Saturday, June 04, 2011

Out Patient Department

So here we go again. I've clicked on the new post tab millions of times in the past, not knowing what to write. But today I know what to write. And that comes after paying a flying visit to a few inspirational blogs. And a hospital.

I hate hospitals. They are depressing places. People hope to get back healthier, less wealthier and none the wiser. But it does teach you a few lessons:

1. Don't take anyone or anything for granted.
My paatima has been with me since I was a minute old. I am on the wrong side of the 20s and she is about 60 years older. She is always there when I get back home from wherever. It feels like home only when I see her. Yet, sometimes, I and the rest of my family--knowingly or unknowingly--have ignored her existence.

Until she had 8 large stones in her gall bladder. She had jaundice, UTI and all of life's complications. But she got past them all. And we got past them all too.

2. Money isn't everything. But sometimes it is.
The Doc said, "We need to mover her to the ICU. Your costs will shoot up like anything." Nothing moves without showing the greenbacks. Hospitals and the medical profession, like everything else, is a business. And profit is the bottom line. Somehow, unfairly, we expect docs to just do their jobs and not expect anything in return. But the doc we had was the best that come. He was honest and seemed like he knew what he was doing. And he did know. When I looked at the bill, which had put a price against oxygen (nebulizer) I realized, even breathing doesn't come free.

3. You've got to fight. For what you feel is right.
For hospitals, every patient is just another broken piece that needs fixing. Your time is of no consequence. There is absolutely no mercy for inefficient people who think they are doing a favor but forget we are paying them to do their jobs. On the day of discharge, billing took three hours and the junior doc came at EOD to give patient summary, That should have happened at 1 o clock when discharge orders were given. I waited for two hours, lost patience, gave them a piece of my mind and it all happened in half an hour. Just because they are the hospital, they don't have they have no authority to announce my time of death.

4. Family Counts. And your loved one.
You might be of no use but when everyone is together it makes a world of difference. I realized that the pain and the burden reduces to a dot. When family and extended family forget their feuds and stand together, even the silence, helps. And to have a loved one caring for you, it seems like everything will be alright. I never acknowledged it as much before.

5. Small pleasures are big.
Every small improvement in paatima's reports was equal to getting an unexpected hike (which I actually did). The laughs and joys we share in times of crisis stay for the rest of our lives. Cos they are so rare that you cherish them.

Hospitals are depressing places but everybody--including the patient--who steps out of the OPD is never the same again.