by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ July 29, 2018
I am lying in a surprisingly large and very white, bright glass-walled room in the CCU (the coronary intensive care unit) of our local hospital. Through these walls I can see several people who look like nurses and doctors seated at a long desk outside my glass box, staring at computer monitors. It’s action central out there, where staff can observe and monitor every heart patient, each of us in one of the glass boxes.
I can see assorted tubes, lines and beeping machines surrounding my bed or attached to my body. Two nurses are looking down at me, one on either side of my hospital bed, closely examining my right wrist. They are checking the wound that has been opened up there in order to insert a catheter through the radial artery, up my arm, around the bend of my shoulder, and into my beating heart. I find it oddly touching that each of these women is gently holding one of my hands. I feel like weeping, and so I do.
I have no more pain. No more pain crushing my chest or radiating down my left arm. No more of the increasingly debilitating symptoms I’ve been suffering for the past two weeks. If anything, I’m simply feeling surprised. I have had a heart attack. I HAVE HAD A HEART ATTACK! I, Carolyn Thomas, have had a frickety-frackin’ heart attack. . .
Continue reading ““I am lying in a surprisingly bright glass-walled room…””
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ July 22, 2018
When his 6-year old son became very ill and was hospitalized, Dan Beckham observed how his own behaviour in the hospital began to dramatically change compared to his real life. Although he would readily send a restaurant meal back if it weren’t properly cooked, now when his son received poor care (e.g. a healthcare professional who did not wash his hands), Dan hesitated to be assertive “for fear of alienating the physicians and nurses whose goodwill he needed to maintain.” Here’s how he explained this:
“I felt dependent and powerless, as if my son was a hostage to the care he received and the system that delivered it. It was as though I was compelled to negotiate for his safe release from potential harm.”
Such a reaction is an example of what’s known as Hostage Bargaining Syndrome (HBS), as described in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.(1) Continue reading “When patients feel like hostages”
Linda was having a busy day: 9 to 5 at the office, and now grocery shopping. But she wasn’t feeling right. She was a little warm and dizzy and felt heart palpitations. She finished shopping and hurried home because she knew something was wrong. But what had her doctor told her? Chew an aspirin if she ever had heart attack symptoms.* Call 911. Linda wasn’t taking any chances: too many people depended on her. She called a friend to meet her in Emergency, grabbed her pill bottles and her printed medical history, and stuck them in her purse.
Linda is savvy. She had symptoms that could have been confused with any number of things, but she made a series of wise decisions: she followed her doctor’s advice, called a friend to help out, and went to the hospital armed with her important records.
Continue reading “When you’re about to become a hospital patient”
by Carolyn Thomas
South Carolina physician Dr. Val Jones recently spent eight long days in the hospital, sitting at the bedside of a loved one. She learned that the only upside of such a vigil was being “reminded of what it feels like to be a hospital patient – or at least the family member of one”.
Personally, I have to admit that I get a bit light-headed whenever a doctor writes about becoming a hospital patient – or, as in Dr. Val’s case, the bedside companion of somebody they care about who becomes one.
Welcome to our world, doctors! Continue reading “A doctor’s perspective: 10 worst hospital design features”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
My lovely friend Jenni gave all of us all quite a scare last month when she became very ill, was taken to hospital by ambulance, and then needed to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She’s safe and sound at home now, thank goodness, and recovering nicely. She recently decided to e-mail us this update on her condition. But what made me laugh out loud was her list of three important warnings based on what she learned during her hospital experience. With Jenni’s permission, I’m sharing them here for the benefit of any women who may be heading into hospital soon. Take notes, ladies . . . Continue reading “Jenni’s wise advice for your next hospital stay”
by Carolyn Thomas
Once upon a time, a former hospital administrator named Fred Lee was invited by the Wonderful World of Disney people to help them out. He had a great time facilitating Disney employee seminars like Customer Loyalty and Disney’s Approach to Quality Service. Then one day in 2004, he wrote an award-winning book combining his two loves (the Magic Kingdom plus running hospitals). It was called If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently.
These days, Fred Lee teaches his If Disney Ran Your Hospital health care management strategies to hospital employees and senior administrators. He believes that all hospitals can and should become places where:
- employees say, “I love to work here!”
- managers say, “I love the people I work with!”
- doctors and nurses say, “We love our patients!”
- patients and families say, “We love this hospital!”
Does this sound a bit too Disney-esque, even for Disney? As patients, many of us have told horror stories, not fairy tales, about our experiences dealing with hospitals or their staff. read more about how Disney might run your hospital