Health Care's Repetitive Silliness

Denise
question-mark-460869_640When my dad visited his cancer surgeon for the first time, we sat in the exam room with a nurse before the surgeon came in. The nurse's first question was, "Why are you here today?"

During each subsequent appointment, this same nurse begins each appointment with this very same question, "Why are you here today?" I suppose it's an innocent question but after each appointment we complain about that question. We want to scream, "SHOULDN'T YOU KNOW WHY WE'RE HERE?"

At his first post-surgery appointment, this same nurse asked my dad if he could leave the exam room to go to the bathroom to give a urine specimen. We looked at her dumbfounded until one of us finally said, "He has an ostomy bag." "Oh, I see," she said.

At that appointment, we wanted to add a second scream: "WHY DON'T YOU KNOW HE HAS AN OSTOMY BAG?"

When my mom was transferred back to ICU on Saturday night, a resident arrived in my mom's room to examine her. She asked why mom was here, how she was feeling, if she had eaten anything, if she drinks, smokes. I found her questions to be so inappropriate and her tone so condensing that I had to leave the room. Before I left, I asked the resident, "You know she was transferred here from another floor, right?"

After I left the room, I wanted to scream, "WHY ARE YOU ASKING QUESTIONS AS IF MY MOM JUST WALKED OFF THE STREET AND INTO ICU?"

Healthcare's repetitive silliness makes me crazy. It makes me doubt the competence of the professionals who will be caring for my mom. It makes me wonder if they are clueless, daft or simply socially awkward.

It doesn't have to be like this. The resident could have walked into my mom's hospital room on Saturday and said to her, "You've had a rough two weeks here. I'm going to do my best to help you get better. I've got some questions to ask that may sound silly but it's standard protocol."

Had this happened, I would have felt like we hit a home run with this resident. And, my mom would have thought, "I'm going to get the help I need."

Easy peasy.

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