Monday, November 23, 2009

This Age of Hospitals

Recently, I’ve had to make three visits to hospitals for family members.  My father had a melanoma that needed to be extracted, and then go back for a check up.  All was fine with him in the end.

Also, my girlfriend’s step-father had a mild heart attack up in the Bakersfield area and so last Friday, she and I shot up an hour and a half North to see how he was doing in his hospital bed.  They did one of those balloons to expand the blood flow around the area of his blockage, and then they installed a stent.  He’s still in the hospital and recovering well.

I’ve never liked hospitals.  I know a lot of people don’t.  It’s not only that people are being cut open and stitched up in a hospital, which is not appealing to me.  And not only that a lot of sick people are in and around a hospital.  It’s the waiting and waiting that pushes me over the edge.

I have the personality where I like to have a plan, like when I shop for example, get in and get out.  Each of my recent visits has involved an undue amount of waiting.  For my father’s procedure, we were asked to be there at 9am.  And I should add that this is one of the, if not THE best hospital in Southern California.  My father’s procedure didn’t start until 6:10pm and he wasn’t released until 11:50pm.

I’ve gotten good at doing a lot of reading in the waiting rooms of hospitals.  But just how many LA Times articles and how much CNN can a person digest in one sitting?

It seems that the whole affair is already set up in such a systematic way that the process of getting in and out would be fast.  You have patients come in, get prepped, and then you have the doctor going into each of the rooms with his or her patients to get done what needs to be done; kind of a rotating lazy-Susan thing going on.

However, somewhere in there, something gets jumbled up.  My brain was pre-wired at birth to assess how economical processes are.  And for some reason, hospital and doctor’s environments just aren’t.

Maybe some of my frustration is inherent in the fact that right now in my life it seems to be the age of hospitals.  My parents are aged as are my girlfriend’s parents, and so too are my friends’ parents.  So there is a lot of doctor and hospital interaction going on that I see and hear about, and it’s not fun.  But I just wish the experience could be made a bit smoother.