Thursday, January 20, 2011
Cast of Characters
It was some 30 years ago - the last time I had a trip to a hospital. GOD things have changed!!! I think patients should be handed flow charts and score cards so they know who is on first and what is on second (old OLD joke - don't get it - too bad)
In the good ole days - the nurses wore white - with a nice little brooch attached to their chest with their name and usually the insignia of the nursing school they graduated from. The doctors wore white coats usually with stethoscopes draped neatly around their necks with the listening bit tucked into a chest pocket. They too had their names pinned to their jackets - not some cute name like Joe Blow, but rather DOCTOR Joe Blow, so you knew you were talking to a doctor.
Lab techs showed up in white coats pushing a trolley filled with mysterious viles, pill cups, and needles. The kitchen staff showed up at regular hours and their arrival was usually announced by the banging of dishes on their trolleys, and sweet scents that almost drowned out the scent of "hospital". They had hair nets on and colour co-ordinated outfits. The cleaning staff were quiet slipping in and out of rooms with mops and rubber gloves.
How times have changed. The doctors mostly wear jeans and tshirts. Nurses, PA's (patient assistants - or orderlies I think they used to be called), cleaning staff, Lab techs all dressed in multi coloured versions of tops and pants. I don't think I saw one name tag. I had to ask everyone their name - cause I am a firm believer in using someone's name. I hardly ever knew who was doing what to me... a lab tech?? a nurse?? a doctor?? hell it could have been the cleaning crew !!!
One of my first introductions to "hospital staff" was this lil thing dressed in pink who came over mid afternoon on Monday - removed my IV tubing and was in the process of whipping out the IV needle while she informed me I was going home. I asked 'HOME??? are they giving me antibiotics ?? Do I wait for the 14th for my surgery??' She stopped looked at me blankly and said 'Hang on a second. I may have the wrong patient.' DUH!!!
The next "winner" was the anesthesiologist who thought he would be funny when he was helping me move from my bed to the operating table. He said "SOOOO is it the right knee or the left one" and wondered why I scooted back into my bed, grabbing onto the bars - gave him the "stern teacher look" and said "you are NOT funny!"
But there was the sweet nurse in ER - Annca Daniella - who watched as dipstick nurse tried to re-insert the IV needle - weaving the needle in and out of 4 different veins with no success. Annca came over swiftly smoothly and with a bare minimum of pain re-inserted the IV needle. She kept a watchful eye on me every time I would wander down the hallway to the bathroom - always giving me a smile and a nod - or a wink. She came to say goodbye and wished me luck.
There was the night nurse Stefan I met late Monday night as he cooed to the elderly lady in the bed beside me all the while he did whatever he had to do, calling her "momma" He became my night nurse the next night when I was back from surgery. He was the one who fought to bring my blood pressure up, and to convince me to keep the oxygen on, who endured my giving him the finger over something (I don't remember this Warren told me I did it) He tried to get me to use the pain meds - but once I got it through the fog that they were feeding my narcotics I tossed the button to the bottom of the bed and decided that I would "tough it out".
There was the kitchen help who checked on my food intake - even though it was only bland partial liquid. She clucked and tsked tsked that I didn't eat my oatmeal - and tried to coax me to try it - especially with brown sugar.
There was the cleaning staff who found me sitting up in my chair at 6:00 am the morning after my surgery - and fussed over getting the floor cleaned with as little movement as possible for me.
It just seems to me that hospitals are run by a cast of characters - and it is really hard to know "who's on first and what's on second" Home is the best place to be.