Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the world...to lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Surreal


This past week I had to have a minor surgery at a local hospital.
My appointment was for 11.15 am and written instruction given me by the surgeon included to arrive 30 minutes prior to the appointment.   Me and about thirty others were herded into a waiting room on the fourth floor of this ancient building with no instructions other than writing on a chalkboard on the wall outside this waiting room stating our surgeon was present that day.  As people often do when confused and some in pain, a collective camaraderie broke out and we started to compare appointment times.   It became readily apparent this surgeon was running very, very late.  Eventually a very pleasant lady with an efficient looking clipboard arrived and called three names - none of which was mine.  And so the waiting began.  All gathered looked up eagerly each time we heard footfall in the hallway, hoping for the return of the pleasant lady with our name on the top of her list.  Eventually my turn came around and I was ushered into what appeared to be the hallway of an area that must have been an operating theatre at some point.  Huge, leather chairs had been set up, one behind the other, against one wall.  I sat in the second of these chairs, feeling like a child playing trains and was instructed to sign a consent form, ticking off boxes that promised I had been instructed about the 'dangers and severity' of the procedure I was about to enter into.  Next step was to move up to the recently-vacated front chair from which I could see those who had gone before me lying on what looked like old-fashioned dentist chairs; one in each of the two, huge, empty rooms.  The doors to these rooms closed, but I could see the doctor, my surgeon, racing between the two operating rooms via a third connecting room.  My turn now, and the pleasant lady took me into one of the now vacant operating rooms and I sat on the freshly-papered, ancient dentist chair.  A third actor entered the play now in the form of yet another very pleasant lady who prepared the stage for our leading man.  She asked me if I had been waiting long...I could only smile.  The leading man then entered, masked, gloved, gowned and said not a word to me as he went about his business.  He did, however, have a very pleasant conversation with the second pleasant lady about a colleague who was retiring that day and for whom a party was being prepared in the lunch room.  I learned the menu for their lunch and the retiring-lady's length of tenure and generally well-regarded reputation.  The procedure was over in under ten minutes, and, stitches in, I was abruptly alone in this overly-lit, cold, vast room as our star dashed through the connecting door to the second operating room and his next patient.  Left alone, I scrambled off the dentist -chair,  fumbled with my coat and made my way back down the hall.  I was lucky enough to have a warm, smiling, familiar face greet me back in the cold, grey waiting room.  And yes, it was still full, and everyones' head still turned with eager eyes as they heard my footfall in the hallway, hopeful it was our first pleasant lady coming to fetch them for their interface with the exulted one.
Back home, safe, comfortable and sipping on a big mug of tea, I reflected on my experience.  It was more surreal than unpleasant.  Of course, I had the good fortune of not being worried, or sick, or in pain and was able to convince myself that all I truly needed that day were the surgeon's hands not his personality.  But I did wonder for the elderly lady who was ahead of me in line.  I could see the tremble of her hand, the laboured way she walked.  She too had a friendly face with her back in the waiting room...so I hoped she was okay.

I'm betwixt and between today, confused if I should be outraged by this inefficient system, or eternally thankful I have one at all.  I think I am both. 

13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Oh I do hope you are doing much better. I really think this was a dreadful situation. People going into surgery need a little extra tenderness and care no matter what the situation!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  3. 50% of all doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class...
    That behavior is inexcusable and should be reported. These people are not to be feared and do not deserve our respect or the insurance money they so greedily hoard. My guess is this Doctor only does surgery 1 or 2 days a week and then crams everyone in on those days. If everyone treated as such, complained to authorities and to him he might find his waiting room empty...

    We are treated better by car salesman and fast food clerks these days...

    They are not Gods and it is a JOB.... Although there are brilliant wonderful doctors out there I learned the hard way with 40 years of contact with doctors because of my Mother's illness that more mistakes were made, less knowledge was known and more mistreatment was given than anyone really wants to know about....

    I for one treat them as I do any other repairman...They get the same respect they show to me and they had better fix the broken machine if it is possible and charge me a fair rate or else I take action..... by contacting medical boards, insurance companies and local reporting agencies.. and when my beloved GYN moved away..I cried....

    glad you are well and it is behind you.. <3

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  4. J that sounds a horrible experience, not so much from the surgery point of view but definitely from the patient care side of things. So good to have a bit of moral support with you. Take care - hope things go well for you.

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  5. Hope you have fully recovered! It is outrageous the way the doctor treated you, but hopefully you won't have to encounter the same person again! Have a lovely weekend:)
    ~Anne

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  6. J. I do hope you have got over the surgery - it sounded like a very unpleasant experience and just leaving you to your own devices at the end is not good. I presume you had to pay for this one way or another.

    M. had a cataract operation recently in our local hospital and I must say the care he got was excellent and all at no charge.

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  7. Well, I'm glad you survived the experience. Sorry your doctor was so ill-mannered. He didn't even say hello to you; he was too busy making money to greet you.

    As to the matter of outraged or thankful, the answer is, "Yes." As least as I think. I have training as a medical ethicist, and I serve on a health region ethics committee. My assessment is that the world of health care is getting curiouser and curiouser every day. Sigh!

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  8. Assembly room surgery is where we are today. There is very little connection between the patient and the specialist - except the bill.

    I am going in for a small procedure in February and I am hoping for an early appointment. I want him fresh and wide awake so he knows the right side from the left.

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    Replies
    1. Interestingly SOAC-M...a friend told me that the health system in Ontario is headed by an ex-Vet. I guess that explains the 'herding'. Go with the right attitude...and a friend.

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  9. our health system is utterly brilliant ......... when it works........ unfortunately there are many within it that completely lack any social skills making it quite horrid to be a patient, confusing and often scary....... it's a good day if you get one with a good bed side manner!!

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  10. It's the God complex I think; this believe that the minions they are attending don't have two brains cells to ask any questions. Makes me livid!!! Unfortunately many poor souls really are intimidated by these arrogant people. The God complex is even worse here in Spain because until very recently only the rich could afford to study at medical school. So it has become a "class" thing here also; appalling!!!

    TYSM for stopping by Jacqueline and leaving your lovely comments. I am now following you too :-)
    Off to read some of your previous posts now :-)

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  11. I guess we all forget that being a doctor has become a job not a vocation for so many in the profession. I overheard a conversation between two women the other day in a shop commenting on the price of a handbag...obviously one of them was a doctor because she said "mmmm now how many gallbladder removals am I going to have to do to buy this little lovely thing?' Scary right?
    I think your attached photo sums up your experience in the hospital brilliantly ! LOL

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  12. I think this was a perfectly horrible way to treat patients let alone human beings...and am glad you posted about it so that the workd can get out there, even in little bits, of what these 'doctors' are all about...it's shameful really, and unacceptable...you are NOT a car being sent in for an oil change, you are a living, breathing, person in need and should be treated with more dignity that an engine in need of a tuneup and some oil...okay, I must calm down now...blood is somewhat boiling at the moment!

    I hope you are well now J, and have no need to go back there at the present. ♥
    xo J~

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