Learning to Be (a) Patient

river-flowIt runs like a river runs to the sea-U2 , 1987

Let the river run-Carly Simon, 1988

As anticipated in my last blog, I had my urinary tract plumbing procedure on rainy Wednesday. Most patients are sent home immediately after the procedure, but because of a few kinks (kinks in my history, not kinks in my urethra,) I had an overnight stay. I am now resting semi-comfortably at home. A catheter is in place to ensure that things keep streaming along. The big test will come Monday when the UroPartners team pops out the catheter. At that point, it will be all up to me to pee. By Monday evening’s  Passover Seder I plan to be flowing like the mighty Nile did when Moses led the Jews out of bondage in Egypt.

And how did this doctor do as a patient? I spent the first twenty some years of my career as a pathologist in a community hospital, so the sights, sounds, rhythm and routine were somewhat familiar, but it is certainly different from a patient point of view. The good people at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital did a great job of helping me feel comfortable, and treating me with kindness and respect, whether or not they knew I was a physician. The staff was uniformly polite and every member, from housekeepers to nurses, assistants, volunteers and administrators was sure to identify themselves and make it clear just what they were doing in my room at 4 in the morning.  And as my wheelchair was pushed out the door on Thursday morning, there was even a woman cheering me on with a hearty “You’re going home-Yeay!”  I am not sure she is a hospital employee, but if she isn’t, I suggest that LGH give her some pom-pons, a cheerleaders outfit, and offer her a job!

I have written before of the many safety precautions we take in our lab to ensure the right result goes to the right patient. We bar code, color code, do manual double checks, and with patient consent do DNA identification verification. I was glad to see similar safety precautions in place at Lutheran General. I recited my name and birth date at least 5 times an hour. The 2D and 3D bar codes on my wrist band were scanned with virtually every contact with staff, and certainly every time any medication was being administered.  I know that if my visit had been for an orthopedic procedure, the staff would have marked either my right or left knee to identify which side should be cut on. I don’t think that was necessary for my particular case–only one place for that cystoscope to go! By the way, if any of you are looking for an investment opportunity, alcohol based hand wash would be a good bet. To prevent spread of infection, there is a lot of hand washing going on.

Sorry, but I have absolutely nothing to tell you about what it felt like to be in the O.R. I have zero recollection from the time I was rolled out of Pre-Op until the moment I saw Barb beside me a few hours later.The intravenous sedative followed by general anesthesia was so relaxing that I think I will ask for it on my next trans-continental airline flight. It sure beats a Diet Coke and a bag of peanuts at 30,000 feet.

Kudos to my good friends and associates at UroPartners and my new friends at Advocate Lutheran General. I just hope that in my case, when it rains, it pours!


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photo credit: Onasill ~ Bill Badzo <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7156765@N05/32632872480″>Iceland ~ Landmannalaugar Route ~ Ultramarathon is held on the route each July ~ Water Falls ~ HDR</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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