Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dos and Dont's in a hospital

Courtesy of Cathy's World,hereis a helpful list of things to do/not to do when visiting someone in the hospital:

1. I always unplug the hospital phone as soon as I get there and use my cel phone instead, thus avoiding a ringing phone intended for the checked-out (or dead?) person in the room before you.

2. When in doubt -- that is, you are not really a close friend of the sick person -- email really is better than a phone call. I feel bad at having to turn away callers who only mean well, but I'm often trying to sleep and sometimes, when not quite awake and fumbling around, make the mistake of picking up the phone when I really shouldn't. And then I have to explain that, sorry, but I'm really not up for chatting, etc.

3. Not a suggestion, but a query: Why do visiting nurses seem so much LESS competent than hospital nurses? I'm not that only person who's noticed this, and it's disturbing, because you're really at their mercy. The nurses I ask say the visiting nurses get paid just as much, and really have to be even better since they're working not under a dr's direct supervision, so it's a mystery what the problem is. At this point, I'm having my dr's office nurses change my dressings for me, because the visiting nurse they've sent so far just doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.

I totally agree on the phone calls, especially since half the time there are people in the room and you can't talk anyway. Or you start to talk, and people come in, and you have to cut them off. If I ever cut you off in the hospital, it's because Big Important People have arrived and they have Vital Information, or some flunky from transport has come to take me away. In the second case I'd rather talk to you, but I have no choice. So don't be offended. Also, if I've just been drugged, there is no way in Hades I am answering the phone. None. Unless you're God, and even then, I won't know you're God, so...

Also, bringing magazines is good. I love my books, but magazines in a hospital are generally easier to handle. As is chocolate, or chips. But ask before you bring food because some drugs really screw up your taste buds.

Don't freak out over every little beep or hiss or whatever. Most likely the patient (AKA, me) is used to it and will hit the appropriate button to get the machine to shut up. Don't freak out going "oh my gosh ?! What is that?! Are you going to die?!" Trust me, if I was in eminent danger of death, the beeping would be a lot louder and I'd probably be several shades of blue...

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