Sunday, July 27, 2008

Modern medicine: A+

Two emergency-room visits, a doctor's-office appointment and a hospital stay in a four-day span should be fodder for plenty of gripes about personnel, service, treatment, whatever. But our experience at NYU was surprisingly positive. Hot, smart docs! Empathetic nurses! Prompt delivery of narcotics! Sounds like porn for hypochondriacs. Aside from the cafeteria food and the uncomfortable facilities for families, there were only two flies in the ointment (sorry, poor choice of idiom):

1. The elevators at NYU hospital are like the Holland Tunnel at rush hour—all the time. Everyone complains. Ten-, 15-minute waits—really. It wouldn't be so bad if doctors and patients had an express service, visitors a secondary one, but there's a buildup of tension knowing that the doctor is being held up in traffic right there in the building. If I were a benefactor, I'd skip the new wing and donate some more 'vators.

2. The registration in the emergency room needs fine tuning. On Other's second admission, which should have been a snap since all his information was already in the system, we had to wait precious painful minutes because one of two clerks was on her break—reading the newspaper at her desk in plain sight. Now I know every worker needs a break, but it's inhumane to clerks and clientele not to have breaks take place out of sight. To be writhing in pain waiting for someone to finish reading the funnies is enough to make a person go postal. And when we were finally checked in by the nonbreaking clerk, Other in horrible agony, the clerk kept interrupting the sign-in process to crack jokes with a colleague as if he were a department-of-motor-vehicles worker, say, instead of an emergency-room gatekeeper who was the last barrier to the morphine drip. Not that the DMV doesn't trigger the urge to go on a shooting spree, but, hey, you can always leave.

But that's it. Nothing else. And today Other is frisking about with his old mischievous froggy grin doing chores with all the cheerfulness that relief from pain can bring. And we're thinking modern medicine is a wonderful thing.


Anonymous said...

Whew, what a relief that Other's medications have kicked in and your household is more or less back to normal, at least till the next saga unfolds with the surgery. Good luck to you all. Your ability to view with humor and the right amount of detachment experiences that for some of us would be harrowing and engulfing is inspiring. This blog is incredible. Before I discovered it, I'd get up in the morning and go over to the computer to read the New York Times. Now Under the Stinkwood Tree is what gets me bounding out of bed. It's the first thing I look forward to each day. Despite life's travails, your consciousness is energizing! Thanks for sharing it with us readers.

Jacqueline said...

three cheers to 'frisking about'!