On Thursday, I made use of my 2 hours per week of wheelchair privileges to get rolled down to the weekly social hour/class for the women in my unit. I was excited to leave my room, and looked forward to meeting some women who could directly relate to the hospital bedrest experience.
So I roll in to the lounge, and see about 12 other women already sitting there in silence. I smile and pop out with a general, "Hi!"
No response. Very little eye contact. I try again.
"How's everybody doing?"
Crickets. I feel like a washed-up comic at a shabby Catskills resort. ("Is this thing on?")
I look around and decide, against my better judgment, to try one more time to get people talking. "So how long has everybody been here?"
This question produced a seriously uncomfortable silence. There seemed to be some very negative energy coming from the opposite side of the lounge -- from one woman in particular. I think she was poisoning the whole room's atmosphere. So I directly addressed one woman sitting next to me. "How about you?" She actually answered, and was fairly nice about it. It seemed like many of the women just weren't talking because nobody else was talking. I turned to the woman on the other side of me and asked the same question. She also answered. She'd been here 9 weeks and was going for another 9 with twins. Someone who'd already been here longer -- and would be here longer -- than me!
I was probably hyped up due to the excitement of leaving my room, so I tried the general discussion one more time. "Anybody been here longer than 9 weeks?"
No answer. I wouldn't be surprised if there were four or so women who had been here longer but refused to answer.
Finally daunted, I chatted quietly with my neighbors. (Meanwhile, NOBODY else talked among themselves.) Eventually, the class (on C-sections) ensued. Good information, but no socialization. I could have watched a video alone and gotten the same info. At the end of the class, a basket of giant brownies was passed around. I was one of only two women who weren't allowed to have one (brownies are incompatible with gestational diabetes). That sucked. I have to say, I wasn't sad to roll back to my room.
I'll try again next time. Maybe if I get there earlier and greet each person as they roll in... or maybe I should just go for the stony silence like the rest of them.
Eh, screw 'em. I'm going to talk anyway. Eventually someone will crack.