Things You Think About In Hospitals

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We just spent a bit over 24 hours in the hospital, the kiddo having come down with a bad case of the croup (complete with stridor). The last time I was overnight in the hospital was also for this kiddo, though for slightly more joyous reasons (aka "birth"), but I digress. When one spends a night in the hospital - particularly one for which you've not planned - it puts you in a position to rely on the hospital staff and facility much more to ensure that your needs are adequately met. Here are some random thoughts from the fray of this latest experience...

btw, the care we received was very good, and so this shouldn't be seen as negative or griping, just observations of various things... the contrast between quality of care and quality of environment were, perhaps, what I found so interesting here...

  • Why are the sleeping arrangements so bad? The good news is that we each had a place to sleep. The bad news is that one was a pull-out single sleep sofa thingy, which is notoriously uncomfortable and, well, almost worthless. Then there was an adult-sized bed (for one) and the crib for the kiddo. The baby slept for 12+ hours in her crib, so obviously it was ok. I slept so-so in the bed, and my wife - quite graciously, I might add - got almost no reasonable sleep on the pull-out thingy. I should, however, point out that I spent 2 nights on one of those things when the kiddo was born, so I guess we're even now. At any rate, what I wonder is this: why aren't there better accommodations for parents in the pediatrics (or maternity) ward? Surely you can still expect that 2 adults will accompany a kid. Note that pediatrics doesn't cater just to babies, and thus the adult-sized bed could easily be occupied by an older child (or even teen, I believe). It rather baffles the mind.
  • Who does the decor in these places? The hospital where the li'l boo was born had fairly decent decor, of which I was reminded by contrast with the fairly standard issue hotel room we were in last night. Talk about depressing. Gray, ugly, cold tile floors, drab walls, harsh lighting, and so on and so forth. Surely there's a better way? I suppose, though, that it costs money. Perhaps it's also intended to drive people out more quickly, though I tend to wonder if it could just as easily make people feel more sick.
  • Why is the food so mediocre? Not really much to say here. The food ordered off the menu for in-room service was very mild, which I get, but it was, well... it left something to be desired. Anyway.
  • How are you supposed to get healthy without sleep? (well, for adults, anyway - kiddo has slept hard) Something I've never understood is the need to leave the lights on 24 hours/day and the constant in-person check-ups when the monitors are running and ok. Because the boo was on an IV drip the nurses had to come in and reset the timer every 2 hours. And then there were checks of vitals, and administration of various medicines, and so on and so forth. I actually woke with a start a couple times because of squeaky shoes on nurses checking the kiddo. Fortunately, she slept hard all night long (and with good results!).
  • Why is it so bloody cold? Holy moly it was cold in that room last night and today. Especially near the windows, which was also under the AC vent, which meant on the pull-out thinger. Ironically, for me it was offset by the vinyl mattress protector such that I had a good sweat going that combined well without he cold air blowing from the ceiling, helping to make my own cold worsen over night.
  • What does it take to get a blanket? My poor wife. She was not given much to cover up with on the pull-out thing. Why oh why was the room not stocked with a couple extra blankets? And while we're on the subject, no, I do not consider one of those paper-thin knit jobbies to be a "blanket" - those are more like heavy crochet sheets. Anyway, as with the last bullet, BRRRR!
  • Every person who comes in tells us the same thing, but has no solutions or help to offer. Every time someone came into the room while we were holding the kiddo caused her to get agitated, which resulted in us dropping the "cool mist air" hose and struggling to keep her from getting completely bound in the wires or, worse, yanking out her IV. Each person then chided us for not keeping the cool mist on her at all times as that was the key to her recovery. Yes, thank you, we know, and you're not really helping us. One nurse told us we could take her into the bathroom with hot water running in the shower. Really? How? She's hooked up to 3 different machines, each with at most a 6-foot cable. And then there was the doctor, who told use she should have slept in the tent with the mister running overnight, which we had planned to do until one of the nurses had taken it down. *sigh* We were actually told that 3-4 times by 3-4 different people, none of whom put it back up. We ended up doing it ourselves before nap time, and the kiddo did well in sleeping in it twice. Now she's in her own crib with a mister running nearby, hopefully filling the room with lots of soothing moisture.
  • You call that a towel? I had the pleasure of showering in the hospital bathroom this morning. The towels were pathetic. In fact, calling it a towel was a stretch. I've seen single-ply toilet paper that was thicker (though, to be fair, the towels did hold up to water much better than the single-ply TP provided there). At any rate, it seems to me that some corners shouldn't be cut quite so closely.
  • Wow do the TV choices suck, especially when the TVs don't support their own entertainment system. I understand that upgrades cost money, but it was rather disappointing when the remote for their entertainment system barely worked, and then, worse, that we couldn't actually make use of the free movies in the room because the output format was digital to an old analog tube TV. Little things like this can be very frustrating when you're spending extended hours with a sick kiddo and won't have free hands to hold a book (or type a blog post).
  • Do they teach "cooing" in nursing school? One of the more amusing things about the stay was that almost every single nurse (all women, btw) seemed to coo to the li'l boo in the same high-pitched voice. It was kind of weird, and made me wonder if this was something they taught in a special pediatric nursing class, or if it just spread from more experienced to less experienced nurses through contact.

1 Comment

A reminder of the few times I had to spend the night there. Things haven't changed.

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This page contains a single entry by Ben Tomhave published on November 4, 2009 8:40 PM.

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