Long story short, I've spent about 7 of the last 10 days in the ICU with a sick mother.
I don't want to really talk about that, but if you've seen the television show House, well I am living it. A patient comes in and they say, "oh this isn't serious, we'll have you out of here in a few days." They start to treat her for what they think is wrong, but she gets sicker (most likely cause of the wrong treatment). They realize what they thought was wrong wasn't in fact wrong, other problems arise and they try to treat those. Again they are wrong and the person gets worse. Repeat this process again and again.
That is what happened to my mother, and at one point, I had to find a room to cry yesterday cause I really was starting to wonder if she was going to make it out of the place alive. But alas they FINALLY found out what was wrong (something IMHO they should have caught 8-9 days ago), and fixed it. In like 24 hours she has improved 110%.
Nope, don't really have the energy to talk about that. I want to talk about something maybe more positive (or maybe not).
I don't have a ton of experience with hospitals, cause generally speaking my family is pretty darn healthy. About 12 years ago I caught a 1 in 10,000,000 virus and had to get cut from ear to ear and was in an ICU with a tube down my throat for a week. A few years ago my father had a mild heart attack and was in an ICU for a few days.
In both instances the ICUs and the hospitals in general, how do I say this, not places I wanted to get medical care. Honestly they were kind of dumps. And a few other times I've visited friends or co-workers in other hospitals I was equally unimpressed.
I know I am preaching to the choir here, but we live in the richest nation in the world. I just kind of always thought we ought to have nice hospitals, not just for rich folks like my parents, but for EVERYBODY. All of them like the Mayo Clinic, or if not that nice, as nice as the place my mother is in now. I am willing to bet about 80+% of the people in this nation can't go to a hospital like my mother is in and that pains me.
Much more below the fold ....
First I should give some background. This hospital is in a town of 100,000 people. In a rural area where there isn't a larger town in any direction for 100 miles. Heck within a 100 miles radius there are four other states. It is clear it is a "regional hub" for all those states if the license plates in the parking lot are any indication. And if the halo pad, that was right outside my mother's window is another indication, it would seem other hospitals are sending patients here at the rate of more than one an hour.
It is a Deaconess hospital. I had to Google Deaconess (I knew it was something related to religion) and what I found makes sense, cause well German immigrants were the first folks to come live where I live. I thought there were a lot of them throughout the nation, but it appears not so much and the one my mom is in is the "flagship." It must sit on 10+ city blocks. Building after building.
Doing a little research it was ranked in the top 5% of hospitals nationwide for just about everything you can imagine. Top 1% for patient satisification last year!
When you walk into the front door the lobby is something you'd expect to find in a hotel lobby where rooms are $350/night. It is the cleanest place I've ever been in, outside of a "clean" room one of my clients had where they made computer chips for satellites.
The room my mother is in, and they only have single occupant rooms, is larger then my bedroom (my bedroom isn't small). They have chairs, recliners, and a couch. Flat screen HDTV and Blu-ray players. I wish I had the bathroom my mom has in my house :).
The place, and I am a tech geek, is tricked out with all the latest technology. Heck my brother is a Cisco networking engineer and he was stunned by all the Cisco gear they had, cause well everything is wireless. Nurses and doctors walking around with Blue Tooth headsets and tablets. When tests came back they were not paper, but just sent directly to the computers in my mom's room and their tablet. In fact the only piece of paper I every saw my entire time there was consent forms my father had to sign. It was impressive.
And what I thought was the "coolest" was is they use pneumatic tubes. These are tubes like if you go through a drive thru at a bank where you put your deposit slip in them and it goes inside. Their system runs from every floor to other floors and other buildings. So to send my mom's blood to a lab in another building, they use this. Nobody has to wait and walk it over. Pretty freaking cool IMHO.
And the service, my gosh it was what every hospital should have. One nurse for each two patients. My mom could gasp for breath, no alarm would sound, and I swear there was a nurse there in 10 seconds.
Now I wasn't a fan of the doctors (she has had 5 at this point), but the nurses were rock stars. I know all nurses are, and these just have more resources to work with, but I was stunned with the time they spent with my mom and my brother and I peppering them with questions. And their bedside manner with my mom couldn't have been better.
And just a lot of little things. They'd bring us food and ice if we wanted it. If they needed us to leave they'd call us when we could come back. No visiting hours. We could come and go as we liked. Heck they even gave me pillows and a blanket so I could sleep there one night. Oh and the cafeteria food, it was actually almost "good."
Again maybe this is common in other places, as I said my experience with hospitals is pretty limited, but I bet this isn't the case. So I come back to my first point, why are we as citizens not demanding that everybody has this level and quality of care? I don't care if you live in rural Mississippi or South Central LA.
Well that is all I have to say about this, but I've love to hear other people's experience with hospitals. Even more so from nurses. I almost feel we have to "shame" politicians to take action. Take a rich Senator to the hospital where I was at when I got sick and ask them if they'd like their son, wife, or mother to have an extended stay there and see how they feel about it.
We can do better, we should do better ......