I've wanted to write a blog for a couple of weeks now but I just never got around to it. So much shit has been going on it's been kinda hard juggling things around. First and foremost, Happy Fucking New Year! I sincerely hope everyone had a blast welcoming in 2007. I spent some time in DC, visiting family from Dec. 27-Jan 1. We took Mike's mom, Laura, up there to see her family. I'm glad we did because now she is in the hospital with what appears to be lung cancer. They are doing a lung biopsy tomorrow to be sure.
Yesterday, I left the hospital feeling angry. I think I might need some anger management counseling, classes or something. I seem to get very angry, very quickly over what I believe is other people's stupidity, or laziness. For example, when we were leaving Washington DC, we stopped in an airport store to pick up some last-minute gifts. There were two older women working in this nearly deserted gift shop (it was deserted until we walked in). The women seemed nice enough until they opened their mouthes. One woman did not seem at all familiar with the English language (we'll call her Erckel) and the other appeared to have the mental capacity of a seven year old (okay, maybe a nine year old but that's as old as I'm going—anyway, we'll call her Gru, all of my Office buddies will get that).
We found a few items we wanted and took them to the counter to purchase. Erckel (and) Gru attended to this single sale. They came to an item we had found on their clearance shelf—an apron. Laura uses aprons as bibs since she has difficulty making the trip from the plate to the mouth, because of her stroke. The aprons work very well because they provide an excellent amount of coverage compared to that of a standard bib. The apron caused a problem for the women because it did not have a price tag on it. There were other aprons on the clearance shelf but none with the same design as the one we wanted to buy. But, all of the clearance aprons on the shelf were priced at $5.99. Gru told us she would need to call the manager to find out the price of the apron. We agreed to wait since we had plenty of time to spare for our flight.
As we were waiting, I wondered over to a shelf beside the register. There were some novelty items hanging up, one of which was a George W. Bush stress doll--Smoosh Bush, I think it was called. You know the kind, it's really squishy and you squeeze it whenever you're frustrated.
Well, I picked one up and started to squeeze it but then realized that it was broken. The doll had been decapitated. Once I discovered that it was broken, I turned to the register and placed the doll beside of it, telling Erckel that it was broken. She proceeded to ring it up and put with our things. Mike broke in and told Erckel that we did not want it: It was broken. So, Erckel did what any average sales associate would do and placed the item back on the shelf. Then I asked Erckel, "So you're just going to put that broken doll back on the shelf?" She just looked at me. I told her that I thought there might be a spot for things that get broken so the store can return them or do whatever. Erckel reluctantly grabbed the doll from the shelf and threw it a bin with a hodge-podge of other items on the shelf behind her. Why didn't she do this to begin with? (Which is exactly what I asked Mike as soon as she tossed it into the bin.) She just looked at me and rolled her eyes.
Gru returned from the back with a price for the apron we wanted--$5.99, go figure. She asked us if we still wanted it and we answered positively. Then she began the difficult process of trying to enter the price into the electronic cash-register. After several attempts she admitted that she did not know how to manually enter a price (I guess she's used to scanning everything). She summoned the help of Erckel, whom also could not figure out how to enter the charge. We told them both to just forget it and that we'd just take the other couple of scannable items.
Okay, my questions are: Why were these two women working in this shop? Why would someone hire a sales associate who cannot communicate with the people to whom she is suppose to associate sales? Why hire a 70-year-old woman, who probably cannot even operate a standard cassette-tape answering machine (circa 1985), to enter charges into a computerized cash register? Why would these women even accept these positions, knowing that they cannot possibly serve a customer appropriately? I seriously would like to have that 30 minutes of my life back.
The hospital nurses also piss me off. Now, given the fact that I've worked in healthcare for 15 years, I know how these people work and have an even greater amount of anger for their stupidity and laziness. I will try and spare you all of the narrative and just ask questions. If you have an answer for any of these, please share—I need all the answers I can get. And, when I use the term "nurses" I am referring to all of the medical "professionals" (RT's, PT's, phleb's, CNA's, etc) tending to patients with the exception of doctors. Sorry if I offend any of you nurses (or nurses to be) out there, but the term nurse refers to caring for a patient so I use it in its loosest sense. I also hate to generalize but until the nice nurses become the majority instead of the minority, they're all gonna be grouped together.
Why do nurses call every old person "honey," "baby," or "sweetie?" C'mon, just because they're old doesn't mean they've lost their dignity. They are not stupid and they should be treated with respect.
Why do nurses talk loudly, and in a baby-talk voice, to older people? Not all old people are hard of hearing and not all of them have them the reasoning ability of a three year old.
Why do nurses talk to patients one way when family members are around and another way when they're not around? I've heard them, so don't say it doesn't happen.
Why do they assume no one understands anything? When we took Laura to the ER, the triage nurse asked if she had any leg swelling. She then looked at one of her legs and said, "no, they look pretty good." Shelby and I just looked at each other in disbelief. The nurse saw us and said to me, "would you like to come show me where her legs are swollen?" Well, the fact they were the size of a small tree-trunk should've been proof enough. I told her to please just move forward because we were wasting valuable time. She then tried to kick us all out to the waiting area but we didn't budge. Laura has apraxia and usually cannot say what she's thinking. She understands everything and can think regularly, but what she says usually does not have anything to do with what she intends to say. After triage, I got put in time-out by the nurse, she told me that only two family members were allowed to go back with her. I let Shelby go with Laura and Mike. I went back when that nurse wasn't looking.
Why did it take a whole hour for her to get oxygen, especially when her pulse-ox was 93 and she was wheezing? I find this completely unacceptable.
Why aren't patients given the same amount of respect and care as the nurse would want his/her mom and dad, or son and daughter to get?
When is healthcare going to realize that it is in the customer service business just as much as Macy's, Target, Papa John's Pizza, Marriott and any other service-based industry? People have a choice where to go for healthcare, mostly. One problem though is having to endure the current conditions until the opportunity arises to choose another option. Another problem is that the choices seem to be the lesser of evils. Why is healthcare like this? I refuse to believe it is because of the money. Money should not the determining factor in human interaction and standard of care.
My cats and dogs get treated so much better at the vet's office than my mother-in-law gets treated in the hospital. I know that the vet is a cash business and they actually get paid what they charge, whereas in healthcare a physician is lucky to get 50% of the charges they submit, but that should not affect the standard of care. Since the vet's office gets 100% reimbursement, the argument might be that they can afford to hire more staff which results in better patient care—whereas the low reimbursement rate for healthcare results in understaffing and overly-stressed staff. This argument still does not justify treating patients and their families poorly. When a person is sick, s/he's sick. Period. Treat him/her appropriately—with respect, dignity and compassion. Treat the person they way you would want your loved one treated. Anything less should be unacceptable.
With that, I will end this blog. Oh, I forgot. I'm doing a few new projects that I will discuss later, but I wanted to share something funny with you. I shot a commercial for a local TV station a few weeks ago (WSB-2). You know Jarrod, the Subway Sandwich guy who lost weight? Well, I guess WSB and Subway paired up and created a fitness challenge or something. They created a few promo commercials and I'm in 'em. HA! I think they're funny, but I hate seeing myself on screen. I don't like the way I look. I never realized how much my nose points up at the end. The natural state of my face (when I'm not smiling nor frowning) is angry-looking. My face is really long and I have such a double-chin! I'm fat. And my acting truly sucks ass. (I did not write any of that for sympathy comments, so please don't think I did.) Anyway, here are the current promo commercials. They've got a lot more footage and they said they'll probably create some more later. The commercials start airing today. I'm not watching WSB until March or something, when they should long gone by then.
Sorry this blog went on forever and ever. If you read the whole thing, give yourselves a piece of chocolate--you earned it.