Monday, November 27, 2006

My Hospitalization FAQs

Why did you go to the hospital?
First, there were the headaches, muscle aches, jaw stiffness. I had trouble lifting my arms without pain (8 on a 1-10 scale) and found I couldn’t sit upright without wretching. After about a week of various levels of this, my Beloved got me to the ER at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford.
Was it as bad as everyone says, the St Luke’s ER?
Listen: Those people don’t understand the concept of triage. Your cough (except if you're coughing up a liver) is not going ahead of that heart attack, no matter how “fair” you think the world should be. Of course, this depends on the time of day, too. Bullet and stab wounds take precedence at night, I would imagine. Patience is important, and all the phony dramatic TV stuff is just that.

So you were lucky it was daytime? The ER was less crowded.
Yes. That and I passed out in the waiting room. ThirdMate's Tip: For faster ER service, throw up on yourself. There's a winning strategy.
You’re funny.
Well, if you’re gonna weep about it, go join an encounter group. Or get insurance and a decent primary care physician.
Did they admit you right then and there?
I think so. 62 over 30 is not a blood pressure, it’s odds at a race track. After some questions, poking, and intravenous wrangling of several types, a member of the fantastic staff had me figured for Lyme. (It was like watching a House episode, except everyone was concerned, not just Cameron and Wilson.) If it was renal failure caused by Lyme, or by diabetes, they weren’t going to send me home. According to my Beloved, I was admitted to the hospital so I “wouldn’t die.” Even though I think the hospital administrative term is “until stabilized.”
So they put you in a room?
Better than a hallway, what with all the foot traffic, buffing and waxing. Yes, they put me in a room. With plasma screen TV. Which actually does look great, even from twenty feet away, flat on your back with tubes coming out your arm waiting for your "condition to stabilize."
Sounds posh.
It was actually a brand-new room in the brand-new wing in the pretty new St Luke’s, with a great view of NB harbor and I was surrounded by the artwork of friends. Check out this swell video about how a hospital not only cares about its patients’ and visitors' health and happiness, but they also care about the community and the people who work in it.

You were there for nearly a week, what about the staff?
The SouthCoast Hospitals have really grown as a professional force. They're one of the largest employers, and...

What is this 'SouthCoast' stuff? This is Southeastern Massachusetts.
But I have more questions.
Of course you do. Feel free to use the "Comments" section. And stay affixed for "My Dialysis FAQs" coming soon.

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