Sunday, August 16, 2009

Flashing lights but no siren

Took my first-ever ride in an ambulance and was transported to an emergency room this past week. I have nothing but good things to say about the first responders and the ER personnel. My experience bore only a passing resemblance to 'medical' shows we see on TV... no shouting or running amok in the ER by either the staff, patients, or families... just well-trained workers doing their jobs; patients and family awaiting treatment and outcome (if they were impatient or angry, they were very quiet about it). Did I have 10 nurses and doctors surrounding my bed, tending to my every whim? No. Was I left ignored, sick and alone in the midst of chaos? No. Were staff members sipping coffee and discussing their love lives, ignoring my fellow patients and me? No. All of the treatment rooms were full (No. 15 was across the aisle from me) and every available space against the walls not taken up with equipment had a patient-bed in it. (When my daughter arrived and asked where I was, she was given my location as a Hall Bed number.) Whenever I was moved to another location or had treatment done, the staff member quietly explained what was to be done. Often, a staff member on the way to treat another patient would pause and tell me the status of my care (i.e. the doctor would be with me as soon as test results were available and was through with another patient). A pleasant woman came up to me, introduced herself as the Patient Advocate, and asked if there was anything she could do to assist me.. when I told her I was concerned about contacting my family, she brought a phone to me. Was I in and out of the ER in an hour? No. I was there about 6 hours. Am I angry? No. Consider me grateful for the care I received and thankful for the medical knowledge and treatment available.

First thing every morning, I peruse several websites to see the current news blips. Yesterday, I came across a blog on the Huffington Post, the title of which intrigued me: "How American Health Care Killed My Father." I clicked on it and found an insightful and thoughtful piece on what had happened to his father and suggestions for health care reform. The author of the piece is David Goldhill. (I admit that I think he's smart because changes he proposes are ones that I would suggest, given the chance.)

My 'episode' reminded me that there are things I need to do, things I have procrastinated on... Living Will, DNR, Durable Medical Power of Attorney, etc. Oh, and keep a paperback book in my purse to read the next time. If there is a next time bwaaaaahaaaaa.

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