Mardi Gras is typically celebrated before the beginning of Lent. It usually falls sometime in February or March. However, my sister thought that I should celebrate it in November last year after I had my knee surgery. I remember when one of the nurses on the orthopedic floor walked in with a huge box and a puzzled look on her face. I immediately knew it must be something from my sister. What was even funnier was that my sister was in the room when the nurse delivered the box.
After the nurse left I decided to open the box. Well actually I had my mom open the box because I didn’t feel well and my sister obviously already knew what was inside. The look on her face said it all. It was filled with Mardi Gras decorations. We had tons of masks, beads, jester wands, decorations to hang everywhere, and everything else you can imagine. My mom and sister quickly hung all the Mardi Gras beads on the extra IV pole. I swear there were over a hundred. Anytime someone walked into the room we offered them beads. Now you’re probably wondering if we asked them to do something for the beads. Don’t worry we handed them out to whoever would take them.
At first the nurses on the floor were not sure what to do when they would walk into my room. I guess it isn’t a normal thing for a patient to decorate her room or to celebrate Mardi Gras in November. When my chemo nurses came to visit they knew right away that my sister sent the decorations. They also weren’t surprised that the room was decorated. By then they were use to our unusual hospital habits. Who wouldn’t want to wear colorful beads or a mask while walking around the hospital?
On Sunday morning I was in physical therapy and two of my chemo nurses came to visit. When they walked into the physical therapy room they were decked out in the beads and holding the jester wands. After every exercise they would cheer and shake the jester wands. I know having them there that morning helped get me through my exercises.
One morning one of the therapists came in and made me put on a pair of socks and I was about ready to throw my walker at her. I hated it when they came in each morning and would force me to get dressed. They would constantly stare at me and say, “Keep trying”. Not only did I hate it when people stared at me but their motivational words weren’t helping either. I had already been scolded by one of them for my, “potty mouth”. You would drop a couple of f-bombs too if you were in my shoes. By the end of my time there I was calling them physical terrorists.
My cousins, who went to a school near by, came to visit me one night. As we were sitting around and talking one of them asked my mom where the bathroom was located. She told him that they were at the end of the hall near the elevators and that they were unisex. He left to go to the bathroom and came back with a puzzled look on his face. We all of course asked him what was wrong. He said, “I didn’t see any women when I was using the bathroom.” My mom looked at him and said, “Why would you?” He replied, “Well you told me it was unisex so I thought a woman would be in there with me using the bathroom at the same time.” We all couldn’t stop laughing because he was dead serious.
Another funny thing my family did was when another cousin and my grandparents came to visit. It was a weekend so the floor was very quiet. My grandma got up to use the bathroom and we decided to look at the various masks. Each of us put on a different mask and decided that we would keep them on to see my grandma’s reaction when she walked into the room. After about fifteen minutes, we heard the door of my room open. Expecting it to be my grandma, I started to laugh. However, it was a nurse that came to check on me. When she pulled that curtain back, I ripped off my mask. Everyone else kept his or her masks on and said hello. My cousin started talking to her like nothing was wrong or different in the room. What was even funnier was that the nurse said nothing about our masks and answered my cousin’s random questions. After she left we all couldn’t stop laughing.
Anyone else who came to visit made sure to wear the various masks and take lots of beads, since we had so many. Looking back I really wish I had set up the recliner chair right by my door and threw beads at anyone who walked by. That certainly would have made me walk much faster with my walker. By the time it was actually Mari Gras this past year we were more than prepared.