Thoughts of life, love and healing…and interior design
My father was recently in the hospital. He was in the intensive care unit which was “Intense”. My family decided one of us would spend the night with him each night. When my turn came the night nurse that knew us was not on that night and not everybody is open to our ways. This nurse was gruff for the beginning part of the night and I continually tried to smooth the waters to no avail. She was very upset that I made a little bed for myself in the corner, as it really was not acceptable. (It was behind the equipment, not in the way of anybody that could enter the room.) Finally, I said well I think this room is designed poorly. Certainly I was not the first person to stay overnight with a family member in the ICU and there should be accommodations for that. That was the turning point…she was delighted to talk about the design of the ICU in general and specifically to the rooms. The sink had a faucet that turned on with motion, leaving no way to fill tubs and had no temperature control so the water was too hot for drinking, yet too cold for bathing. The space was inadequate to have the number of people (hospital employees) that sometimes needed to be in the room all at once without everybody in a specific location which meant the patient had to be just so. The place had been designed 3 years earlier and none of the wires were accommodated for inside the walls. The nurses station was a narrow vertical design so you would trip over others trying to get in and out or mostly they asked each other to move. Interior design saved me again we were pals. It does make me appreciate the work I do as a custom interior designer. We get to take in the details of how people live instead of going for the broad stoke. We also interview everybody using the space, as in commercial design it is not always possible to interview and accommodate all the many functions of a limited space and the money it has to produce.
My father was then moved to the “step down” unit. This was so ugly and cramped once my father woke up and asked if he was in the veterans hospital. (no he was not losing his marbles, just an observation) The window could not be seen from the bed, which when a patient can see the window, it is a huge boost to healing. Also, there was no color. Also, there was very little room to hang our chakra artwork and origami birds of many colors my nieces made specifically for his healing. (Although we did figure that out.) The second day he was there my sister brought in some large scarves of many colors. She hung one on a door and placed one on the end of the bed. The change in atmosphere was astounding. The nurses seemed to have a little more levity and I am certain it contributed to my fathers uplift in attitude therefore facilitating his recovery.
Then he went to the regular room, no longer in life threatening danger. This had just been redone. It had a subtle but colorful yellowish wallpaper with a coordinating accent wall. There was a large window with the beautiful Berkshire mountain view which was easily viewable from the bed. There was plenty of space for visitors and a chair to encourage patients to get out of bed. Odd that the spaces that were paid the best design attention were where the healthier people stayed. This could lead me down the road of our view of health by the medical field in the US, but I will not right now:-) I will say the healing arts (of which I consider interior design one of them) are edging there way in, even to hospitals.
The magic factor is arriving, albeit slowly. Thankfully my father is making a full recovery.