By Richard Bogath
Sooner or later it’s going to happen to us all. A procedure, test, revision, repair, or “option” that will land your butt in the hospital for a day or two (or more, but hopefully not). All too often people show up for said medical intrusion with nothing more than the usual—wallet, keys, cellphone and baseball cap, right?
But what’s a pepper to do?
How can we who are ready for anything face the vast, looming citadel of darkness that is any major US Hospital and think that we are somehow better prepared for anything that might befall us within? Aren’t we completely in the hands of the medical profession to bring us through the entire process completely unharmed and theoretically better off than when we entered?
Now I’m not going to make disparaging remarks about the medical profession. Obama-Care or not I, needed to have a procedure done recently and I was well cared for and treated in a kind and professional manner that left me impressed with the efficiency that was practiced. Not that EVERYTHING was perfect though.
This most recent visit to the surgi-factory also presented me with many insights and opportunities as a pepper to make my stay more pleasant, safer and with a greater sense of control over my own outcome—which is all we are looking for anyway, right? Right.
Typical Hospital Survival Stuff To Bring:
Bug-out bags, paracord, AR-15 and plenty of MRE’s, right? Leave em all home. In fact, the less you bring with you to the hospital, the less you will have to worry about being stolen. I’m not saying that everyone has things stolen in hospitals (I had a pair of jeans stolen years ago—including my house keys) but things get lost, misplaced and otherwise left here and there. As a matter of fact, if a friend or loved on is taking you and bringing you home (days later or not), give them as much of your personal items as you can to take out of the hospital with them when they leave. Most likely you don’t need clothes of any kind—they are provided. You don’t need food (although hospital food is terrifying all on its own). You don’t need your silk bathrobe. Just show up with insurance info, ID cards, cellphone (with locking code enabled) a good knowledge of what meds you take on a regular basis and a few other things.…
Not So Typical, But Oh So Necessary Stuff To Bring:
Your favorite pillow. You won’t lose it because it’ll be under your head the whole time. Hospital pillows are garbage. Your attempts at sleeping at night will be much more successful at night when your headrest is a familiar one.
A watch. Or something to tell time with. It will help steady yourself to know what time of day or night it is. Hospital stays can be extremely disorienting and some form of timepiece will allow you to anchor yourself in the day.
Multiple and redundant copies of insurance cards and ID cards. Just in case.
Foam earplugs. Totally serious. Chances are that you will not be alone in a room during your stay and there is no accounting for what your neighbor will be like during the wee hours of the night. Mine happened to have dementia and talked all…night…long with the intent of having a discussion with me as to who I paid off to be able to use the rooms bathroom, while he had to use a bedpan. I did my best to remain cordial and overtly positive, yet avoided any discussion with a dementia patient who cannot understand that he is in possession of a broken hip. Of course, his timing for using said bedpan was ALWAYS when my breakfast or lunch arrived. The stay in a hospital can be an experiment in weight loss as much as anything else. Yours might not be so drastic but a snorer or teeth grinder can be just as distracting at 2am.
I have always found it uncanny how rude people can be to those whom are entrusted with taking care of them. It simply makes no sense. Everyone understands that you are hurting or uncomfortable or frightened or upset. But I have watched patients treating doctors and nursing staff (especially nursing staff) like they are paid servants to be ground under massa’s heel.
We, however, will mot be following such doctrine. No matter how much of the battle feels as if it were waged upon me, I greet each and every person who enters that room with a warm smile and a welcoming demeanor. I make it a point to try and learn everyone’s first name and make sure they use mine. A silly joke, flattering observance and the simplest “thank you” is ALL it takes to win their hearts. Your pain meds will always be on time. The time spent with you—sometimes DOUBLE that spent with other less cordial patients (I timed this whenever possible and not zonked on pain meds).
Fair and firm:
Sometimes…stuff happens. Not everyone you meet will be impressed with your battering eyelashes or your witty charm. One such overnight occurred with yours truly when the IV pump that I was hooked into started alarming that there was a clog. Minute after minute it rang out, getting louder and louder. I, unable to turn it off without a code, must have politely and gently pressed the call button three times with little more than a rather curt and syrupy “Yes?” as the reply with no followup to solve the problem after my explanations.
So what’s a good prepper to do? Solve the problem yourself. Having watched it done many times now during my stay, I safely and efficiently disconnected myself from the IV pump, got out of bed and rolled the pole—IV attached—and the ever-alarming pump out into the middle of the hall outside my room, turned around and closed the door behind me.
After laying myself back down, not four minutes passed before a friendlier face entered the room, IV pole in hand and silenced alarm in tow, exclaiming; “Point well taken.”
The point of the fair and firm story is to be fair and understanding that these people are doing a job and not everyone is great at or enjoys doing their job. But every patience has a limit and when yours is reached, there are more creative ways of solving a problem other than screaming at someone. We knew that, right? Would we scream at oncoming disaster or deal with it?
The End Result?
My little 3-night jaunt in the hospital gave me a lot to think about as a prepper. Not so much the life and limb that we are used to practicing for, but a much more personal day-in or day-out of life situations that our preparedness can also to be used to achieve our ultimate goals. Far be it from me to tell a medical professional how to do their job, but be dammed at the same time if I ever allow myself to be treated as anything other than a deserving human and American when out of my element.