Wednesday, January 28, 2009

the question? what is Hurry up and wait

the answer? The attitude of hospitals nation wide.

Never mind that there are those of us that have had more than enough of hospitals. Nor that hospitals are getting a bad rap nationwide. It makes me wonder who the hospitals are really serving. Of course they serve the very ill patient; but once that patient is well enough to ask questions it is time to duck, cover and run. Run? yeah right! It is especially taxing (Yep, that is the word!) when they mark a few parking spaces "patient discharge, 1 hour." Of course there is also the fact that you must pay after 30 minutes, and it seems to be pro-rated by the minute. And yes, there is a patient pickup area at the front of the hospital, but you cannot leave your car. I suspect there is a security person with his finger on the tow truck alert button; there is no way I would ever consider stopping there unless it is to drop someone off; in which case I would slow to a crawl, open the door, and use the ejection seat to shoot them through the doors and into the lobby.

Any way, the story goes something like this. The call comes, "I am being discharged...I think." Quite the standard for a teaching hospital, as there are so many different "teams", or tiers of docs and nurses, and all say something that has a hidden message. Now, in order to catch that hidden message one must be of a VERY clear mind; how possible is THAT when the patient is on pain meds? Of course what is said to family and friends is so gushingly nice that it makes the non-patient feel the need to wash afterwords. Anyway, I eventually make it to the ferry, knowing that there is still the REAL doctor that needs to attend to the questions and concerns of the patient. Note that I used the word "attend." The real doctor has just the person for that...he/she is called" ta-da: the ATTENDING. Interesting, very interesting. So figure, with waiting for a ferry, traffic and parking; plenty of time to get things together for discharge, right? Uh huh. Until they see the whites of the eyes of the transporter nothing gets done. Nada. Zilch. So, since nothing gets done, there is the obligatory wait of "30-45 minutes" for pharmacy...per drug of course, since they don't have an order for one very important one. While waiting for the wheelchair transport, the custodial staff person is pacing outside the door with mop bucket at side. The nurse, or perhaps it is the clerk, is trying to see that signatures are had, quick, now, we sure wouldn't want anyone actually reading the forms being signed. Witnessed. "No, that's OK" says the clerk/nurse person. "I will witness them" while tapping her foot as a somewhat drugged, and now in pain, almost former, patient tries to read what she is signing. We are almost there...nope. No walker that was promised. Another call to be made. Now clerk/nurse person is really struggling to keep a smile on the tightly pursed lips. Why the rush, I wonder. No transport, no meds, but, OH NO! has been over an hour and I am parked in a one hour spot. Will I get to the truck only to find a cement barrel attached to the bumper? It quickly becomes apparent that once the papers are signed the patient is no longer a patient. The cleaning person is now very visibly pacing. Do we dare do a quick sweep of the room before we exit in that "business class" sized wheelchair? Thank goodness we take the time...prescription glasses are safely hidden away in a drawer. We make it out the door. We get the meds, minus the one important one that would have taken another hour. We exit the parking garage where I am told, I am two, yes TWO, friggin' minutes past the limit of the first pay scale. Dig out another dollar and get the heck out of Dodge. I just need to get out of there and into the rush hour traffic. Not too bad since my co-pilot knew the "secret passage" to avoid the greater part of the traffic...until I take an exit. All is fine, at least for the transport driver.

Welcome home, S2. Someday we will look back on this and laugh. For now, just get better. I have missed you. No more hospitals for a while, OK? See you soon on the blog pages. This place needs another grandma...


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