I was with my friend Louise in the hospital for three days: Monday she had a knee replacement, Tuesday she began to bounce back but then had a setback, and Wednesday at about 6pm we left for home.
At the very end we had to wait for somebody to come from somewhere with a revised prescription, and we couldn’t leave until that was in hand. Like Godot, it seemed as if the bearer of the treasured written order took a long time to come.
I’m not really so good at sitting around waiting.
My overwhelming impression of the experience, from the vantage point of the prospective caregiver, is that hospitals are complex systems set up for the welfare and safety of patients, the imperatives of medical insurance, and the priorities of the providers — with doctors on top of the heap and everyone else part of the team, but something of a lesser part. The hierarchy is not necessarily in that order: patients, then insurance companies, then providers. I’m not really sure what the hierarchy is. Beyond that, each person in a hospital has a bucket of responsibilities, and some are a little prickly about being asked things that are outside of their bucket.
I know, they’re busy. They really are.
As a prospective caregiver with very little experience of hospitals, surgeries, strong narcotics, and the course of surgical recuperation, I had lots of questions. Mostly my questions were received respectfully. Occasionally someone would get really starchy with me, as in “this isn’t my first rodeo.” Yup. I got that the minute I walked in the door. It was my first rodeo, or close, and that was the basis for my questions.
I’ve really been very blessed and lucky not to have been in the hospital very much. I sort of plug along, with the occasional antibiotic needed here or there, but nothing more involved than that.
I don’t really ever want to be The Patient.
I’m writing this while tired after a very long three days. I think I’ll have more perspective tomorrow.