One injection and my Olympic aspirations are over

Man shelving books from cart at library

Have you been watching the Olympics on television? Go Canada go! I haven’t been watching much since I have other pressing matters to attend to, such as improving my quality of life. That’s the term commonly used with end-stage patients like me. My quality of life could use some improvements of late, I admit.

I’ve been noticing an increase in my number of couch days. Couch days are those days when I am largely horizontal, and often napping, except when I move to the table to eat or head to the potty to…I’ll spare you the details. I’m not fond of couch days; I have a lot left to do in my remaining days.

I will be undergoing two specific interventions with the specific aim of decreasing my lethargy. Later this afternoon, while you are preparing a romantic dinner for two, I’ll be at the hospital receiving an IV iron infusion. I’ve been taking oral iron supplements for a few years already, but since my hemoglobin has started dropping, the doctor is calling in the big guns.

But wait, there’s more. I will also soon be starting on injections of synthetic erythropoietin. EPO, as you might know it, is a hormone produced by the kidneys that increases red blood cell production.

As helpful as this intervention will be for me, EPO does have a bad reputation. The higher red blood cell counts prevent fatigue, thereby enhancing the performance of endurance athletes. For that reason, athletes are banned if they’re caught artificially raising their EPO levels. Thereafter, they are allowed to compete only with the Olympic Athletes of Russia.

As soon as I receive my first EPO injection, I will be classified as a doper, and will become ineligible for the Canadian Olympic Team. What sport do I compete in, you ask? Well, none that are officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee yet. But I can think of several special talents that, were they recognized, would make me a gold-medal competitor.

Imagine an Olympic competition for library geeks, assessing mastery of the Dewey Decimal system. (Melvil Dewey is my idol.) Watch me shelve a huge stack of books in record time with my eyes closed! Doesn’t that sound like high-level sport to you?

How about my ability to dirty every single mixing bowl in my kitchen each time I bake one measly batch of cookies? Bet you can’t do that. One-bowl brownies? Who are you kidding?

Then there are my stellar grammar skills. Anyone can ace a spelling bee, but how about a grammar bee? Give me your subjunctives, conjunctives, and presumptives (I know, that’s not a grammar word, but it sounded good there). Not to sound arrogant, but I think I’d be a shoe-in for a medal. Whoops! Did I just dangle a participle? If need be, I’ll simply bribe the judges.

As you can see, my dreams of an Olympic medal are soon to be dashed. Even if I weren’t about to become a doper, the IOC does not yet recognize my unusual gifts. Oh, who cares? An Olympic medal was never on my bucket-less list anyhow.

 

Advertisements

A Hanukah Miracle

Two reindeer visiting with people on sidewalk

This time of year, everyone focuses on the Christmas miracle. So what if a baby was born of a virgin? There are many other miracles happening all around us. Take the miracle of Hanukah: the Maccabees lit the smidgen of oil found in the desecrated Temple and it lasted for 8 days! If that’s not a miracle, what is? Who’s the wondrous one who thought of making coins out of chocolate? Yet another Hanukah miracle.

Then there are the many local miracles that happen this time of year. Imagine being a visitor at our local children’s hospital this week, only to look out a window and spy four local real live reindeer walking by. Nifty.

J. has been a busy little elf this past while performing Christmas miracles in support of the children at the hospital. She helped Santa dole out gifts to the inpatients, and sold gifts at a gala in support of the hospital. If she asked you, after purchasing your $250 ticket to attend this gala, “Would you like to buy a $40 gift for a child who will be hospitalised over Christmas?” Only a scrooge would say no.

Last Sunday she co-opted our special friend to volunteer with her at the Teddy Bear Toss, an annual Calgary Hitmen hockey game. Each year, attendees throw teddy bears onto the ice following the first Calgary Hitmen goal. The bears (or other stuffies, including two dreidels that J. saw) then need to be sorted into bags to be distributed to the children at 60 recipient agencies, including the hospital.

Our special friend is always dressed to the nines whenever she goes out, so let’s call her Ms. Glam. After hours of sorting stuffies, Ms. Glam realized she had lost the precious watch she had worn to complement her outfit that day. The watch was a beloved Christmas gift from her adoring husband last year. By the time she realized her wrist was bare, the watch could have been anywhere, including the garbage or amongst the bags of 24,605 stuffies. She figured it was lost forever. She accepted that perhaps she hadn’t made the best choice of accessories that day. She was not happy.

J. emailed her volunteer coordinator, described the lost watch as best she could, and figured that would probably be the end of it. J. firmly believes that, however unlikely the outcome, she always has to ask. Had the watch been found and J. had not alerted her coordinator to the loss, how could it ever make its way back to Ms. Glam?

Miracle of miracles, J. received notice last night. “I think we’ve found the missing watch.” An employee at one of the stuffie-recipient agencies found the watch when she unpacked a bag, and let someone know who let someone know who…you know how this story ends.

Ms. Glam couldn’t believe her luck. She’d thought it so unlikely that the watch would be returned that she had already replaced it. This afternoon, Ms. Glam is returning her purchase since it turns out she doesn’t need a new watch after all.

So be sure to ask, even if the outcome is unlikely, and then don’t give up hope. And don’t forget that people are basically good at heart. You already knew that, but the occasional reminder won’t hurt. Oh, and leave your special watch at home if you’ll be sorting stuffies.

 

A story without a fairy tale ending

Cover of Hunger by Roxane Gay

As the year nears its end, I become excited about the publication of the Top 100 book lists. One book on every list I’ve seen is Hunger: A memoir of my body by Roxane Gay. When I am a grown-up writer, I want to be Roxane Gay. (Sorry Gabrielle Zevin, you’ve been usurped for now. I still love The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, though.) If you’re interested in reading Hunger, know that it’s not an easy book to get through. The author bares all in her writing.

I hadn’t known of her previously, but Roxane Gay is a respected author of both fiction and nonfiction. She is also morbidly obese in what she justly calls a fat-phobic society. She was gang raped at age 12, after which she gained weight to keep herself physically and sexually safe from others. Dr. Gay views herself as a victim rather than a survivor of her rape, and acknowledges she has not healed from the trauma. She suggests people stop judging the obese without knowing their story, and realize that fat [her word] people have other attributes too.

Dr. Gay, who has a Ph.D. in technical writing and is currently a professor at Purdue University, acknowledges years of self-loathing, challenged relationships, and discomfort in her own body. Her frankness about her life is both uncomfortable and enlightening. She described the profound effects of an emotionally abusive relationship in a way that still haunts me.

She speaks of the all-too-frequent judgement and the difficult situations that she experiences. Strangers censure what she places in her grocery cart and deride her as she walks down the street. Well-meaning friends patronize her by sharing their insights about food, nutrition, and weight loss. Professional colleagues cannot hide their surprise when, after corresponding on line, they first encounter her in her physical glory. Imagine realizing you’ve been provided a chair for a reading that will not comfortably support your body, and worrying the whole time that that chair could break.

This book helped me to imagine what being obese would feel like in a society where thinness equals beauty. Is anyone truly above judging people based on their outward appearances? I know I’m not.

Near the end of the book, Dr. Gay described an ankle break that resulted in a hospital stay, and her community of support’s unexpected rallying around her. Despite all her self-loathing, she realized how many people love her and would miss her if something were to happen to her. I was reminded of how moved I was by my own troops’ tremendous support of both me and J. when I was deathly ill in the ICU. I also recall how much I appreciated the teary hugs I received when I was finally sent home. I too felt that I would have been missed had I not survived.

I can’t say reading this book will be fun, but you too could scratch an insightful read off your Top 100 list. Like me, you may find that Dr. Gay’s insights stay with you. When I’m next on an airplane and the fattest person walking down the aisle takes the seat next to me, I’ll think about this book, and I’ll make as much room as I can. Do unto others and all….

 

Believing something doesn’t make it true

I don’t really believe in anniversary reactions. I’m referring to the emotional upheaval people may experience around the time of year of a previous traumatic event. If you were in a terrifying car crash in the fall, you may become more nervous about driving around that time, for example. These reactions may sometimes reflect post-traumatic stress disorder.

Whether or not I believe in anniversary reactions, I seem to be having one. I was out of sorts last week and my sleep became disrupted (tired J. can confirm that), yet I had no idea why. You’d probably expect me to figure it out because I’m a psychologist, but I didn’t.

I hadn’t made the connection with what was happening five years ago at this time. Remember my height of attention seeking when I almost died? The whole period is a blur, but September 27 stands out in my mind. On that day, I was moved from the ICU to a private hospital room. I have three distinct memories from that day.

On the wall by every hospital bed, there is a white board with the patient’s name, the patient’s nurse, the admitting physician, and the date. I recall looking at the white board in my room and being sure that the date was wrong. It was September 20th, not the 27th, I thought. When my liver was failing, my brain fared poorly too. My grip on reality was tenuous at best. I was confused and disoriented and hallucinating. No wonder I didn’t know the date.

Later that day, for the first time in weeks, I witnessed how much my body had changed over my hospital stay. (The ICU doesn’t have a lot of mirrors, for obvious reasons.) My legs and arms were spindly from weight loss, and my skin was yellow with jaundice. I was unrecognizable. In that moment, I realized how sick I’d been.

My anxiety peaked that night. In one day, I went from having a nurse assigned solely to my care, her desk positioned so she could see me at all times, to a secluded hospital room with only occasional monitoring. I was sure I would die in this room and no one would realize it for hours. I was a wee bit anxious.

I hadn’t been aware I was thinking about that period of time, but while I wasn’t sleeping one night, I made the connection. My anniversary reaction snuck up on me unexpectedly. I may have to reconsider my belief in the whole phenomenon.

Five years ago, as I regained awareness, I was hit by how close I’d come to death. Did I ever address how scary that realization must have been? I can’t recall. And even if I did deal with it at the time, sometimes such intense emotions resurface when you least expect them. Or maybe I should reconsider this whole anniversary thing and accept my reaction as predictable.

I feel a bit better already. Last night I even slept. Today’s anniversary is truly celebratory: on October 2, 2012, I was finally discharged from the hospital to recuperate at home. Had you seen me then, you wouldn’t have thought I’d still be alive today, but here I am. I can only thank God for that.

Person in hospital bed, staff saying,"if gave you nice food, you'd stay here instead of going home to your loved ones."

Calling all impatient toddlers

I have bad news. I left the muffins out again for Mr. RAK, this time on our landing, but he didn’t come. He must have been spreading his good cheer to another neighbour, which is great. Upon realizing he was not coming, J. promptly put the muffins in the freezer, where they remain untouched. Anyone want a decent banana chocolate chip muffin? Let me know.

More than enough about that. Let’s move on to great news.

Since retiring, J. has been applying for volunteer opportunities far and wide. She readily jumps into one-time stints, including as PALS special events I cannot do, but she wanted a steady commitment of her own, preferably with kids. Kids love J.

Last year J. applied to the local children’s hospital, and was dismayed when there were no volunteer openings there. Because persistence is one of her middle names, along with punctual and efficient, J. applied a second time, got an interview, and, finally, a placement. She will be hanging out in the inpatient toddler playroom every Tuesday afternoon.

To prepare her for her duties, she practiced with a friend’s infant on the weekend. For four hours, this little tyke was all smiles. J. changed diapers flawlessly, and was a master with that baby’s bottle. That stint was only a warm up, since there won’t be any dirty diapers or bottles during her shifts with toddlers. There will only be unbridled fun in a well-outfitted playroom.

When we told our friend, who is sharper than any tack I know, about J.’s assignment, she asked, “Aren’t all toddlers impatient?” Well yes, Dr. Sharp, they are indeed, and I would be too if I were stuck in hospital. J. is the perfect playmate for them. She has no end of creative ideas, she can roll with the punches, and she’s fun. She can’t help it. She’ll make them relax and giggle and forget their worries, whether they want to or not. And she’ll probably make them clean up after themselves before they leave.

Last week, J. spent her first shift hanging out with the one toddler who was available for playtime, a little girl J. described as a bit shy. No wonder. This youngster hadn’t been in hospital long, and the disruption of a hospital stay, including sleeping away from home, must have been stressful. She was improving every day and was headed home soon. Before she left, she had time to play with J. Thank goodness, since J. would have been heartbroken if no one wanted to play with her on her first day.

I’m not sure who had more fun, J. or her little playmate. They spent most of their time shopping at the make-believe grocery store, until the girl suddenly realized she had to go. She told J., “I have to pee.” J. responded, “Well then, let’s go find the washroom.” To J.’s surprise, as they approached the playroom door, this shy one put her hand out for J. to hold.

Not all J.’s stories will be happy ones, yet I know there will be many sweet moments like this one. I can’t wait to hear what happened today. I know the kids will have fun. I hope J. does too.

 

Child's pretend groceries in two baskets

 

Why remove my tongue from my cheek? I like it there.

Very large needle

I had a long day yesterday, which I’m now going to review in excessive detail. Consider yourself warned.

Yesterday Dr. As-Yet-Nameless sent me to the urgent care clinic to address my ailing finger once and for all. Following my teeny weeny ultrasound, Dr. AYN tried to treat the infection with antibiotics, which failed, so a more intrusive approach was called for. Needless to say, I wasn’t so excited about prospect.

I commonly suffer from performance anxiety in triage. Rating my current pain as a 2 out of 10 would lead any triager to wonder why I came. I neglected to clarify that at one point the pain was a 10, and that the medication that is stopping my finger from returning to a 10 has resulted in my dramatic weight loss over the past month. I should have mentioned that, before I disappeared into nothingness, I needed action taken pronto. I understand why I was placed in the wait-forever line. I wasn’t in searing pain, I could easily skip lunch, and the problem would still be there whenever the doctor saw me.

When the doctor entered my room, I learned that she considered the barbaric procedure I sought elective. When I think “elective” I naively think “breast implants” or “facelift” or “liposuction”. (Perhaps the surgery I should get to remove my tongue from its permanent lodging inside my cheek would also be elective.) After considerable internet research, I learned that “elective” does include those procedures that are sought out and paid for, but more broadly includes any procedure that is not deemed emergent. I’m sure you knew that already.

The doctor and I may have differed on whether my procedure was elective. To me, what she needed to do to me needed to be done promptly. It wasn’t a tummy tuck! (I’ve always wanted a tummy tuck, but where would the surgeon tuck my ginormous spleen?) My finger needed to be dealt with before the infection spread to my bone (although at that point she’d likely agree it was emergent). If I could have done it myself, I would have.

I am assertive with doctors. If I am at odds with something they say, I tell them. That very day, I questioned Dr. AYN’s directive that I attend the clinic rather than waiting for her to refer me to a specialist, but she insisted.

There was no point in quibbling with Dr. Annoyed-With-Me over the definition of “elective” because, within minutes, elective or emergent, she’d be performing a barbaric procedure on me. Why anger her before she started causing me pain? She’d already proven she wasn’t the coddling type.

Procedure now done, I still wonder whether I could have handled myself differently. Was Dr. AWM punishing me for Dr. AYN’s misjudgement? Should I have protested Dr. AYN’s plan more vociferously? Was I at fault? Does it matter? It’s over, and my finger is really sore. And, Dr. AWM is referring me to a specialist to finish the job she started. Oh, I can’t wait!

In the spirit of volunteerism, would anyone like to attend that appointment in my place? I’ll gladly loan you my photo-less health care card. I guess you’d need to borrow my finger as well, though. That could be more complicated. Forget it.

The pinnacle of PALShood

People often think our city is defined by the annual Calgary Stampede, that everyone spends the week at the Stampede grounds to watch chuck wagon races.  I used to attend Stampede occasionally, but stopped going after a traumatic experience there eons ago. I stupidly ate a corn dog and then hopped on a very twisty turny upside-downey ride, somehow forgetting that I suffered from motion sickness. Since then, I rarely visit the grounds, although I’ve heard, in addition to the adorable baby pigs, there are cooking demos and food offerings besides deep-fried Oreos. Now I’m reconsidering.

You’ll be surprised to hear, then, that when PALS called for volunteers to participate in a special Stampede parade this year, Jelly and I volunteered excitedly. “Pick us! Pick us!” I wrote, closing with a seasonal “Yee-ha!” I’m sure Jelly would love nothing more than to be in a parade, surrounded by hoards of adoring fans cheering and waving.

But this was not THE Stampede parade, the one that closes roads downtown for hours as 150,000 people line the streets watching endless floats and horses and marching bands pass. No, this was a special shorter Stampede parade held annually at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for those children who might not otherwise be able to participate. PALS has marched in this parade for the past 10 years.

Then came the local heat wave. Sadly, the dogs were not allowed to march this year because the steaming asphalt would have fried their delicate paws. That meant all we could do was hang out in the shade and accept endless loving from adoring children and their parents for three whole hours. It was a sacrifice, but someone had to do it.

Many young visitors swung by before the parade, petting the dogs and vibrating with the overstimulation. Loving parents snapped many a photo. What I did not realize was that, after the parade, all of the people who had been marching, along with those who’d been watching, would make their way over to hang out. The marching band, after a short break, reassembled nearby for another rousing song or two. The horses ventured within metres of the dogs and assembled briefly on the adjoining lawn before trotting off. There were princesses and Star Wars characters and mascots galore, there were lots of trucks, both with sirens and without. Even a few helicopters dropped in.

Sure, I shed a few. Even happy sick kids made me sad. No child should have to hang out at this wonderful hospital, ever. I teared up when I saw the chairs set up for the oncology kids, set well apart from the potentially infectious crowds. When I saw a cheery policeman waving up at the building, and realized he was acknowledging the children too sick to leave the hospital right now, I was a goner. Thank goodness Jelly had brought Kleenex.

How did my little PAL cope with the hubbub around her? She found a patch of grass in the hot sun, laid down, and napped. Occasionally she raised her head, but she was largely oblivious to the endless children petting her. Thankfully, they didn’t seem to care.

They say that being a love sponge is exhausting. Jelly is living, and sleeping, proof.

Jelly the Basset Hound with front legs up laying back on grass

The real cost of extended health care benefits

It’s been over two months since J. left her real job. This job provided J. with a regular paycheque and benefits, including those for extended health care. We probably got our money’s worth from those benefits, and not only because of my expensive medications. J. appreciates the occasional massage, and we both go to the dentist regularly.

I figured once J. lost her benefits, we’d immediately purchase a private health plan. We’ve even budgeted for the cost. As it stands, my drugs are mostly covered regardless by my private drug-specific plan, which I’ve had for years. Otherwise, we remain uncovered. We’re trying to assess whether private health benefits, however affordable, are worth the cost. Feel free to weigh in.

If I go to the dentist for a cleaning every six months, the cleaning would cost less than the fees for six months of benefits. On the other hand, if I knock out a tooth during one of my klutzy falls, or I need another root canal, I’ll be paying a hefty bill out of pocket. Is this risk worth taking?

Ambulance on roadA plan would also cover the cost of an ambulance. I did call 9-1-1 once when I was doubled over in escalating pain. Within a few minutes, the paramedics were inserting an IV and I was mainlining morphine. Then we set off on the most circuitous route possible, and it wasn’t my place to redirect the driver to the hospital. Every minute felt like forever. Had J. driven me to the hospital, as she has all other times I’ve gone, and I’d waited for triage writhing in pain, I would likely have been seen faster, assuming I passed the whiner test. I’ve decided that if I were to need an ambulance in the future, I’d gladly pay the going rate of $385.

Then there’s limited coverage for the allied health professionals. If I have an ache or pain, I’m worried about cancer, not scheduling physiotherapy. By the time I rule out cancer, I trust my pain will have dissipated.

Sadly, massage is out too. J.’s massage therapist sounds like a miracle worker, but I’d be bruised all over if I let her use her deep-tissue technique on me. Even J. comes home black and blue yet oddly grateful sometimes.

Don’t forget the paltry coverage for a psychologist. The therapist I now rarely see is a skilled Ph.D.-level clinician, but because she is not a psychologist, she’s not covered. That benefit does not benefit me.

J., of course, is fit as a forty year old and is banking on not needing health coverage ever. She’ll pay for the rare drug the doctor prescribes, she’ll get her perfect teeth cleaned once a year, and, knowing her, she’ll drive herself to the ER if ever she needs emergent care. Also, her next few massages are free thanks to a thoughtful gift certificate for The Bruiser from yours truly.

I may have cornucopia of expensive drugs, but beyond that, my medical expenditures are surprisingly low. (Our generous government may beg to differ.) For now, we will monitor our health-related expenses. When I slip on an icy sidewalk and knock out my front teeth, I imagine I’ll change my tune. Or maybe not. Who needs front teeth?

boy smiling without front tooth

Beware the unexpected role reversal

Basset sleeping on couch with purple eye mask on

I can imagine what you were up to yesterday. Perhaps, if you live in the States, you were having a heated discussion over Thanksgiving dinner about your newly elected president. Or maybe you were scouring the internet planning out your Black Friday shopping. Did you know Canada now has Black Friday sales even though it’s not Thanksgiving here? I don’t get it either.

While you were out and about, I was sleeping. That’s not entirely accurate. First J. and I headed to the hospital at the crack of dawn, where I underwent my annual esophageal inspection. That’s where the sleeping comes in. Sedation is my saviour. Sometimes it’s best not to remember a thing.

After I was prepped, a nurse wheeled me into Dr. Fois Gras’s procedure room. I was first on the roster since I wanted those hands at their most steady. First Dr. F.G., who is nothing but thorough, reviewed every possible way the procedure could go wrong. My excitement about the impending sedation allowed me to tune him out. Then I confirmed he’d had time for his early-morning coffee, which would hopefully prevent any of these untoward outcomes. Finally, I went under. Everything subsequent to that is a blur, although with J.’s assistance, I arrived home stoned but in one piece.

Some people choose to have this scope without sedation. Why, I ask them, why? Why would you tolerate discomfort and anxiety if you didn’t need to? What if the doctor had needed to do a little cleaning up in there during my procedure? Would I really want to be awake? No thanks. I’d rather wake up after the work is done, sore throat and all.

I did have a prolonged discussion once with someone who chose not to undergo sedation. This woman, the Jewish chaplain, paid me an unsolicited visit a few years back when I was in hospital. This particular admission was especially stressful because my spleen was misbehaving. Doctors discussed scary interventions with me, including risky major surgery. During their investigations, they discovered my esophagus was a mess, prompting a procedure identical to yesterday’s, with bonus intervention. Wish I could tell you more but I slept right through it.

In the midst of all this scariness, the chaplain dropped by to offer her support. The chaplain is a lovely woman and it is kind of her to make time to visit me but I’d prefer she didn’t, not because I’m a bad Jew, but because her visits are exhausting. On this occasion, after hearing about my scope, she mentioned that she had undergone the same procedure just that morning without sedation. I would have praised her for her bravery but my inside voice was rudely scoffing her.

The chaplain then proceeded to share at length her current health concerns with me. I was  in considerable pain at that time (hence the hospital admission), and I wasn’t in the mood to play psychologist, but I am not a rude person so I listened patiently. By the time she left, I needed a nap. Next time she visits, if there is a next time that I’m in hospital, I may pretend to be sleeping. Better that than my impolite inside voice leak out.

You catch more nurses with kindness

I hope you realize how devoted I am to you, even in times of stress. I managed to type that last post with one hand while trying to stop the deluge coming out of my nose. In case you weren’t aware, I would do anything to keep you entertained at regular intervals.

I regret to inform you that my adventure did not end with my publishing that post. Soon after, my jump-into-action friend, Mr. Chauffeur, graciously drove me to the pharmacy for that special something to stop the bleeding. But by then I was too far gone. I finished a box of tissues on the excursion, and the bloody flood seemed nowhere near abating, so I capitulated. I called J. and told her I needed to visit the hospital forthwith, and I’d take a cab and meet her there. She didn’t think a cab was very practical given my profuse bleeding, so she drove me there instead.

My first words to the triage nurse were: “I’m sorry I’m not better dressed.” That got us off on a good footing. After she reassured me my outfit was acceptable, she told me an 8-hour nosebleed was legitimate reason to come in. I always need reassurance. Then she sent me to the Ear, Nose, and Throat chair, where a talented team deals with problems like mine every day. Every single person we dealt with over the course of that visit was incredibly kind and caring. Within 2 hours, my platelets were checked, my bleeding was stopped, my nose was cauterized and I was discharged. The ER moved faster than a speeding bullet last Friday afternoon. That ER is a well-oiled machine.

The only downside was the patient on the other side of the curtain, who had clearly never heard that “You catch more flies with honey.” She was very upset by the wait, and she and her husband expressed their discontent repeatedly. While we were bantering with our lovely nurse, Ms. Grumpy shouted, for all to hear: “Shut the #%$& up!” (I’ve never typed an expletive before. That was fun.) Later, she and her husband bemoaned the long wait because “we pay to get to the front of the line overseas.” The nurse replied, much more calmly than I would have: “That’s not the way it works here.”

Medical staff deal with all sorts of patients all the time. People who are sick are stressed and sometimes belligerent. Stressed or not, isn’t there still a level of respect that we all must adhere to? These clinicians are doing their job to the best of their ability with the resources they have. A visit to the ER takes time, and sometimes one problem takes precedence over another. Over the years, in addition to learning the art of dressing for the ER (you can review my guidance on this matter here), I’ve learned how to treat the medical staff.

I’m not kind to medical staff because I want better treatment; I’m kind because I know ER staff work hard in tough conditions and deserve my patience and gratitude. So that’s what they get, however crummy I’m feeling. I’m there because I trust they’ll make me feel better.

Quote with dog at top: Be the kind of person you want to meet.