I’ve been in and out of various doctors’ clinics for the past 2 months. For the Grand Finale (Hopefully, it is final!), I was confined for 3 days. I now open my luggage and share with you a couple of learnings I’ve learned there. Oh, and don’t worry. This ain’t one of those sentimental reflections just because I had time alone with myself (I really have that, as most of you know.). Take some of these along the next time you step into the hospital. You may actually have a good time!
- Always have an overnight bag with you. – You never know when the doctor will diagnose you as sick enough and will bar the doors just to make sure you check in the hospital immediately, with or without your toothbrush and toothpaste.
Memorize 2 important phone numbers. – Or always ensure that you have a charged cellphone with you. I was lucky that day. Doc wouldn’t allow me to go home and pack my stuff. I left my phone at home and memorized only 2 mobile numbers. Doc nor her assistant wouldn’t lend me their cellphones to make the call. Payphone lines were long. You get the picture.
- Know your territory. – This includes shortcuts (As big and as well-equipped as the major hospitals may be, there will always be too many people; hence the long wait at the elevators --- unless you know where the hidden ones are. : )), the bathrooms, the foodcourt, the information center, billings, etc.
- It pays to know people. – Call them connections if you want, but people are generally nicer to you when you have a common friend. And they don’t have to be in high places.
Always bring along a book with you (or any material that will keep you from just showing the whites in your eyes). – One of the most popular complaints in a hospital is the long wait in the doctor’s clinic. Doctors rarely come on time and lines will always be long.
Be good at scheduling. – Goes without saying that you know the doctors’ schedules. Comes in handy when you have to go to a number of doctors and you have limited time. You can sign up with the different doctors so you’re just in time to see the doctor when you just finished seeing the previous one.
Choose a sickness that is not popular. – EENTs will always have long lines. So do IMs (Internal Medicine). Opthalmologists and Internists rarely do.
Enjoy solitude. – Unless you have your personal maid, you’ll be alone most of the time. If you can’t enjoy the company of your own self, you’re in trouble.
TV ain’t always a bad thing. – I rediscovered the joy of couchpotatoeing. Watched an episode of “House” and went to buy the DVD as soon as I got out! One thing just boggles me – Why do hospitals have to place their TVs way up near the roof in hospital rooms? It takes out a bit of the pleasure in watching that box and rewards you with a strained neck and a dizzy spell.
Choose your visitors well (Alright, I meant be picky!). – Not everyone you’ve met should know you’ve been confined. A handful of friends whose company you truly enjoy is enough to keep you out of the doldrums. How do you know you enjoy their company? You don’t want them to leave even if your eyes have become heavier than your hips.
Know what your doctor is talking about. – This doesn’t mean not to trust your doctors. It’s just that most doctors are faced with the same sicknesses over and over again that they take for granted the fact that most patients don’t share their detailed medical knowledge and need their detailed explanation. Hell, after the long wait in clinics, patients deserve more than just a name for their sickness and a prescription, right? Oh and this helps because you know what questions to ask.
Know how to describe your pain. - Your doctor’s diagnosis is only as good as your explanation. Know which part of your body hurts. If possible, describe the kind of pain (dull, sharp, spasmic, lingering, etc.). I like my hospital’s Pain Campaign (CamPAIN. Hehehe. Sorry couldn’t help it.). They tell you that pain is critical and must be called out when it happens. They even have a pain scale in every hospital room so you help your doctors know the intensity of your pain (On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, what is the score your pain prior to and during confinement?).
Be nice to hospital people. – Even if they’re not nice to you. Most doctors and hospital staff hardly get enough sleep. This lacking corrodes their happy disposition. Doesn’t mean you tolerate rude behavior and bad service. Just make an effort to be nicer to show them their work is appreciated. They just might do their jobs better. It can be a winning proposition.
Hospital food ain’t that bad. – Maybe it’s the influence of TV and movies, but just like cafeteria food, some hospitals actually serve a good homecooked meal. I’ve been one of the few lucky people who has never experienced a bad meal in a hospital. I always look forward to the steaming meal set on a tray with its tasty aroma filling the bland smell of the hospital room. For this stay, I can still taste the savory sourness of the Sinampalukang Manok and the delicious blend of sourness and patis (fish sauce) of the Sinigang na Baboy. Yum yum! (Okay. Okay. Their sandwiches are bad. Bread was too dry. Filling was stingy.).
Getting sick comes with a hefty price tag. – You better be employed or have someone generously pay for your hospital bill. Heavens, one of my doctors (I had 3 for this stay.) charged Php4,000 and I just saw her for a total of 10 minutes during my 3-day confinement! Dolphy was right: “Bawal magkasakit (Don’t get sick.)” Just like crime, it never pays. You do the paying both for your health and your bills.
Get well as soon as you can! – No matter how much fun you have there (My hospital even has a salon where they offer room service for patients who are very particular of their grooming!), the best way to live remains to be the healthy way.
Thank you to all who went out of their way to visit, kept me company with phone calls, and included me in their prayers. Knowing how precious time is to all of you, please know that your thoughtful gestures are much, much appreciated. : )