Be Careful, Your Healthcare May Hurt You

It was Tuesday night. The wife fell asleep early as she had long day at work and had been getting up early the morning before. She woke up at 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning so by the time all her meetings were done, dinner made, some time on the IPad and TV, she fell asleep on the couch and was out.

I stayed up with intent to write. I channel surfed instead. I should have listened to my music. Popping the ear-buds in and cranking the music usually gets me writing. The words come easier if Al Green or Marvin Gaye or Boney James are playing in the background of my mind. I got tired but before I turned in I turned the wives IPad on the clock feature so she could see what time it was if she got up at some ungodly hour and also give her some light in the room in case she needed it and I went to bed.

Or I thought I’d go to bed. I laid down for maybe a half hour and started getting cramps in my stomach or was it my intestines. An hour later it worse. The cramps just kept coming and going and coming again, sometimes strong sometimes not so strong but they kept coming until I looked at the clock and it 1:25. I kept twisting myself about the bed trying to find a comfortable space. If I got comfortable I knew I could fall asleep. I was tired myself. It was 2:15 now. What the hell am I STILL doing up at 2 fucking 15? And the cramps got worse.

I thought about waking the wife up, she’s a registered nurse after all but I didn’t want to wake her and after all with her current sleep schedule she’d be up in an hour and a half anyway. I could last another hour and a half and I wouldn’t have to wake anybody. I started to cramp even stronger.

I continued my search for comfort and retrieved the heating pad from towel cupboard in the hallway. It was getting hard to walk. My back began to ache. I didn’t want that. Getting old is hell. A bad back doesn’t help matters so I plugged that puppy in and when I looked at the clock for the last time it was 3:15. Exhausted, I finally fell asleep. This was the beginning.

Things went on without incident. No pain. No muscle cramps for two days. I had forgotten the pains that riddled my night just two days previous. Gone were the memories of bending and writhing on the bed unable to fall asleep. Out of sight, out of mind. I was good. Until 3:39 A.M. Thursday morning.

I woke up with immediate and what seemed at that second like very imminent diarrhea. I ran to the bathroom, sat down and nothing. I didn’t imagine it. I had to go! Now nothing. It frickin’ woke me up. I didn’t imagine it. I got up and went back to bed but as I laid down I felt the tinge in the same area as two days ago. And then it started. The first cramp came hard and bent me over the bed.

I stared at the clock and the time passed slowly till I heard the wife stir in the other room about 6. She came in and checked on me peeking in the door.

“Hey,” I muttered into my pillow.

“What’s wrong with you?” she asked looking at me strangely.

“I don’t feeeeeel good,” I complained into the pillow. “I got cramps. Bad cramps! Something’s going on…” I moaned and rolled over.

“You don’t look well,” she said making a weird face as looked down at me.

“Gee thanks,” I said and bent over in pain again. The pains were just as bad as it was before and coming quicker.

The wife worked all morning, meetings back to back and fires were being put out by the minute. That’s the kind of job she has. I stayed in bed and stretched my body into some sort of comfortable position but there was none. I just kept twisting myself around the bed top. That’s when I got up and ran to the bathroom again, the urge to throw up couldn’t be more urgent as I hovered over the toilet bowl and dry heaved for five minutes. I didn’t imagine it. I had to go! Now nothing. It frickin’ made me run. I didn’t imagine it. Now nothing. I went back to bed and it was 10 o’clock.

“You better call the doctor’s office,” I asked in a hushed tone bent like a pretzel on the bed. I held my side again and stretched my body as I laid down. Stretching made the pain slighter. Bearable for a few minutes. The wife looked at me again and felt my forehead for fever.

“You’re so cold,” she said. “I’ll let you know what the doctor’s office says when they call. I got a meeting right now. I’ll check in on you, Try and get some rest,” she said as she left the room closing the door behind her. We had just oiled the bedroom door a few weeks before as it squeaked every time you opened it. The sound that squeaky door made drove the wife crazy all the time but laying there in bed at that moment, I missed the sound.

It was getting to be 12pm and we still hadn’t heard from the doctor’s office. Must have been a busy day there. Over the years I have had great doctors but it was always the office staff that made me leave them as a patient. I laid in bed and writhed with the pain some more when I heard the phone ring.

“That’s not a side effect of the medicine we gave you,” the nurse from the doctor’s office said. “He suggest you go to the Emergency Room right away.” The wife began to get concerned and looked in the direction of the bedroom.

When she walked in I was laid out, uncovered, arms splayed across the bed. For once I was silent. Didn’t move a muscle. The wife bent over and nudged my arm but I didn’t move. Her look of concern became a look of fear as she noticed how cold my skin was as she touched my arm and still didn’t move. That’s when I scared her the first time that day.

All sorts of thoughts ran through the wives mind at that second and tears slowly rolled down her cheek because I had put her through this just ten years before. I had a serious heart episode. Blood clot got plungered out and a stent was put in my heart. Scared the family half to death and added six permanently grey hairs to my wives head. Some doctors said I was lucky to live.

“HEY,” the wife said now hitting me in the arm.

“Wah,” I complained as I finally woke.

“We have to go the ER,” the wife said wiping tears that I didn’t notice from her cheek.

I got dressed with a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and house slippers shuffled on as I headed out the door with my wives arm on my own.

We started the car and headed for the first hospital…Banner Baywood.

I knew I should have checked the car. I knew I should have checked the car. I knew I should have checked the car…but I didn’t. I was bent with pain sitting in the front seat of the car. The car started, the wife gunned it and we backed out the driveway on the way to Banner Baywood just a couple minutes away from the house.

The pains started as soon as I sat down. Now the drive to the hospital is five minutes long but of course it feels like ten. We turn at the stop sign and as the wife guns the engine I can feel the engine begin to sputter and rattle a little, I look over at her briefly and she notices too but doesn’t say anything either and guns the engine again. As she gets to the entrance two cars with older people driving are going twenty in a forty and it’s driving the wife crazy. She can’t go around and the snowbirds driving their Minnesota Lincoln won’t budge one mile an hour over what they are driving now. It’s infuriating!

“Move!” the wife yells as we finally turn into the ER entrance following behind the two slow moving cars.

She dropped me off and drove off to park the car.

I hobbled inside and entered the huge lobby and just to the right of me sat two lonely seats across from a desk manned by two nurses. I slumped into the first seat I could reach and stretched my body in front of the nurses trying to relieve the pain that was coming back.

“I hurt right here,” I moaned as the pain began again. I pointed to my left side and looked up at the lights in the lobby when I saw the wife above me, standing next to me now and reached over touching my shoulder.

“Name, and date of birth,” the nurse asked from across the desk. I let the wife take over the questions as I took over the pain. After a few minutes I was issued a wrist band and I was allowed to enter the ER waiting room. They offered me a wheel chair but at the moment, I was okay to walk and hobbled through the huge lobby, went behind two swinging doors and down to the ER waiting area, safely around the corner from the staff desk and almost out of sight of any rooms.

I was writhing in pain again but the time I got back to the waiting area and the wife followed behind counting the three empty rooms that were curtained and unlit to the side of us was we walked back. I never noticed them.

I sat down and was praising God that they had recliners. Oh God in heaven I’m so glad God invented recliners. When I bent backwards and stretched my body again, everything started to dull. I looked around the waiting room and there were three couples there as far as I could see. An older Mexican couple just looked at me and shook their heads.

“Muy malo,” the older woman whispered to her husband who shook his head in agreement.

I looked over at the couple and I began to worry because as I turned I saw the older woman make the sign of the cross which is never good and made me nervous.

I looked at another couple that was there and I couldn’t see anything wrong with them. They smiled at me and acted as if they were on line to see a show at the theater smiling back at me. I smiled back or tried to. That’s when I heard the wife.

“Can you get someone to look at him while he’s waiting…” she asked the nurses around the corner. They were chit chatting and laughing at the nurses’ desk. One young nurse walked over to the wife to try and calm her but I could see she was far past that point. The young nurse didn’t.

“What can I do for you ma’am,” the nurse asked. The wife hates being called ‘ma’am.’

“Can we get someone to just look at my husband for a minute?”

“No ma’am,” she said again, “We can’t look at the patients until they are in a room.”

The wife looked behind her at the three rooms that we walked past as the nurse walked back to her buddies. She was trying her hardest NOT to do her Shirley McClain impression. “JUST GIVE MY HUSBAND THE DRUGS! JUST GIVE MY HUSBAND THE DRUGS! But she didn’t.

“How long is the wait?” the wife asked.

“It’s an hour and a half right now maybe two hours. Just wait over there.”

The wife looked at me and I was bent over again trying to stretch my body into some comfortable position. I couldn’t find any.

“Hour and a half?” the wife asked.

“Yes, and hour and a half?

“So he’s supposed to just lay there like that for an hour and a half?”

That’s when all that fine Banner nurse training was shown to us. Banner is a HUGE corporation here in the valley. Goo gobs of hospitals. LOTS of money! You’d think you would train your staff better than what that nurse told my wife. Let’s face it the money is in the volume. The more beds full the more money they make from the insurance companies BUT Banner must be making so much money valley-wide that they can do what they were about to do to us. Turn us away as if they couldn’t be bothered. Now I’m an understanding person but I know in these situations if they said this to ME, they are saying it to A LOT of people.

“Well you can go to another hospital!” the young nurse said smugly as if she knew that we wouldn’t find anything better out there.

“Really?” the wife said staring daggers into the young nurse in front of her. “Is this how Banner trains its staff? Is this how Banner trains its nurses? You have one, two, three…THREE EMPTY BEDS JUST SITTING THERE…WHAT YOU MEAN TO SAY IS THAT BANNER THINKS IT’S OKAY TO LET PEOPLE WAIT TWO HOURS NO MATTER WHAT THEIR PAIN LEVEL IS BECAUSE BANNER DOESN’T WANT TO STAFF THEIR ER’S!” The wife was on fire.

“THREE FRIGGIN’ ROOMS JUST SITTING THERE. YOU THINK IF YOU TURN THE LIGHTS OFF WE CAN’T SEE THEM!

“COME ON. WE’RE OUT OF HERE!” the wife yelled to me as she led the way out the front door.

I hobbled to the front door and stood outside waiting for my wife to get the car.

I stood at the ER door looking into in the sun as I waited. For the moment there was no pain. I stretched my body as I leaned against the concrete post and took in the minutes I had with so little pain. As I waited I had sinking feeling the wife was having some trouble but just as fast as the thought popped in my head I saw the busted grill of my Grand Marquis slowly drive down the driveway.

The wife got the car started and waited as three cars went by before she was able to take off. The car sputtered toward me and I got in. Onward to the second hospital…

We headed down Broadway in the middle of the afternoon traffic which was ripe with snowbirds. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Alberta license plates surrounded us, all driving 25 or 30 in a 45. It just irks me even when I’m not driving like now. Utah, Nova Scotia, Colorado…it’s enough to make you scream especially when they are staying late into March. The snowbirds were wearing out their welcome.

We drove on trying to get around who we could to get to the hospital. My pain was subsiding for the second and we continued on till we got to Higley. We pulled in line into the turning lane and was pretty far back in the pack. The cars started going as the light turned until it was our turn.

That’s when the car died. Just stopped. The wife turned the key, pressed on the gas pedal and the car just grunted and moaned but never started again. The wife looked at me and I looked at her as the car just sat there like a non-starting beached whale in the turning lane of Broadway and Higley.

I knew I should have checked the car. I knew I should have checked the car. I knew I should have checked the car…but I didn’t. Just as I was going to say something but then I got a shooting pain that made me double up in my seat and moan loudly just next to the wife. This is when I scared the wife the second time today.

“MOTHERF*****! GOD DAMN CAR! GOD DAMN CAR!” the wife yelled out loud hitting the steering wheel with all that she had. The whole panic of the day came to this boiling point and everyone had had enough. Laid there for a minute as the wife cried next to me and tried the car once more without success.

“We just got the car fixed…” I whispered.

“I know…”

“I mean we just got it out of the garage three frickin’ days ago…”

“I KNOW!”

I noticed during our discussion and exasperation a line of snowbirds lined up behind us creating a make-shift non-moving snowbird parade with our beached whale in the non-moving lead. I rolled down my window and waved the lady behind us to go around but she just waved at me like I was her five-year old grandson. I began to wave more but she just smiled and stayed unmoved behind our car. Six other cars began to file behind her.

“Don’t ask me,” the wife said as if she was done with the whole situation. “I have my blinkers on so I don’t know.”

I waved more wildly out the window but then I began to cramp up again. I curled up on the passenger seat as a parade of looky-loos slowly drove past our car. One old man just looked down from his Escalade, shook his head in disapproval and slowly passed by. Iowa, Washington and Montana.

“Call the garage then,” I suggested. The wife blindly dialed the garage on her phone in her shaking hand. There is an uncanny being that comes over my wife when she is on the phone sometimes. My wife and I could be in the middle of the most uproarious argument but if a phone rings during it, she has the uncanny ability to sound like Rebecca of Sunny-brook “everything is all right here” Farm. Her voice is sweet and sound.

“Yes I brought in a car a couple days ago?”

“Name?”

“Gonzales, Ellen and Scott.”

“Oh yeah the green Marquis…Well how you doing Mrs. Gonzales?”

“I’m sitting in the middle of afternoon traffic because the car won’t start. And I’m on the way to take my husband to the hospital…”

“Oh dear…Well where are you at. I’ll send a tow truck.”

“Broadway and Higley. You can’t miss us.”

“We’ll be there in thirty minutes…don’t worry,” he said as the wife hung up on him.

“They say they’ll be here in a half-hour…”the wife said quietly.

The pain in my gut came back again and I stretched it out as best I could.

“Let’s call Jen,” I mumbled, “She works just up the street.”

“If this is how childbirth feels…” I moaned trying to lighten the moment, “I’m glad YOU had the children. If I had to have them we wouldn’t have any because of the painnnnnn…” I moaned once more as the next cramp began to ratchet up.

“Yes, yes, we’re right down the street on Higley,” I heard the wife say as I looked at her once more. She had gotten hold of the daughter and she was on her way.

“Are you okay?” the wife said holding my hand.

“I’m good right now,” I said squeezing her hand and letting go of it.

It was a couple minutes longer when I saw the daughter just across the street. She passed us and made a U-turn, finally parking with her blinkers behind us. She helped me in her car and the wife got in the back seat.

“What about the Marquis?” I asked.

“F*** that car,” the wife said. “I hope I never lay my eyes on it again.”

“Let’s go to Banner Gateway…It’s just down the street,” I whispered from the passenger seat.

The daughter put her car in drive and we were off once more.

“We can go to Banner Gateway,” my daughter said as she drove south on Higley. Just the word “Banner” made my skin crawl. I wasn’t ready to go to another Banner hospital so soon. I could still hear the condescending attitude from the nurse at Banner Baywood just a half-hour before in my head. “You can leave if you want!” All she needed to do was wave her finger at me and point toward the direction of the exit door.

The wife sat in back finally calm for the moment and I was in the front seat only in a little pain, no cramps and actually sitting erect was heaven as we pulled into the second hospital’s parking lot.

The sliding glass doors gave way to another enormous waiting area which were manned by two intake nurses. I noticed there were three older couples there as we walked in, signed in and sat down. I sat behind one couple who could have been anyone’s great old grandma and grandpa. They smiled at me together as I limped past them. I looked at another couple sitting next to us and the older gentleman had his phone out playing Words with Friends as his wife stared blankly ahead of her. His eyes never left his phone. And the last couple shared a USA Today between each other, he had the Sports section and she had the Life section.

I could see the wife and daughter standing up front talking to the intake nurse as sat I and watched from my chair in the waiting area. The cramps had mysteriously disappeared for the time being and I felt almost normal as the nurse called my name and my wife and I walked back for more questions.

I hobbled back toward the nurse, as I sat down the wife was already answering questions, name, address, birthdate, the usual. I just sat down.

“So what’s your pain level? One to ten, ten being the highest?” the nurse asked looking at me.

“Right now it’s…about a six,” I said getting a look from the wife as soon as I said the word.

“Six?” she said looking at me.

“But it’s a lot worse,” I said trying to explain, yet I could tell already I was in trouble. The nurse heard ‘six’ and as far as she was concerned it was over. I think I actually heard the steel doors of her mind slam shut as she looked at me. “The pain is good now but all morning it had me doubled over and I’d like to get looked at if I could…I’d like to know what it is.”

And without hearing another word she uttered the Banner mission statement…

“Well it’s going to take an hour, hour and a half at least to even get looked at…” the nurse said with the same smug attitude the nurse at the other Banner hospital spoke. ‘They must be trained,’ I thought in my head. The exact same answer. As if it was their stock answer. The wife and I just looked at each other in wonder at what to say next. Could the medical system be so messed up that an hour and a half wait in an ER is acceptable? When did we all vote on that arbitrarily messed up decision?

“You’ve got three couples out there…” the wife said pointing toward the huge waiting area. The wife knows ‘busy.’ She used to be an Administrator for a hospital. She had to find rooms for twenty people when only three beds were available in the whole hospital. Believe me she knows ‘busy’ but she also knows ‘bull.’

“Yes, we’re busy…” the nurse said not knowing we had just come from their sister hospital just down the road. She had no idea how we were treated there or what was said to us there and yet here she was spouting the rules to us like we had insulted her in some way.

I looked around the corner back at the three couples there. Busy? The old man playing ‘Words with Friends’ smiled as if he had just gotten a word in on his nefarious online adversary. It was a smile that only an 85 point word brings. And as I stretched the pain began to come back. I looked at the nurse and I could tell that not only was she not believing me about my past pain but she couldn’t care less for my present circumstances either. Busy? Let’s hope we never ever really need Banner. Just plan your sickness two hours before you need a doctor and you’ll be okay.

“It’s really starting to hurt now,” I winced. The wife had seen the wince all morning and knew immediately the pain was back even if this dimwit in front of us didn’t.

“He’s really in pain now…” the wife said placing her hand on my knee. I bent over silently and moaned.

“Ma’am, no one ever died of pain before…don’t worry,” the nurse said sarcastically looking at us with the same condescending attitude. She didn’t have to say what she said to us. She could have just asked us to wait back outside till someone saw us but she felt the need to say it even though at the moment it shocked both me and the wife.

“You want to be the first!” was what the wife wanted to say. She also wanted to add a ‘bitch’ at the end of that but didn’t. “Triage? You call this question and answer session ‘triage?’ You don’t know the meaning of the word. This is more like a return line at Kohl’s.” The wife wanted to say this…but didn’t. The wife was fuming!

“What did you say?” the wife finally said out loud still not believing her ears. The total disregard for a person in need of medical treatment was astonishing. I still didn’t know what was wrong with me after spending time in not ONE but TWO Banner hospitals now.

“I said we can see you in an hour or so…” the nurse starting to backpedal as she looked at the tone of voice in the wives eyes.

“No…No you didn’t! You said ‘No one ever died of pain before,” the wife said tapping me on the shoulder. “I hope to God no one in your family ever needs medical help and gets what we got today. All we were asking was someone to look at him,” the wife said pulling my arm now. “Let’s go. They’re too busy…”

The nurse just looked at us as if we were the ones being unreasonable. She looked at us like we were the problem. One hospital so busy they can turn away business without a second thought for the patient and another hospital in the same system of hospitals where a nurse feels comfortable enough in her job situation that she can talk so condescendingly to the sick without fear of retribution. I think Banner is the problem.

The daughter looked surprised that the wife and I came out so soon but quickly searched for her purse for her car keys as we walked past her.

“Where can we go that’s NOT a Banner hospital?” the wife asked as I got back in the front seat.

“I know a place…” I moaned as we drove off untreated from two Banner hospitals.

“There’s one just south on Power,” I said moaning and grabbing my side again. “Gilbert Hospital I think…” I said trailing off as the pain began to gain on me again.

“Just south of Ray…” my daughter recollected.

“Yes. Head there,” I said starting my stretching once more. I stretched my legs as far as they could in my daughters Camry but the leg room that Honda brags so much about was nonexistent the afternoon of my illness. I did the best I could.

“SIX?” the wife finally yelled at me from the backseat. “SIX? It doesn’t matter what your pain level is…if you were sick enough to get into a car and go to the hospital your pain level better be a

9 or 10 NO MATTER WHO YOU TALK TO! Six?”

I knew she’d say something to me about this but at the moment I was in too much pain to care and all I did was moan in front and look at how slow my daughter seemed to be driving. I knew she was right. Do you have to lie to get into to see a doctor these days? Do you get more attention if you come in your own car rather than an ambulance with all the bells and whistles? Who knows these days? I don’t.

Forty-five miles an hour can be murder when you’re in pain.

By the time we headed to the third hospital we we’re in the thick of rush hour traffic. Off ramps were backed up with lines of belching Sedans and rumbling pick-ups and we tried avoiding all the afternoon chaos as best we could. In spite of the constricting speed limits my daughter made it to the small sixteen bed hospital in good time.

When the car was parked I sat there for a second to wait for the current spasm bringing shooting cramps to my side to subside a little, but it wouldn’t. I grit my teeth and hobbled into my third hospital of the day, the wife and daughter in tow behind me.

I walked into the small waiting area and was told to have a seat and that a nurse would be with me in a minute. I sat down and watched as the wife and daughter started filling out paperwork.

The daughter became bored with the paperwork and came to sit next to me. She never was one for hospitals and I for one reason or another keep making her come to them.

“The nurse said they’d be with you in a minute,” the daughter said putting a comforting hand on my knee. Just as she said that a nurse came from behind the ER doors and asked if I was able to follow her. I nodded that I could and slowly walked to the ER and sat in one of the chairs in back.

The nurse started taking my temperature and blood pressure as soon as I sat down grabbing my wrist and began puffing up a pressure cuff around my arm. So I tell her about the pain I had all morning and she takes some notes and nods.

“Lift your shirt,” the nurse asked and began pressing on my guts and groin like I was a fresh melon.

“Does this hurt?”

“No.”

“How about here?”

“No.”

“How about here?”

“YES! YES! IT HURTS!” I yelled.

Not saying anything the nurse went back out into the ER.

“Where’d he go?” I asked the wife who had finished the paperwork finally and joined the rest of us in back now.

Suddenly the nurse returned with a long needle and syringe in his gloved hands.

“Let’s get started!” he said as he came toward me.

He laid the needle on a metal table next to my bed.

“I have to put an IV in,” he said grabbing my arm. “Looks like you may be admitted…”

I looked at the wife who looked back at me nodding her head in agreement with the assessment I was getting at the third hospital. The other daughter came in during the beginning confusion and kissed me on the cheek as the nurse readied me for the shot.

“This is gonna pinch a little,” he warned before sticking an inch long needle into my forearm. He then unwrapped an IV tube and connected the short shunt to the needle. I began to have another spasm just as he finished sticking me with the needle. My side began to pulse and throb and my hand went immediately to the pain, pressing on my side to alleviate some of it.

“Here we go,” the nurse said as he injected the needle he walked in the room with. The long steel needle that I imagined was going in my arm and would inevitably come out the other side went into my IV tube that was now hooked up to my arm.

“You may get a little…” the nurse started. I immediately began to dry heave as if I was going to throw something up. “You may get nauseous…” he finished as I reached for the garbage can next to the nurse on the floor. I coughed and gagged as if I was sick but I soon gained control of the reflexes and laid back down in my bed.

“You should be feeling better now,” he said as he began packing up all the tape and needles he used. Then I suddenly realized I had no pain. For the first time in six hours, after three hospitals, after various nurses taking vitals, after not being seen by one doctor, I was without pain. One shot of Demerol calmed me down. I wanted to kiss the person who invented Demerol as I laid there pain free for the first time. Demerol, sweet heavenly Demerol. ‘Everyone should get a shot daily,’ was my opinion as I laid there smiling. I didn’t have to hold my side at all now.

“They’re not sure what the pain is caused from so I think they’re admitting him,” the nurse explained as he headed out the door.

“Admitted?” I asked looking at the wife. She looked down at me and nodded her head in agreement as she looked at me laying there.

“They have to figure out what it was,” she said shrugging her shoulders.

Various people flew into action now that it was agreed that I was staying, two days in fact. One nurse came back in and took my blood pressure again, my temperature, checked my dripping bags of meds, and yet another came and took three vials of blood from me. I was also wheeled down the hall for a CT scan. Finally after all the rigmarole and two hours later, a doctor finally talked to us all. The doctor was a blonde woman in her forty’s

“I’ve seen the test results and I looked at all the scans but I have to be honest,” the doctor said in a tone that began to get me worried. “Have you passed stone lately?”

“No, no.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’d know if I passed a stone wouldn’t I have?” I asked looking at the tired doctor. Her clothes had a rumpled look like she just got up out of bed or a wrinkled worn look like she still hadn’t gone to bed yet.

“Well we have to go by what the symptoms say to us as doctors,” she told us all. “And the signs, I mean the symptoms are all pointing to a kidney infection most likely from a stone of some kind. Now you may or may not have felt a stone per say or anything for that matter. Passing a stone can be an excruciating procedure for some and for others…”

“How long is he going to be in here?” asked the wife.

“Just forty-eight hours. Two full days of antibiotics,” the doctor said starting to gather her things and stuffing pens into pockets. “And it looks like they started some already,” she said looking at the bags hanging above my head. “Just two days. You can last two days of resting here can’t you?” she said starting to write on a notepad she had in her lab coat pocket. “I’ve got to go now but wondered if you all have any questions.” No one said a word as she thanked us and left. I didn’t see her again till I checked out that next Sunday.

Beware. When someone promises you that you’ll get a lot of rest in a hospital don’t listen to them. They are lying to you. It is my belief no one rest in a hospital longer than forty-five minute at a time. It is my belief that since the nurses can’t go to sleep on their shifts it is their personal mission to make sure no one else under their care sleeps. They poked and prodded and stuck me with needles at all hours of the night. I’d peak with one eyelid closed and one cracked open enough for me to recognize the nurse busy above me.

Two days later I walked out of the hospital. It was a cloudy windy Sunday morning when I got released, everything was pulled from my arm, I was rested in spite of the nursing staff at Gilbert Hospital and for the first time in days I actually had an appetite.

The whole experience taught me some things. If you’re in a hurry don’t go to a Banner Hospital! If you plan on going there, plan your illness or death accordingly, a two hour window of health is needed if you want to even see any of their doctors so prepare before you go or just suffer a little longer. Maybe a big conglomerate system of hospitals that promises cutting edge technology and courteous staff needs to look in the mirror again because this whole experience clouded my judgment on how they would proceed if I needed them for something more serious than a mysterious infection. Maybe Banner Hospital is just too big to succeed all the time? Maybe I caught their staff at two of their major hospitals on a bad day? Or maybe I caught them on a very typical day and because they are so big they can be rude to whoever they indiscriminately choose? I think Banner needs to look in the mirror and reevaluate their priorities. The should concentrate more on patient care and doctor staffing instead of making people wait for care that could be taken care of in five minutes.

So just be careful like my mother used to say to me every time I left her, be careful, your health care just might get you hurt or worse.

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