Sometimes after a hospital stay, they write a nice form letter asking you to fill out a survey. Not every time, I should know, but sometimes. Last week, I received what was probably my sixth request in about 15 years. For some reason, you don't get the darn thing until a month later, perhaps this is to give time to forget anything you didn't like.
I always try to fill out the form, if you don't they just keep mailing them until you do. It doesn't take that long, I always want to be encouraging, and it's good to make-believe there is anyone who actually wants my opinion. Besides, it's sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (your tax dollars at work!). Who wants to mess with the long arm of the government?
What did I think of the nurses?
Well, for the most part they were pretty -- young enough to be my granddaughters, but pretty. The best thing nurses ever did for a patient is the 12-hour shift. This definitely slows down the carousel of revolving faces and re-telling your story. With four days and nights, though, this means breaking in a new girl at least 8 times; and it is unfair to lump all of this into four quick Survey questions. None were bad, all were nice, and a few are exceptional women with whom an old man could be honest; but, you never seem to see the same one twice. At the end of each shift they "give report"-- not to be confused with the "rumor game." By the 5th or 6th turnover an experienced patient can tell even the best of them have gotten the story messed up. I find myself wishing they'd give their report in my presence so I could put 'em straight.
What did I think of the doctors?
They were superb! Even the new guy, Dr. Louis F. Janeira, had actually read my file, knew my history, and came in the door knowing what to do! That is all you can ask of a doctor. Nothing is more disconcerting than medical types asking a question which betrays ignorance of the patient's condition.
What about the food service?
The people who brought it were very nice. The food was hospital food, the exact same menu they've handed out for 10 years; enough said.
What the survey didn't ask that I'd wish it had?
I don't think I like this business of every patient in a single room. Some of my best hospital stories come from roommates, and I've learned a lot from them. (Ask me sometime about the old lady in ICU!) Besides, being alone in a room for four days can get boring, and lonely, and did I mention boring?
This was my first close-up inspection of the new Union Hospital, and in the remising induced by their Survey I am not sure I like all this modernization and computerization stuff. Something has been lost of the "we're all in this together so let's make the best of it" camaraderie of patient and staff. But, if it comes to it again, I'd still rather be there than any hospital 75 miles from home.
Do you think the hospital will stop writing if I just don't get sick anymore?