I don’t like hospitals (tf)

I don’t like hospitals. They’re necessary and all that, but I don’t like them. I don’t like visiting someone in a hospital. I don’t like driving by a hospital. I hate the way they’re always complaining about empty beds and no money and then push patients out the door before they’ve got a chance to get out of that stupid half-robe and those rubber socks. I don’t like how the older the patient is the less patience hospitals seem to have in dealing with them (it’s a creepy sort of un-stated social Darwinism in hospitals). I hate the parking garages and having to find somebody way too busy to deal with me so they can validate my ticket. I hate the way the elevators are so confusing. Why is there a “G” floor and a “1” floor? How many times have I been deposited into the bowels of the maintenance area when all I want to do is get back on the street to find my car un-vandalized. Any why is the “information desk” always empty when you need information?

Scranton is blessed, or cursed, depending on your point of view, with a multitude of hospitals. Three are within walking distance of each other. Nobody is quite sure how a person arrives at one instead of the other. I’m assuming it has something to do with who takes what insurance, but I’m not sure. I’ve had people I know say “their hospital” is the Mercy, and then unable to say why they’re stuck in a bed at the Moses Taylor.

You never hear anything good about hospitals. They all fall over each other to let you know that they’re losing gobs of money, and have had to cut back on services and staff, which seems an odd bit of public relations. Each of the 3 Scranton hospitals has been around since before I was born….and as far I can tell none of them has ever been profitable. There is always talks of mergers and closings and soulless corporations taking over. I think the latter has happened already, actually. I believe one of them is still tied to the catholic diocese ’cause they always stage a self-righteous press conference when a pro-life politician comes to town. I also believe that hospital stopped delivering babies ’cause it cost too much money. Oh irony of ironies eh?

Nobody who actually does the day-to-day work in a hospital makes enough money….and all of them labor under incredible stress. In a recent visit of mine an entire floor was staffed by one (1) nurse….a youngish woman who looked old and had the glassy-eyed stare of someone forced to carry a load of rocks on her back up a steep hill. It’s no wonder that many of the nurses aren’t exactly class A personalities (also a shame that the snarl of one Nurse Ratched can obliterate the kindnesses extended by 10 others. Not fair, but that’s the way it works). It’s normal to want good care for your loved one. And it’s normal to get a bit peeved if your loved one needs to pee and the nurse says she’ll be “right there” and an hour later the patient is still crunching her bladder. But drop even a spoonful of attitude on a nurse and you’re doomed. It’s like heckling a seasoned comic. The next time you show up the patient will be fossilized to the bed with cobwebs attached to their IVs.

Don’t piss off a nurse. Smart visitors take what they can get and leave boxes of candy on the window sill.

The only thing more rare in a hospital than a fully stocked nurses station is a doctor. I’m not sure where these guys spend their days but it sure ain’t at the hospital. At least the cable company is honest when they tell you a tech will show up sometime between 8am and 5pm. Sure they’re screwing you but they ain’t lying. In a hospital, if they tell you they’re “waiting on the doctor” you might as well pitch a tent and start collecting firewood. Leaves change colors before these guys decide to pop in.

And when a doctor finally does arrive….and you’re lucky enough to get one who can speak passable English, they’re always in such a hurry to be someplace else. If you don’t have your questions written on index cards and another member of the family barring the door…forget it. Stop to take a breath and they’re gone. They’re like a rabbit in your backyard. I treat a doctor in a hospital room like a waiter in a busy restaurant. As soon as the waiter comes over to “take your drink order”….order your meal. Otherwise, the waiter does a Houdini on you.

So yea….this is just a bitch session. But in reality we all get a little mad because we know that despite medical advances too numerous to mention,  the actual care hasn’t improved. How can it when the caregivers are paid less and forced to do more? So the sick, who are already suffering, get to suffer even more. And nothing is worse than watching a loved one suffer…..and then coming home to a pile of medical bills. Hospitals never seem to lag behind in the ol’ billing department.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on April 4, 2012.

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