Observations on hospitalization.

  • I’m not going to the hospital.  People die there.  ~ Uncle Bob Honeycutt

Note:  Uncle Bob died years ago.  I’m pretty sure he was in a hospital at the time.

  •  You can go into a hospital with no known allergies, but  come out with an allergy diagnosis (latex), which the hospital staff  aggravated and exacerbated with their machinations and manipulations.  Now I’m taking an allergy pill a day in an effort to get rid of the itching and angry red hives.  It’s improving .
  • Only in a hospital (or maybe a court of law) would you tell the what-happened story so many times that you start to think it’s some kind of trick question, and if you don’t get it right they might throw you in jail.  (The actual doctor assigned to me was #8, and yes, I was counting!  How else was I to stay sane?)
  • I couldn’t help noticing that the hospital is a huge distributor of styrofoam cups and water pitchers.  Have they not heard how environmentally unsound that practice is, and how bad it can be for our health?  Read about it here.
  • Apparently NO ONE in coronary care (Don’t worry, my heart is terrific.) can have salt.  They brought me vegetable and barley soup.  It looked wonderful.  I tasted.  Ugh.  Mrs. Dash and pepper cannot cover for the absence of salt.  Understand, I’m a very minimal partaker of salt, but if I ever go to the hospital again I will take some with me.  I mean it!  Though I have no plans to go back.  I am hereby giving my family and neighbors permission to call an ambulance if I’m unconscious.  Otherwise, I’m sticking with Uncle Bob’s take on hospitals.

I guess a little explanation is in order.  I’ll keep it short.  On Sunday morning, I was ready for church when I had some sudden, unexplainable pains which could have been heart-related.  I decided to play it safe and had my daughter drive me to the ER.  They, also playing it safe, kept me over night. On Monday morning I had a stress test and aced it.  All that walking for exercise is serving me well. 🙂

I learned some things about hospitals and myself.  The statements above are a small sampling of things I could tell you about my short stay in the care of my hospitalist and her fine staff.  They were kind and caring–every one of them.  And I’m sure they were glad to see me go.  I learned that I am not a patient patient.  I asked about a thousand questions.  Why do I need a shot in my stomach?  What is it?  I don’t need a blood-thinner.  I won’t get a blood clot because I’m not lying in bed, I’m getting up and walking in place every thirty minutes.  Do you offer ear protection?  (They did.)  I’ll never go to sleep with those monitors in constant beep-mode.  I did my stress test at 8:00 this morning.  It’s four o’clock, when can I expect the results?  I don’t intend to spend another night here.  As I was leaving I could just imagine what they were thinking:  “Thank God the Q&A bitch is finally gone.”

Here’s the deal as I see it.  Sometimes it’s good to be alone.  There’s much to like about it.  BUT–I believe that a patient needs an advocate.  I had to be my advocate.  That’s scary.  This trip I was lucid and able to advocate for myself.  There were times when I wished I had been more tactful and less adversarial.  As I said above, they were kind people.  But I needed my questions and concerns addressed, so I’m not sorry I took the time to ask.  This experience taught me that sometimes it’s nice to have a spouse or life partner to lean on.  Ah, but life goes on and mostly it’s good.

Note:  I have not read the book pictured above.  I might look it up.

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22 thoughts on “Observations on hospitalization.

  1. Hi Rachel. Welcome to my blog. Thanks for taking time to comment. I think choosing an advocate is a great idea. I’m going to think on that.

    When I was in “Admissions” the admissions staff person told me to feel free to tell every person who entered my room to sanitize their hands. She also explained very clearly that that includes staff. EVERYBODY, she reiterated. Good advice.

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  2. Just started reading your blog and i love it.

    The last three friends who were hospitalized for an ailment which was not terminal, died. Hospitals are bad for your health! (Yes, I’m overreacting, I know, so you don’t have to tell me about how your aunt was saved there…).

    You can have a spouse who’s a passive person, who’s afraid of doctors, who does not like to question authority, so he or she may be useless, even if they love you dearly.

    I think that when we get to a certain age we need to choose an advocate, and not necessarily our next of kin, but one who is smart, assertive and is willing to challenge the system.

    I’m glad you’re well!

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  3. Phew, so glad you’re all right too. And yes, hospitals being filled with people feeling scared, angry and/or sad are not the sort of places I like to hang out in.
    Totally with you on the times when you really, really wish there was someone there for you…
    xoxo

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  4. Oh Pat I feel for you, having recently been in myself. I’m so glad to hear that you’re OK – keep well. J x

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  5. I am just relieved to know that you are ok, I was worried when I first started reading. You sound exactly like me whenever I have had the displeasure of being in the hospital. I question everyone and everything, I don’t leave any stone un-turned. And like you, I always had a feeling they were happy to see me go.
    But you are right about people needing an advocate, someone that can be there for them, ask questions and voice concerns. It is scary to think of all the people that are hospitalized and too sick to speak for themselves. I think I would like to find out if there is any sort of volunteer program that would help people in that kind of a situation. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  6. I was my mom’s advocate for years after my dad passed away. She was only 57 when he passed away, and she got along fine for a while. We never thought about advocates or anything like that. But when she was 60 she developed some problems and was hospitalized and it became obvious that someone needed to advocate for her in the hospital. So I did it. I stayed with her in her hospital room and was there for every doctor visit and nurse checkup. The staff appreciated it and so did my mom. I knew every drug she had taken and which ones didn’t do well for her body. I knew her blood pressure and took it for her once a week, and once a day when she moved in with me.

    So an advocate doesn’t have to be a life partner. It can be a family member, too. I was happy to do it for my mom.

    DJ

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    • Thanks for your comment, DJ. I realize an advocate doesn’t have to be a spouse. It’s just that when I get a little down I still feel his absence rather keenly. I have three lovely, caring daughters who will be there for me. For that I’m very grateful.

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  7. Phew! I’m glad you’re OK. And yes hospitals are giving institutions – I just wish they wouldn’t extend their generosity to adding germs to what they give you!

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    • Your hospitals sound like those in the UK – must have something to do with speaking English! In Switzerland, we pay relatively high health insurance premiums, but our hospitals and health service are excellent. I need a simple blood test here in the UK – the earliest appointment I can get just to have the blood taken at my local GP’s is in 14 days … and then I’ll have to wait a week for the results. In Switzerland, it would be done immediately and the results would be available the same day – sent to me by e-mail. If one country can do it, why can’t the others?

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        • Hi Caroline – sorry, I put my comment in the wrong box! I was comparing US and UK hospitals. If you are in the UK, yo’ll know what I mean! I’m just on a long-term visit here at the moment..

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      • Hi Catherine. I don’t know much about health services around the world–only what I hear from American politicians, and you know how that goes. I do know that the UK is one country they say we don’t want to emulate. I believe that Obama is trying mightily to start us in the right direction but the Obama-hating politicians of the opposite persuasion are fighting “tooth and nail” to negate all that’s been accomplished. It’s in the Supreme Court now and that could be bad.
        I will say this about our system–we are very good in emergencies. They gave me more attention than I wanted. Of course, once they realized I wasn’t in a “life or death” situation, I could wait. And I did.

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