|Arts & EntertainmentFood For ThoughtHomeward BoundJust BusinessRoad TripThis & That|
|The Big Kahoona!
Health Care Hell
by Dante Persechino
My wife is a nurse (the greatest nurse in the world, by the way). My father was a doctor. I have friends and relatives in these and other sectors of the health care field. I for one don't believe that I am suitable for this type of work and hence have nothing but the greatest admiration for people who work in such a stressful and intellectually exhausting field. It is one of the most important jobs that one can have (taking care of a fellow human being’s health). You go to work knowing that another person’s welfare, and even his life, may be in your hands. You step through the doors to work knowing full well that you are responsible for another’s well being and the mental well being of their family.
This is why I have been so caught off guard as of late. I trust the doctors, nurses and medical technicians to be accurate, thorough, understanding and maybe even most importantly, kind when dealing with a person who isn’t in perfect health. In the past couple of years, I have been plagued by some aliments that have eventually lead me to gain admittance to the emergency room.
About two years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night, with an extreme amount of pain in the lower right hand side of my abdomen. Since the pain was so great, my wife had to drive me to the hospital. After being examined, the emergency room staff told me it was possibly a problem with my gallbladder. It was a Friday night so instead of trying to find out what was really wrong with me, they sent me home suggesting that I see my Family doctor on Monday.
By 4AM Monday morning, the pain was so intense that I could not wait any longer and I had to return to the emergency room. They finally decided that, instead of guessing, it might be a good idea to run some tests on me. They admitted me and after exhausting a few possibilities, they were ready to send me home. One of the doctors had ordered a test on my kidneys which they were going to skip, but my wife insisted that it be done. My wife’s insistence possibly saved my life, since after performing said test, they found out that I had a Renal Infarct (A third of my kidney died off from a blood clot). If I had not had the test the clot could have come loose and caused a heart attack or a stroke.
The majority of my six day stay at the hospital, I was in extreme pain and needed prompt pain medication. I had two wonderful nurses that took care of me, but the other four, well, lets just say that I like to refer to them as Satan‘s Little Helpers. It seemed as thought they enjoyed the torture that I had to endure and took every opportunity to make it more intense and as frequent as possible. Just one small example of their little game was when I was scheduled to have a test done.
I was to be given pain meds every four hours, as per doctor’s orders, but instead of giving me my meds 15 minutes early, before the test, they told me that they would give them after. By the time I was done with the testing, I had been six hours without meds. At this point one of the Evil Beings stated that it was too late for this session of meds and I would now have to wait for the next set of meds. This all added up to me spending eight hours plus, without any pain medication at all.
This may not sound so bad to you the reader, but when the pain is so bad it hurts to comb your hair and you have spent the last couple of hours jumping from one cold gurney to another, just so you can lay in some uncomfortable position while a wind machine (Cat scan) blows cold air up under your Johnny and onto your nether regions, you start to really appreciate the situation.
Toward the end of my stay the Torturous Hags stepped up their efforts to create a living hell on earth. They even stooped to withholding "Gas X" from me. "Gas X" is an over the counter medication, akin to Tums, that stops gas from building up in your intestinal track. Excess gas was being built up in my system from medications and lack of movement and not getting this medication made my stay even more painful.
I have since visited the hospital on two separate occasions; both for pain in different areas. I was told on both occasions that I merely had muscle strain. I later found out, on both occasions mind you, that I had broken bones. A lot of the people that I came into contact with at the hospital were kind and caring professionals. Some of them are some of the nicest, funniest and kindest people that I have ever met. These people, through their wit, talent and compassion, have made operations and other traumatic situations bearable and even sometimes enjoyable.
But to those who treat patients as annoyances or hypochondriacs, just remember that these are lives that you are dealing with. Think about if it were you on that cold gurney. What if it was your mother that was there? Think about how you would want them to treat you or one of your loved ones…PS If you are a health care worker, and you ever see me in an emergency room, please remember that I am there because something is really wrong with me and not because I have nothing else to do on a Friday or Saturday night.
Dante Persechino is an accomplished artist and stay at home dad, the opinions reflected in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of findRI.com, Inc, its employees or its sponsor. To send a comment on this article click on the link below.