I thought...

When my grandpa died, his funeral turned out to be a big, happy family reunion. My extended family is very close, and it was mildly sad, but mostly joyful. Lots of talking and laughing. Aunts taking pictures of all the new babies, kids running around. It was a great party! It would have driven my grandpa crazy! But we all knew he was no longer suffering and would never have to attend another noisy family reunion again!

As for hospitals, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I associate them with a form of vacation. But let me explain. I birthed six of my seven babies in hospitals and it was heaven to be waited on and pampered. (Can I get some more pineapple juice, please?)

So... no problems with either one here!


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Doc Brown
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I have no problem with either. I used to work in the quality department of a major hospital and I saw everything.

If you aren't creeped out by hospitals, take a good look at an anesthetized person. It's more frightening than a dead body.


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goatboy
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quote:
The woman smiled and said with a big sigh of relief, "OH GOOD! At least it wasn't anyone I knew!!"

I was on the volunteer fire department a number of years ago and I remember one really horrific fire. We knew there was a victim, but no one could find him. We were also told that there was an arsonal in the house. I was kept busy trying to hold a perimeter against the hordes of tourists. (Several times I asked the Police to do the job, but they wanted to get close to see the fire and possible arsonal, and so kept leaving their posts.)

Over and over people stopped at my line and asked "Is Joe in there?"

"I don't know," I'd reply.

"Well, I sure hope Joe isn't in there. It might be Bob. That's okay, just so it isn't Joe."

As it turned out, it was indeed "Bob in there, and no one seemed much interested after that got out.

The only thing I've been able to chalk it up to is people being people.

VOID: The reason is quite simple. If you're going to write a story to unnerve people, it's nice to know that what you're writing about is really unnerving. Funerals in this instance, while depressing, don't appear necessarily overwhelming to that many people.


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Void
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Goatboy--Actually I found your real-life experience unnerving! It's okay if it's Bob??? What kind of a guy was this Bob?
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goatboy
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Please understand that the names have been changed to protect by behind. "Joe", the one whom everyone had the good feelings for was a convicted murderer who had done his time and is now the leader of a Biker Club. Notice I said club, I have no evidence beyond observations that it was anything else.) Joe is one of those guys who has his face tattooed. It was his house that burned and he was the supposed owner of the arsenal which allegedly was composed of a heck of a lot of stuff. (Enough to drag every deputy and posse member out of bed in the middle of the night, and that's a lot.)

Bob I never got to meet, so I can only imagine. Sometimes I hate having an imagination.


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Void
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Yipes! Sounds like a lot of fuel for a story right there.
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Taika
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I really don't like hospitals. It's not because the people there are sick and/or dying, it's something about how white they tend to be that actually scares me. Funerals I don't mind because I know that it happens to everyone and I usually come to terms with the fact that the person is gone before I get there so it's not like I'm shocked to see the person not moving, though I might get a little teary-eyed.
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