Monday, May 4, 2009

Why I wish everyone meditated

[image: Welsh corgi and attendant]

. . . or at least, everyone who works in the medical profession.

Because - what a day I had. What a week, including high fever and emergency hospitalization over the weekend of Tom's big birthday party. I could write a book about that weekend. But I'm too tired. That's because I'm very anemic, red blood cells down and iron stores "in the toilet." That's why the kidney doctor has prescribed ten infusions of iron/sucrose by IV. The infusion center is where I arrived this afternoon at 3:45 for the first one.

I was supposed to be there at 3:00, when I am really supposed to be napping. But the kidney nurse made the appointment, so I felt I had no choice. And I went to where the girl who called from the hospital told me to go, registration at the main hospital.
"At the hospital?" I confirmed.
"Yes, the main hospital," she said.

I walked and limped and hobbled about a mile, and finally got to Registration. But they couldn't find me on the schedule there. That would be the same hospital computer that took data on me for half an hour in the ER Friday night. The same hospital that took all the same data all over again at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning when they finally got me in a room and in bed. That computer. Couldn't find me on the schedule.

After half-an-hour of confusion, the receptionist figured out I wasn't supposed to be there at all, but in another building, the Health Center.

By now my left ankle hurt so badly, despite the boot and the walker - I am supposed to be staying off it, or I'll end up in a cast and a wheelchair - that I just sat there and began to cry. I couldn't help it. The Health Center was a long, long walk away. I just couldn't. Besides, now I was late. My red blood count is 8.5 and I just finished a week having my sleep and my digestion ruined by a powerful antibiotic. It was the last straw. Any camel can only carry so much.

Well, despite what they tell you, crying isn't all bad. It conveyed my feelings. It inspired the receptionist to find a wheelchair and personally wheel me and my walker over to the health center. She tried to ask me what how I hurt my ankle - it's much worse than that - but I couldn't talk. I just kept crying.

When we got through registration there, and downstairs to the right place, it was empty except for one guy asleep in a recliner.

The center was closing soon, but the RN was a mature woman, and was kind. She understood that I was a victim of the usual, and moved everything along efficiently, and got the IV in, in one try. Meanwhile, she gave me forms asking for all the same information I had given in the ER a week ago, and then again up on the second floor. The same information I laboriously fill out everywhere I go, while people sit in committees and talk about how hard it would be for them to computerize this data. Hard for them - what about me?

But I have learned to be very patient with all that, or just worn down. What bothered me was that someone called me last week to verify this appointment, which is more important to my health than I can explain here. That someone told me where to register, and I was careful to get it right. And it was wrong. And this stuff is not nothing when you're really sick, which - surprise! a lot of people who come to hospitals are.

Now, I'm not blaming the girl who called with misinformation. That's not my point. I bring it up as an example of how easily we can let some detail slip, fail to pay attention, fail to care about the other person, and how much impact a little mistake can have. Buddhism likes to point out the truth that every single thing we do has repercussions. It has been put, "You don't get away with nothing."

That's why I wish everyone meditated. Everyone would learn through practice to pay attention to what they're doing so they don't mess me up. They would do their stupid, boring job with just as much care as if every patient was one of Queen Elizabeth's Welsh corgis, who I am convinced get the best health care in the world. If they didn't, heads would roll. There's a thought.

1 comment:

  1. You really had to put everything you had (and some extra beyond that) into just getting there, and then aaack! I am glad that you allowed yourself to be honest. Crying is sometimes just the truth, and that certainly sounds like a cryable moment. Would that we all got the kind of care the corgis get.