Friday, March 04, 2005


Houston is a city apparently crowded with sick people, needing to get a room. So on Monday when my doctor looks at me and says need to admit you but all the beds are full here so you'll need to go over to such and such hospital (which, by the way, is across town and it's 5:15), not only did that thought enter my head, but I started crying as well. Out the office, down the hall, down the elevator, and across the parking lot to my car, blubbering with every step. I did not want to go to the hospital, didn't want to go alone, and sure as heck did not want to drive myself in 5:15 traffic, feeling like hell and knowing there's no way to get there before 6:30. Not to complain, but CAN A GIRL GET A BREAK? was very much on my mind.

At 7:00 when I arrived, special Admit Now papers in hand, no one seemed to know where the special paper holding people should go. Not Emergency, and not Admissions. Much gratitude to the elderly gentleman I found while wandering through new construction. He informed me it was on the 10th floor but to take the staff elevators because the new elevators don't go there. I would not file this under intuitive, or helpful construction detour signage, just dumb running-into-a-stranger luck.

This whole special admissions gig is set up to expedite matters and get you to a room. It's a long room, 24 beds separated by curtains, a blur of nurses, vital sign machines, and activity. While the staff is getting your information, you're also getting the I.V. prepped and so on. It seemed to make sense, and as I was tucked into Bed 11, was told by my intake nurse, Ruth, that this method took a lot of the pressure of the floor nurses. What RN Ruth did not tell me was that I might find some amusement that would take some pressure off me. Nonetheless, a bit from the intake session Ruth next had with the woman in Bed 10:

Ruth: In your immediate family, has anyone been diagnosed in the past with diabetes?
Intake Patient: Well, I think my Great Grandmother had it.
Ruth [not missing a beat]: In your immediate family, FatherMotherBrotherSister, has anyone been diagnosed with diabetes?
Intake Patient: My Uncle, on I think my father's side, he died from it.
Ruth [God bless her]: Has your father ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
Intake Patient: No.
Ruth: Has your mother ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
Intake Patient: No

And so on. I missed the rest because I got wheeled to my room. On my way out, I tried to catch Ruth's eye and give her an appreciative wink, but clearly her hands were full. So this post will have to serve as that wink. She's gentle and patient, and she knows how to get what she's after. And that made me smile.

With a nod to Blackberry fashion, this post sent from Bed 655.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

LOL! We have to love the people who "don't get it" and the people who have the patience to put up with them.

What a great nurse.