30 June 2010

Medical Adventures

Last Friday I had to have a procedure done at my local hospital. Unless I am experiencing a mental block, I'm pretty sure I haven't been admitted to the hospital for anything since I had my son DJ 12 years ago. As a matter of fact, before I broke my foot in December it had been quite a while since I had been to the doctor for anything due to my spotty health coverage. So my recent round of medical treatments has me looking around at everything like a visitor to a foreign country. Innovations that I've only seen on TV, like nurses making notes on laptops, have finally arrived in my almost-rural part of the country. Seven years ago I had to pick up films to take from one specialist to another; now they send them electronically. Welcome to the 21st century!

One aspect of my recent visit to the hospital that I didn't expect was how many times I was asked to identify myself. Every time I was moved to a different room or a different practitioner came to see me, I was asked to give my name and date of birth. I was also asked several times if I knew what procedure I was in the hospital for. I assume this was done to make sure that they had the right chart with the right patient every step of the way, though I was starting to think they were doing it to test my sanity :-). Never once have I seen that done on a show like "ER" or "Grey's Anatomy". I guess it wouldn't make for good TV.

In contrast, the clinic I went to yesterday was a bit too casual. The waiting room was packed to the gills, one of the interview rooms looked more like a storage room with all the extra boxes in it, and all the equipment had an old beat-up appearance. The nurses were so accustomed to seeing the same type of client over and over that I had to remind everyone I saw that I wasn't there for pain medication (one of the clinic's specialties). It was only my confidence in the doctor that sent me to this clinic that soothed my doubts about their professionalism. Luckily, the procedure itself went OK.

There are more clinical visits in my future because I want to tune up the old chassis while I still have health insurance. I want to avoid turning into the Woman of 100 Ailments who takes tons of pills and discusses incontinence at the dinner table!

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