The Great Equalizer… Hospitals

“Going to a hospital is rather like going to an alien planet.” – Quentin Blake

Having worked in a hospital for years and at times being a patient I know what goes on; on both sides.

From the perspective of the medical staff they want to be helpful and use their knowledge to make you better. They also want you compliant and not a bother.

They, especially doctors, do not want their opinions challenged. They tell you all the details about what is going on and protect themselves from law suits. They often make themselves seem like they are your savior. They want to be important.

When I worked in my hospital the staff worn crisp white uniforms and nurses wore caps signifying where they trained. Today they run around the place in scrubs and other lovely outfits. Respect came with how they dressed and presented themselves then; today, all different.

What patients do not think about is that these are human beings who, like you, have issues, personalities, families and good and bad days. Some deal with life well while others act out their problems even at work.

As a patient you are there with poor people, and rich people, and everyone in between. You all need help and care. You are equal to one another in this sense.

There is nothing more undignified than being in a hospital gown, usually open in the back and not feeling well enough to close it.

There is no room for shame in your position.

Your bodily functions are there for people to see, address, and deal with.

If you are scared of what will happen or a diagnosis, true or not, your anxiety level will soar. That doesn’t help the situation.

The question is always; would you rather have a sound mind and poor health, or be out of it with a healthy body?  It isn’t up to you, of course, but it is an issue.

Watching someone you care about suffer is so very difficult. You just feel helpless and their pain becomes yours, in some fashion.

If illness becomes a way of life or if there is a chronic disorder, you, as well as others around you get just plain worn out and tired.

Heaven help those people too incapacitated to make good choices or good judgments and have no one to advocate for them. How many sick or sick and elderly have been taken advantage of when they are diminished and unable to really fend for themselves?

I personally have heard and seen families torn apart, often over the patient’s will or money, or who gets to control them. I know of a few medical people who were magically put in patients’ wills. The story of Brooke Astor is a famous one. Read it.

There is no way around getting older or having down times. It is part of life.

Final decisions, sometimes about life or death take place in hospitals.

The joy of new births is also there. When I was working there was a room next to a new mothers with her baby where a young woman had delivered a still born. You could hear the two women and what they each experienced. I had that changed and yet in many instances in hospitals the cured are close to the dying.

If patients need after care that needs special attention. Often once a patient is out of danger they are somewhat neglected. It is hard to fight for what you need when you don’t feel great.

Another wrinkle today is information on the Internet for example. Much is fine but often there are conflicting opinions or just bad information. Someone not trained in the field can really get things messed up.

Getting second opinions is always a good rule of thumb. The best can screw up.

In the final analysis you should check out the people that you trust your life with and then…. get a four-leaf clover!!

“I became faint and nauseous during even very minor procedures, such as making an appointment by phone.”  Dave Barry

What has been your experience with illness? Have you had a good or bad hospital stay? How about the people you know?

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