Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good Doctors

I've complained about my frustrations with doctors before, so I feel it's only fair to be just as loud in my happiness when something goes very, very right.

Last week, I was sent to a University Cancer Center to see a specialist about a hernia. My only experience with cancer before this was with my grandmother, when she was so far gone that the only thing we were able to do was hospice. The cancer center came as a surprise. Not that I had any preconceived notions; I hadn't really thought of what a cancer center would be like in any sense other than 'please, let me not have cancer.' But once I was there, the entire experience was, well, the only word I can think of is 'lovely.'

The first thing I noticed were the smiles. The receptionist smiled, the cashier smiled, the doctors and nurses who passed by smiled, and each nurse, intern, phlebotomist, radiologist, and medical assistant who I interacted with smiled. Each and every one. We chatted, we talked, and the entire experience was one of caring and a real enjoyment of people.

I suppose I could say that some of them were likely smiling simply because it was their job, but if so, they did a superb job. I felt calm, comfortable, and as though I was in a caring and safe environment. Every person I asked a question of paused, listened until I finished speaking, and then answered. No interruptions, no body language indicating 'this is taking too long, hurry it up.'

It was wonderful.

I had surgery for the hernia just yesterday, and once again, it was a wonderful experience, as surgeries go. At first, I was very nervous. I've been reacting to so many things that I wasn't certain how things would do during the surgery. When I was first referred over, even my regular doc mentioned that he thought my potential reactions were of concern. It's not as though I'm assuming I will have some sort of severe allergic reaction during surgery, but the thought definitely hovered in the back of my mind.

The last time I was in an ER, due to throat swelling, the nurses didn't want to note down any allergies that weren't specifically medicines, never mind that many of the substances on my allergy list are IN medication. They certainly didn't want to hear about my reacting to substances that don't even test as allergies. I felt the need to check everything they wanted to give me, because they had no idea what was safe for me, and honestly didn't seem to give a damn.

This time was the totally opposite experience. The nurses and doctors listened, and when I described what had been happening, they all took notes, asked questions to find out exactly what had been happening, and I felt absolutely that if anything happened during the surgery, it was not going to be due to negligence on their part. Again, a very, very comforting experience.

So here's a thank you to all the hospital staff I've met in the last week. You were wonderful, guys.

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