Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Spent last Thursday night in the ER of our local hospital. Kidney stone. The rumors about how painful that can be are true, and mine wasn't even in the very large category. I couldn't rouse the few friends I called at 2AM so ended up, wisely it turned out, calling 911 and some firefighters in their ambulance came to collect me.

I had gotten dressed before they came and had a pretty good idea what the pain was (I'd had a bout a week before, either the same stone or an earlier one and didn't call anyone, but this time the pain made me feel like I was gonna throw up and pass out at the same time and that didn't seem fair to have someone find in the morning). They agreed it was probably a kidney stone and the worst of the pain occurred on the ride to the hospital. They say (meaning women who have experienced both) that it's as close to the pain of child birth as a non-mother can experience. God bless mothers.

But the reason I bring all this up is I noticed this hospital, one I've been coming to even before I moved back to Jersey in '99 (my father died there many decades ago) had changed it's name slightly, from a saint to a corporate sounding version of a saint (I guess if corporations are people according to the rightwing influenced Supreme Court under Bush junior, than corporations can be saints too). That made me a little wary.

When a doc didn't come to see me right away, and the nurse was all young girl sounding sweet but spent way too long digging around in my arm trying to find a vein for blood tests and an I.V., and when I asked if there was anyone on duty who specialized in drawing blood and inserting I.V.s (as I learned to do in this and other hospitals in my two decades of hospital emergencies) she chuckled as if it was a stupid question, and when I said she was hurting me more than anyone ever had in all the poking around in my veins that's been going on for decades, she chuckled that away too.

I never did see a doctor, only a "practitioner assistant" I think she said she was. I've had RNs do the work of docs and been better off for it, but this woman just told me what tests they would do and then the results and what the doctor, in an office somewhere, diagnosed and recommended etc.  Now I have three heart conditions so anytime I go to a hospital for anything I usually have a doc questioning me immediately, if not two or three (from other health challenges in recent years).

So that seemed to me an indication of corporate medical monster looking for ways to cut costs, one doc in a central office in this giant hospital emergency area telling assistants what to tell patients (I was listening to the ER patients in nearby "rooms" just divided by curtains and didn't hear any docs talking to them either). Then when I turned down strong pain killers but agreed to let them add Tylonol to the fluid in my I.V. the "pumps" that were supposed to do that kept failing, so that the same nurse had to keep getting replacements which also failed to work at all until one finally worked sporadically and kept beeping when it stopped prematurely and it would take quite a while for the nurse to come mess with it until she got it working again.

When it was time to go and have my I.V. removed, she was still messing around with the half broken pump so a man, who I'd watched remove the plastic bag from the medical waste bin without gloves (another man had earlier taken the normal trash can garbage and used those thin plastic gloves), and when I said something like "You live dangerously" he replied something meaning "It's no big deal" —but now with his bare hands that had removed the medical waste he was undoing my I.V. while the nurse was still distractedly trying to fix or stop the Tylonol drip.

I should've said, Hey man don't touch that thing that goes straight into my veins with your bare hands that just handled emergency room medical garbage, at least wash them in the nearby sink, but I didn't. It happened too fast and I was exhausted and wanted to get out of there. But I thought about the medical facilities and procedures in other "advanced" countries and how their life spans and death rates are better than the USA's and how tragic the skyrocketing infection rate in hospitals is here and thought, No wonder. Bottom line is not healthcare, it's CEO and stockholder care. One more indication of the decline of the empire.


Anonymous said...

Lal--Unfortunately, what you say about your local New Jersey hospital ia also true of top-of-the-line institutions like Yale-New Haven Hospital. My wife was a patient recently and the nurse on-shift was sent home several hours early because there was not a minimal number of patients on the particular ward. This from a hospital whose director is paid 2 million dollars per year. Everywhere the bottom line rules, except in executive salaries. Bob B.

Lally said...

Amen to that Bob