I recall working as a medic on a medical-surgical inpatient floor in the Air Force. The nurses would generally let the medics make the room assignments, but since they outranked us they would review our decisions. Several of the female nurses had a policy of not letting women that had any of the various female surgeries, have private rooms. It seemed heartless to make them share a room when we had so many empty beds. Their reason (not mine) was that many women with a private room would expect to be waited on and enjoy their hospital stay so much that they would stay extra days (this according to the female nurses I worked with). However, their theory was that if they shared a room, the two women would drive each other crazy and demand to be discharged the day after surgery.
When I was a hospital patient I had a couple different roommates the first few days. The curtain remained drawn between us and for some reason they didn't like to talk much. They were older men, and obviously didn't care or have the strength to speak much. Then I got a new roommate. His name was Jimmy.
I was 32 years old and Jimmy was about 10 years younger than I was. It was like having a little brother in the room. Jimmy had been in the hospital longer than I ever was. He had gone through many things and he and his mom talked about the trials he had. It was nice to have somebody to talk to in the room during the many hours when there were no visitors or phone calls. I also found it motivating to share a room with somebody so sick. I think we motivated each other to get better. I spent 40 nights in the hospital that year and Jimmy was probably my roommate for about 30 of them. I recall spending many hours wondering how all this pain and suffering could happen to me. It was a blessing to have a roommate that had been through more than I had and was often sicker than I was. I remember one night how he begged the nurse for some juice. She reminded Jimmy that he wasn't allowed to have anything to eat or drink. Jimmy said that he just wanted to taste something and that he wouldn't swallow it, rather he would spit it out after tasting it.
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (from Luke chapter 16) came to mind. In the parable the rich man and a poor man named Lazarus both die. The poor beggar goes to heaven with Abraham. The rich man is in hell, but can see Lazarus, the poor beggar. The rich man pleads for Lazarus to dip his finger in the water and cool his tongue. It seemed I was seeing such suffering before my very eyes. I have been hungry many times, and have also been sick so many days that food didn't seem good anymore. But I have never gone so many weeks without eating that I just wanted to taste some juice without swallowing it. Jimmy got the juice he requested and only tasted it, as he promised.
During one of my hospital stays that year I was given a private room. The staff said they were sorry I had spent so much time in the hospital. I only had the room for a few hours while I waited for surgery. I asked if Jimmy was still there. The reply came that he was. I asked if I could share a room with him after surgery. I don't think the staff really understood why I would rather share a room, but they didn't understand the things I learned from sharing a room with Jimmy. When I returned from surgery, I again shared a room with Jimmy.