Wednesday, June 27, 2007

General Hospital

I actually haven't watched "General Hospital" since Dr. Noah Drake left and I'll explain why. It's really two reasons: #1 -- What for?; #2 -- I work there, figuratively speaking.

It seems the older I get, along with my friends and their loved ones, I'm seeing a wide variety of doctors, nurses, hospitals, hospital rooms, ER's and surgical waiting rooms both as a visitor and patient. Add this on top of being a hospital employee and I believe I have valuable insight that is my duty to relate.

Allow me to share Lara's Rules and Regulations of Doctor/Hospital Etiquette.

The number one rule: Doctors Lie. The word “Discomfort” in their language has a far different meaning than it does between normal human beings. You would assume that discomfort means, well, it’s gonna hurt a bit, but then it’ll be okay. Don’t assume. You know what it makes out of you and me. A doctor saying “discomfort” is like a volcanologist calling Mt. St. Helen’s “a little burp”. You’ve been warned.

The number two rule: Don’t be brave. You need pain medicine? Think you just MIGHT need pain medicine? Yell. Do not, under any circumstances, suck it up. Be a baby. This correlates proportionately to when you are in dire need of pain relief and near unconsciousness, they will tell YOU to suck it up, that you didn’t need it before and why don’t you just wait awhile? If you finally complain long and loud after suffering in silence, you will be considered a “difficult patient” and no nurse will answer your call button...ever.

The number three rule: At the very first glimpse of an opportunity to leave the confines of the hospital, do so ASAP. If the doc says in his singularly see-saw way (I’m thinking William Shatner here), “Well..., we could... keep you overnight...or send you home if you can...” just agree with him. Whatever bodily function he needs you to perform, do it and get out. Those places will kill you...physically and financially.

The number four rule: Pull out every piece of ammunition you’ve got to get them to be nice to you. From the Doctors on down to housekeeping. Tell them whatever they want to hear. Be nicer than the Dalai Lama. Be the life of the hospital party (your pain meds might help with this) and for heaven's sake, don't make waves. Because if you make waves and don't play ball, you will be labeled a “difficult patient” and we already went over where that will get you.

The number five rule: Just because people have initials after their names doesn’t necessarily mean they are smarter than you. MD, BSN, PhD, RT, APN. You know yourself better than anyone. You’ve lived with you for...well, years. So speak up and ask questions. Make sure if you are in for an appendectomy but it seems like they are prepping you for brain surgery, politely ask for a "time out". And if anyone comes at you with a large foreign object that hasn’t been preceded by an anesthesia consult, remember Rule #2.

Finally, throw your dignity out the window but keep your sense of humor intact. After all, anything you've got, they've already seen.

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