I have been hospitalized since the 21st of January. The 1st week was a complete glaze over. Meals came, hair grew, television on, doctors slip in and out of the room, they all talked at me, and I don’t hear crap, but heard a lot, but didn’t understand much, and the hours and days just slipped by.
I am forever surprised when the doctor asks me how I am doing, because of all the people here I would hope he or she knows how I am doing, they see the x-rays, they see the test results, they order new tests and medicines based on their years of education and knowledge. Yet they look at you and ask that key question, “How are you feeling today,” yes it’s a validation of expertise if you say fine, they really smile when you say you feel great, and they grimace when you say not better or marginally better. I don’t mind validating their thoughts I just wish it wasn’t so difficult to get them to commit to their thoughts. So going full circle I tell the doctor how I feel. And with each trip to the hospital I find I am more and more and even more honest to that simple question. But I will also say that after my long response, I look the doctor dead in the eyes and ask what to the tests and x-rays and your observations tell you about my condition. Now that I am somewhat alert there has been much more information shared during these conversations between Patient and Doctor.
So I have gotten that out-of-the-way, I want to speak of the 5 percent. At this point I have been in the hospital for 18 days, I am told that I will be released most likely Monday the 11th of February. If that is so, that will be 22 consecutive days in the same 10 by 12 room with no bathroom, no shower, and no clock. Yes it has a TV but it’s not like my 42 inch HD at home, and yes there is access to the internet (thank GOD), and last by not least, the AC works like a champ. So all things considered the accommodations have been okay, not enough to bitch about, all things considered.
I decided to write about the 5 percent. But to write to the 5 percent I must 1st say something about the folks making up the 95 percent that have been tending to my hourly and daily needs, helping me wash, ensuring the urinal is empty, shaving me, making the bed, taking the food tray out, just stepping into the room to chat for a minute, doing their best to ensure I can rest in peace, helping keep the room tidy, and on and on these folks have been super beyond words. The smiles, the encouragement, the realization that I am sick, these 95 percent have been wonderful, and I have thanked each and every one of them.
I feel I am becoming an expert (being here and somewhat alert) for part of the 18 days makes me a semi-expert. I have been under the care of every nurse in the intensive care isolation ward for 18 days. I have met each CNA, I have encountered every person from housekeeping, I have breathing treatments from all the various respiratory technicians, and each of the vampires has made a serious effort to draw blood. Then there are the technicians that need to take your vitals every 3 or so hours depending. I have had x-ray at the bed side, and I have been delivered to the x-ray area for picture time. I have received every possible treatment or service a respiratory patient could require in the process of becoming better. And thru it all the 95 percent have been wonderful. They realize that the patient isn’t there because they want to be, they realize that the patient for the most part doesn’t understand what is happening to them, they act like the patient is the most important thing in the world to them, and they do it with a smile on their face, cheerful words, a bit of teasing, and hand holding with warmth and caring.
The 5 percent is made up of a bunch of shitbird assholes. These folks really don’t care about the patient’s needs. They have a form to fill out, a defined task to complete, a specific agenda that needs to be addressed, that requires them to interact with the patient, at specific intervals, if it is convenient to them. They could care less if the patient is sleeping or eating or taking a dump, or chatting with family, they will interrupt in a heartbeat and give you attitude if you question them. If you have the nerve to turn them away they don’t come back for hours, and are very quick in wanting to leave you hanging again, to teach the patient a lesson. For the most part (Thank God) they have very very little impact in the patient’s actual recovery. They are the ugly part of being in the hospital that every patient remembers. Family members remember encounters with these shitbirds, and that’s what they talk about over drinks later, or in a gathering of friends, it’s these 5 percent that give a hospital a bad name. Rarely is the reputation truly earned but the 5 percent make sure the institution is thought of in unkind terms.
It is because of these 5 percent that when I am home chatting with folks about this extended hospital stay I will only talk about the 95 percent, I will only speak to the care and kindness I got, I will only speak to the level of professionalism that I saw and given to me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and if you choose to offer comments, I will as always appreciate them greatly. Please take care and have a great day.