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How Do You Feel About … HOSPITALS??

How do you feel about hospitals?
(Photo by Chris Kleponis/Getty Images)

Thankfully I’m in pretty good health for someone of my advanced age. I don’t require any medications; I don’t have high blood pressure or diabetes. Is spite of that I seem to still find myself in hospitals from time to time. I had the colonoscopy procedure last spring. Contrary to popular belief, it proved conclusively, that I am not “full of it.” That was certainly a relief. If you ever have to have one, and you should if you are over 50, the drugs are great. I was hoping for samples but — no dice.

I usually get two physicals each year. One from my family doctor, and another one about six months later, from the VA. I only mention that because I want you to feel gratified that your tax dollars are not being wasted. Medicare and the VA do have their moments.

The Doctor’s Waiting Room

One of the things I wonder about while I’m waiting in the doctor’s waiting room is who came up with this idea? Did people used to line up in the hall? Sitting on the floor exchanging aliment information? I suppose that one day a doctor somewhere said, “I’ve got that empty space maybe people could sit on the floor in there.” I’m sure chairs were added after a short time.

I wonder when the magazine idea materialized? Life, Look, Sports Illustrated in the beginning. Then, over time, giving way to People, Redbook, and US. Is there a policy on the age of waiting room magazines? Not sure the issue of People with “Tiny Tim’s Wedding” on the cover is the ideal way to comfort those already in an agitated state.

And of course, what would a waiting room be without that special person behind the window. The “sliding” window. Only she can unblock the communication venue to make absolutely sure that you have acceptable insurance. “The doctor will see you shortly,” and the window slides back in place. I am not going to cover the three most often told lies, but the doctor seeing you shortly is most assuredly the fourth.

The Examination Room

About 20 minutes after your appointment time, you are shown to a small room usually with a chair, a rolling stool, and that table with the crinkly paper on it. Sometimes there are magazines in there too. So glad I can read up on “Tiny Tim’s Divorce” while waiting for the doctor. After a time, a personality challenged individual will come in to take your “vitals.” Blood pressure, pulse, that blood oxygen thingy on your finger, temperature thing in your ear, and like smoke she’s gone.

About 40 minutes after your appointment time the doctor enters. Plants him or herself on the rolling stool and starts flipping through your paperwork. Your mind is racing, “Please don’t find anything; please don’t find anything.” After listening to your heart, thumping you here and there, it’s a quick prescription, and like smoke the doctor too is gone. After an hour of waiting your visit is over in about 12-15 minutes tops.

Some Final Thoughts

Obviously not all visits to the doctor are as I’ve described here. My experience has shown that the vast majority of medical practitioners are always caring and professional. I’m the hyper one. I know there is a natural fear in any medical examination. But many medical problems have a satisfactory outcome if caught early. So error on the side of caution when you feel something is not right. No one knows our bodies like we do. Don’t delay. Even a day can make all the difference. If something’s not right, see your doctor.

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