Why I Hate Hospitals
I know of someone who has a hospital phobia. He or she (I leave it anonymous) won't darken the door of one except for an extreme necessity, and then only under protest.
While not particularly afraid of them, I myself find them rather unpleasant. I think maybe they are deliberately made unpleasant in an effort to make you want to get well. You will hate staying there so much that you will recover in a hurry!
Open Doors and No Privacy
First complaint: they leave the door to your room open. Yeah, I know I know, they want to maintain security. Blah blah. But from the patient's perspective, this is a bummer. You have nothing, and I mean NOTHING to do but sit and wait for a medical professional to come and give you medicines, x-rays, or some other sort of treatment, so you sit. Bored. You have nothing to read, nothing to write, nothing to draw or color, no puzzles, no video games, and they sometimes want your cellphone off. It's like a great white prison. So you wait, and wait, and wait. And instead of trusting that you have enough privacy to rest and relax, you must stay on your guard continually so you can meet and greet whoever is supposed to be returning to tell you the verdict on the tests or imaging. In addition to this, some hospitals put two patients in every room, separated (if you're lucky) by a curtain. On one recent visit for an unexpected injury I found that they have no problem putting a male patient and a female patient in the same room together, even though said patients were in a state of reduced garments. Even though I was injured, I hobbled enough to reach what I wanted and got dressed again, using the gown for a blanket to dress under. I had asked the last nurse who left to close the curtain, and she was preoccupied and either didn't hear me or didn't want to hear me. So, left to my own devices, I figured out a way to maintain common modesty, and I kept my eyes away from the poor heart patient in the opposite corner as an added courtesy, since he wore nothing but a short gown himself (which did not nearly cover his immense frame, I might add). I could hear them discussing his entire medical history and symptoms. I do not think this gave him very much privacy. What if I had been someone he knew? Or a newspaper reporter? Or a Hub Pages writer? Hmm.
Second Complaint: Forgetful Doctors
Why are you asked for a list of allergies if they are going to offer you things on your list? Someone I know had this happen to her. She gave an entire list of her food allergies to the staff, only to be offered a plate full of things she couldn't eat when it was supper time. In fact, there was nothing on the plate she could eat. If it had not been for an observant nurse, she would have gone hungry, but the nurse realized that she wasn't eating and quickly took it away and gave her something edible.
Then they will ask what medications you can and can't have. After I was getting ready to leave, the doctor's assistant came in with a message for me: rest for such and such days, and you may take X medicine for pain. Well, that's nice. X medicine is one I told them I can't have. Instead of saying anything, I mentally wrote them off as stupid (yes, I know that's not a nice word) and vowed silently to take what I really wanted when I got home. Which I did. And I don't know how many times a doctor has recommended that pain reliever when it's right on my chart that I react severely to it. Medical professionals are paid to pay attention, but they don't. You have to be your own best doctor. You have to know what you need, what you can and can't have, and not let them tell you what to do. Certainly don't let them get away with being inattentive. You don't always have to raise a fuss to get what you want. Sometimes it's better to hold your tongue and just ignore their instructions on occasions when they are clearly incorrect.
Complaint Three: Careless Staff
When you don't feel well anyway, you are not in the best of moods, nor do you wish to put up with unseemly behavior out of the persons who should be observing the height of propriety. One late night I visited the E.R. with dehydration from an infection, and I admit I was one very crabby person, albeit I held my tongue and didn't say anything.
Walking down the hallway, I was met with LOUD laughter from a young woman who was standing around in a nearby room with a couple of interns. She was telling them a dirty joke (no, I'm not going to repeat it). Now, I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, but where is the freedom for my ears not to hear such stuff, especially when I am already in a bad mood from being ill? Can she not keep her off color material to herself and save it for her time off? I didn't say anything, however.
Complaint Four: Never Complain
There is an unwritten rule in hospitals that I was introduced to when I was a teen. I went to visit an aging friend who was very ill. While there I noticed an air bubble in his IV. I told my folks, who started to tell a nurse, but my friend stopped them and vehemently insisted that it was fine and not to make trouble.
"No," he said. "They've been real gentle with me."
I wondered for a while what he meant by that. I now know. The unwritten rule is that you will be abused if you complain. That is, they will make sure that things that shouldn't hurt do hurt, or that things that hurt a little end up hurting a lot. It is a similar principle to the restaurant rule: complain, and they will spit in your pizza. It's wrong, but it happens. I found out first hand. It wasn't a hospital, but the principle was the same...
My upper lip was hugely swollen, black and blue and bleeding. My mom asked me what happened. I explained that the orthodontist's assistant had accidentally caught my lip in the wire tie tool and had twisted it. I looked like I'd been in a fight, honestly. So when it was time for me to get another adjustment to my braces, she said to my dad, "Tell them to be more careful with her. Last time they hurt her. And stay back there with her."
He did the first part. He forgot to do the second part. And when he left, they got revenge on me for complaining.
First, the assistant (the one who did the damage to begin with) said, "Dr. Ortho, we hurt her last time." He looked at her with a puzzled expression, and then they both nodded knowingly. They both grabbed my mouth and pulled it open so wide that I don't know how it didn't tear. And they kept it there the whole time they made adjustments, making comments to one another like, "Be careful, don't hurt her. We don't want to hurt her. Keep that mouth open so we don't touch it with the tools."
So be warned: there is an unwritten rule about complaining. If you have a complaint, do it from a safe distance, or be sure you have evidence so you can prove what they did. In this day of cellphone cameras, that may be becoming easier to do. An emailed photo of what someone is doing wrong, sent to the right person, and you might actually make a difference.