Home - Top Row


Home - Bottom Row

Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« More about what pisses me off. | Main | You are good. Yes, you. »

I seem to be rather angry these days.

For various reasons, my dad is now in the Cardiac Care Unit of Nassau Medical Center, the ugliest hospital I have ever had the misfortune to visit. This monstrosity is the worst example of 1960s architecture—huge and ramshackle, like a suburban high school but with curious summer-camp touches. Not only is it ugly, but it’s obvious that there are forces working diligently to make it smell terrible and be as unwelcoming, cold, and grim as it can possibly be. Because it’s a hospital! Where people are sick! So why would anyone want to make them happy?

My dad is stuck in a corridor, basically. The Cardiac Care Unit is a corridor. A dank corridor with no windows and unsmiling attendants who only interact with him when they have to perform unpleasant procedures. And even then they’re not nice about it. Oh! And there are teaching doctors who approach him with their gaggles of med students so they can treat my dad like a circus monkey while they, say, use the temporary pacemaker to lower his heart rate to almost nothing and then turn it waaay up and watch him twitch. I asked my dad why everyone seemed to be so unfriendly and he said, “It’s because most people here are going to die soon*. They don’t want to get attached.”

Does this not boggle the mind?

Dear dying person,

You say you're going to die soon! So why should we be nice to you? Won’t you take our feelings into consideration? How about thinking about someone besides yourself for a change, jerk?

Since these might be your last days on earth, we thought we’d put you in a dimly lit hallway without a single window or any indication that the sun even exists anymore.** We’ll serve only the most unappetizing of food, too! Mmm, unsalted meat sludge. Eat it and shut up. Also, you’ll never get a television. Or a telephone. Even after you ask several times for both these items. And while we’re at it, we won’t give your loved ones any number or human being to contact when they have questions. So that when we wheel you in for surgery, no one will know! And then while you recover you’ll be alone! Listen: our hospital is the best and doesn’t at all deserve to be destroyed. So shut your trap.


Nassau Medical Center.


Next up: idiot people who sneer at “Park Slope Mommies” on their idiot blogs. Ha, ha! Because all mothers are stupid! Stupid mothers! It’s a good thing the rest of us were created asexually so that we can be disgusted by the disgusting women who have progeny! Ick, ick, ick!

* Not my dad--he’s just fine, I’m happy to say. He will soon be out of this hellhole.

**When I was there yesterday, another patient called out to me, “Please, what is it like outside? Is the sun shining?” I’m not making this up.

Reader Comments (41)

Oh, Alice, that is terrible. :( I hope your dad is out of there post haste. With alacrity!
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMir
That sucks. Hell, yes, it does! I couldn't believe the freaky coincidence when I read this post, either, as I just received word that my dad had a heart attack last night while partying it up in Laughlin, Nevada. If my mom would turn on her frickin' cell phone, that would be nice. I have no idea which hospital he is in, but it better not be ANYTHING like the one you just described or I will have to KICK SOME ASS! I do Tae Bo, so I could totally do it. From 2000 miles away and everything.

Glad your dad's okay...
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercat
P.S. You = hilarious... I'll be back! Hope you don't mind me! I can be hyper! And obnoxious! Both, sometimes! That is all!
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercat
That's awful! Psychologically, the sun (or just daylight) would make these people feel so much better. Being under canned light 24/7 just fucks with their biorhythms. This is SO less than ideal for healing.

Gah! Glad Dad is doing better. I know how hard it is to have him there. Wishing him a speedy recovery!
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Not related to your dad, but related to this post.This is why I love hospice. My mom died at home with hospice care and it was a wonderful experience (as good as death can be). The hospice workers allowed themselves to get close to my mother and even to be affected by her (she was a very special person).I would never want to die in a hospital. I would demand to be sent home if at all possible.
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterShevon
I hate hospitals. I need to kick some hospital butt.

I don't know what a "Park Slope Mommy" is. Sounds like some rock band to me.
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSarcastic Journalist
I swear, I didn't want to laugh but this one did me in:

**When I was there yesterday, another patient called out to me, “Please, what is it like outside? Is the sun shining?” I’m not making this up.

To Quote a Simpson line: "It's funny because it's true."

Heartbreaking, tragic and yet strangely hilarious.

Continued prayers for your Dad. Sorry he had to be subjected to such sub-par conditions.
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterNinotchka
Oh how very sad. I'm so glad your dad will be out of there soon.
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterlaura
Were all hospitals in the New York area constructed between 1950 and 1965 with substandard materials and paint that no one else wanted?

My husband spent three weeks in intensive care at a city hospital in the Bronx...gasp! Think Bellevue, but in a dicey neighborhood. Granted, they saved his life, but it was bar-none THE most depressing and horrid place I've ever been. I daily thought I'd been transported to one of the too-wild-to-believe episodes of ER.

So glad your father will be leaving that place. The first breath he takes outside will be more restorative than any he's had in that nightmarish hell-hole.

Oh, and, if anyone IS going to start a rock band called Park Slope Mommies, I'M SO IN!
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermadgelove
bad 1960's architecture, dimly lit, smells foul and i'm guessing is dank and moldy. not to mention rude and flat out mean people - well, you MUST be on long island! - wellcome!

ps glad that your dad will be out soon!!
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterordinary girl
Well this Boro Park mommy has your back, anyway....

So glad your dad is doing better. Maybe Henry can loan him his big fucking book to read.
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee
Wow..this post made me sad. I am glad your dad is getting out soon. It's really pathetic that hospitals have gotten like that. The part about what is it like outside also made me want to cry too.
June 16, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterokgirl
Well, everybody seems a little testy - but maybe that's an east coast thing. (add smiley face here) Just blog surfing around my daily allotment and thought I'd actually contribute something to the discussion. Yes, hospital's suck. Making changes is hard and very slow and you wouldn't believe what you have to go through. I'm a hospital architect and am working on a cardiac care / intensive care unit right now. Thankfully the CEO is an enlightened woman and is advocating and making sure that we provide landscaped garden courts and full height windows right outside each room despite all the cost / opposition/ naysayers. Anyway, the point is that there is some hope out there and people that are trying to make it better. I've also worked on skilled nursing for the elderly and hospices and find it to be very rewarding work with people that are committed to making a difference. Hope this sheds a little ray of hope and sunshine. Peace out.
June 17, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterpaolo
I hope your dad is feelling better and is out of there soon.

It's not right that our ill and elderly get the short end of the stick, is it? Bah. Good thoughts your way!
June 17, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterKhali
Egads. I hope your Dad is home very soon. You all have had Enough Already!
June 21, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterkelly
I just turned 30 last month and the realisation that my parents are also getting older (go figure) hit me quite hard. I worry about the day when I'll have to decide about hospice care etc. Hopefully it will never come to that.

But it scares me to hear the way they rationalise the lack of warmth.

July 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>