Bedside Mis-Manners

Have you ever noticed how the usual response from the surgical staff when you wake up during a “procedure” is to stroke your head and say, “It’s all right.” Seems pretty lame when you’re lying there with half a silverware drawer sticking out of your neck. At least when I started swatting at the oxygen mask and yelling, “Get it off me! I can’t breathe!” they were kind enough to remove the mask and just hold it over my face … as they cranked the anesthesia to Chernobyl. I think I managed to say “Thank you” before slipping into a coma. I’m all about the good manners.

As a society, without proper etiquette, we are little better than rutting warthogs. I’ve dated a few of them, so I know whereof I speak. I have been in the delicate and vulnerable position of being a hospital patient many times, and would like to address a few “issues” I’ve had with staff:

  • When it is fifty-cent beer night in the recovery room, you might want to offer a pint to the patient. I couldn’t believe the nerve of the nurses who were walking around with glasses of beer and not sharing. Had I been a little more lucid, I would have realized that a) there was a big herkin’ tube sticking north into one of my southerly orifices, and b) the “keg” was hanging on the side of my bed.
  • I’m all for having a little privacy when forced to use a bedpan, but this is not a good time for the nurse to do her nails, have a tryst in the linen closet, or go home. It took four days for the pan imprint to fade from my butt.
  • When a patient is hyperventilating, it is best not to administer medication. To her credit, I would like to commend the nurse for her timely execution of the Heimlich maneuver to clear the golf ball size pill from my airway and send it rocketing across the room like a pharmaceutical missile. Her aim was impeccable, as it scored a direct hit on my husband’s manhood while he was suggesting that I breathe normally.
  • After delivery, is it really necessary to stick the patient in a room next to “the screamer”? I already did my part and pooped a watermelon out of a space which normally accommodates a tampon. I’d prefer not having to listen to the next act warming up.

I understand that there is very little time to observe the niceties when dealing with a gaping chest wound, and I would like to give a shout-out to the emergency room staff at North Arundel Hospital for saving my daughter’s life. You all are doing a wonderful job … just watch that bedpan thing. You don’t want an oval imprint on your heinie when it’s hanging out of a hospital gown.