Everyday Uncommon

Lessons From The Hospital

There’s always something new to be learnt everyday.

I know I’ve heard it before, the “be your own advocate” saying in relation to healthcare. I suppose I just didn’t expect to need to be so overly watchful while my pop is in the hospital. I expected the people here to know what they’re doing. To be precise. Accurate. Coordinated.

While I think this hospital’s staff is friendly and accommodating, they’re not efficient enough. In the last five days here, we’ve had to follow up, clarify, and pretty much double check on even the simple things—one example: dietary restrictions, they’ve sent my dad the wrong kind of food that had he consumed, would have messed up some test results and thereby extending his stay. The seemingly simple things that, left alone, can wreak havoc on many fronts.

It’s a fine line. I think that in general we aren’t programmed to question such things or to fuss about the details. A hospital provides a false sense of security—that the patient is in the hands of competent professionals—especially for frazzled family members.

The takeaway: trust your gut but always double check. Asking questions (nicely) won’t cost anything except perhaps a bit of exasperation but in the big picture, it’s worth it. And being nice, while not a true requirement, usually gets things done faster. People tend to want to help others who aren’t shrill, negative, fault-finding harridans (and their male equivalents). Again, when you’re worried and your nerves are frayed, it isn’t always easy to pull off but it helps to keep your eyes on the goal, which in my case was to get my dad better.

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