1. Visiting hours are 10AM-12PM and 2PM-8PM, unless you look like you know where you're going and don't stop at the security desk. A visitor's badge is required, except it isn't. Only two visitors per patient, except for people who don't ask about the two visitors per patient rule, in which case, one thousand visitors per patient are allowed at any given time.
2. No children are allowed to visit patients, especially adult children, because they are the most irritating visitors.
3. If you are sick, please only visit Mrs. Terrible in room 934. It would be great if she caught something.
4. Do not bring outside food into the hospital, unless you value the health of your loved one, in which case you should bring enough outside food that he or she can skip our meals. Also, you should probably bring outside food for yourself, because if you eat the cafeteria food, you will likely end up joining your loved one as a patient.
5. The bathrooms are only for patients and those who are lacking a sense of smell.
6. Hospitals are busy places and patients are often on the move. If you arrive and your loved one is not in his room, it is probably because he died and we forgot to tell you. If you see any of his belongings, there has been a mistake -- patient belongings are immediately removed from the room by thieves when the patient is taken for tests.
7. There is a lost-and-found in the backpacks of most of our hospital interns. There, you can find chargers for every possible type of cell phone and mobile device, along with hundreds of pairs of dentures. Feel free to browse.
8. Everyone you see in the hall is a doctor, and specifically the doctor who treats your loved one, so we will all be able to discuss every detail of his case, calmly and patiently, if you stop us while we're on the way to resuscitate his neighbor.
9. The people with mops and buckets are the most informed doctors of them all, and will be glad to tell you whether your loved one took his medication today, or give you an update about his currently-happening surgery, since they also have devices implanted in their brains that allow them to see into operating rooms six floors beneath them and telepathically communicate with the surgeons performing the procedure.
10. Yes, we do make extra lunches for family members. You may eat as much as you like and we will be happy to bring you more. We can even cater to your food allergies and entree preferences, since we are here to serve you, the visitor, even if it's at the expense of our patients' health.
11. Please only discuss interesting parts of your loved one's medical history while in the hallway or elevator. We are tired of hearing about their diarrhea.
12. Discharge will always happen exactly when we planned it a week ago, even if there have been complications in the interim. So, yes, please come to the hospital prepared to take your loved one home, especially if you haven't talked to his doctors in days and know he's on a ventilator. We'll even send you home with a few extra lunches.
13. Your loved one's doctor works twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and spends most of his time lurking just around the corner, waiting for you to need something from him. So, yes, please get very irritated if he can't be found in three minutes when it's midnight on a Sunday and you want to find out whether that cookie your loved one got on his meal tray three days ago was actually sugar-free, or the nurse was just saying that.
14. Wear your most expensive white outfit when you come visit, because there's no way you will ever accidentally touch anything dirty. This is a hospital, after all.
Enjoy your visit, and please come back soon.