Tag Archive | hospitals

When my baby was hospitalized…

Going through old correspondence, I found a letter I wrote to UCLA Hospital (L.A.) in 1973. My son was 18 months old and had been very ill and a patient there. I was distressed at what I saw and experienced in the children’s ward. Parents were only allowed to be there during ‘visiting hours’. (Many of us disregarded this unless told to leave.)


When I was there, I changed my child’s diapers and soiled sheets, fed him when possible and if he awoke crying, hearing my voice, he’d wrap his little fingers around mine and fall asleep again. I recall laying on the floor for one or two nights to be there for him. (One night I counted eleven parents sleeping on the chairs in the waiting room — there were no sofas.)

I walked to the nurses station
He had to go to the bathroom


The boy next door was about six and attached to an IV. He called again and again for a nurse until I went over to ask what he needed. He had to go to the bathroom. I walked to the nurses station and forwarded his request, then got busy again with my own child.

When I heard anguished crying, I went to ask what happened. He had been unable to hold it any longer and had soiled himself in bed. He was embarrassed and traumatized. At his age I can only imagine how he felt.


With parents purposely kept away, other children were neglected. One little girl across the way cried from morning til night each day. No one attempted to comfort her. She spoke only Spanish. My letter, therefore, mainly requested they rescind their policy of not allowing parents to remain with their sick children.


I made copies of the letter and mailed it to six people in charge. I never had a reply. The letter, however, did create a reaction. My pediatrician was told that my child and I were BANNED from UCLA, which was very close to our home. After that I was required to drive across town each time my little boy was seriously ill — and he was.

My pediatrician was told I was BANNED


I am pleased that since then things have changed and now parents CAN be with their hospitalized children. Did I play a role in this change? I’d like to think so, but probably not.


What’s been your experience with your own children’s hospitalizations?

Bionic Woman

Muriel Hip surgery in hospital, 2017

One day after surgery, jazzy robe

Hey everyone. I’m a bionic woman! I’ve got a brand new hip. Those warnings at the airport will be ringing and clanging away, bringing on the guards en-mass next time I try to get through security.

I’m also a delicate flower. After knee-replacement surgery six years ago, I had a terrible allergic reaction to whatever they administered during the operation. It lead to my declaring to all who would listen that it would be over my dead body I’d submit to another such procedure. But the pain became so unendurable, the hip had to be replaced. But I told my surgeon in no uncertain terms I didn’t want anything but a spinal. Absolutely nothing!

So it happened I was totally awake during the procedure. I was unable to see what they were up to, but the sounds in the O/R were definitely intriguing. The first thing I heard was my surgeon giving a warning to his colleagues: “Watch what you say. She’s awake.’

What would they have said? Would they have gossiped about colleagues? Wondered who was sleeping with whom? Discussed politics? Commented about my imperfect body? I kind of wished he hadn’t said that. I love gossip. It might have been fun.

Old Lady with walker

Is this what I looked like  with the two-wheeled walker?

They tucked me in solidly on my side so I wouldn’t turn over or move during the

Mom in Hospital

Hospital gown, a fashion statement indeed

operation. Things sounded more like a furniture workshop than an O/R. I heard the whirring of a saw, the banging of hammers, and then more all over again. Maybe that’s what surgeons do on the side in the O/R — build dressers or desks, and fit drawers snugly into them while they fit a new hip snugly into your body.

Being awake during surgery wasn’t a problem, but since I was wide awake, I admit ‘recovery’ was uncomfortable. I trembled so uncontrollably, I was sure I’d break some teeth. (I didn’t.) The anesthesiologist, constantly by my side, said it was due to low blood pressure and that I could not control it — it was out of my control. That didn’t keep me from trying though. Still, recovery passed quickly enough and there were absolutely no bad side effects afterwards.

For me, it was well worth doing without all the drugs I seem allergic to. However, I worried about having to go home 3-4 days after surgery — which is what they said. My leg muscles were so weak after months of waiting, I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to make it on my own so soon.

Then, the most wonderful thing happened. I was sent to a ‘Transitional Care Unit’ at UBC Hospital (where my surgery took place). I had no idea it even existed. I want you to know about it too and shall write about it next time for sure.

Meanwhile, stay well.

Self-Service Hospitals

Muriel-7

photo by Timothy Spark       

Just had a bone scan at one of our local hospitals the other day. I was there by 9 a.m. (on time) and was done and ready to leave at about 3:30 p.m. They were busy. I waited, and waited, and waited, and then — I was bored out of my mind. After all that waiting, it seemed a simple matter of the technician pressing the right buttons and the machine doing it’s job on it’s own. Interesting….

There was plenty of time for me to think while I waited, especially after I finished my book. I’ve now got a solution for some of the financial costs and delays and crowding within our medical facilities, ‘Self-Service Hospitals’ (SSH). This could increase efficiency and save money for us all. While the idea may sound somewhat revolutionary, it is entirely possible in this age of fantastic medical computer programs.

To begin with, most doctors, interns and nurses could be dismissed; diagnostic testing procedures and pathology laboratories can be eliminated (machines can do it) and cleaning staff can be greatly reduced. What savings!

man with broken leg

It should be easy to make your own cast

Don’t worry. With my brilliant idea, hospitals can remain open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The best part is that the only staff necessary are a couple of admissions clerks, who have access to the Internet and the very clever people at Google. Everything else being automated. Just think of it.

#2 Viagra vending machine

Viagra vending machine

Upon admission, a brief clinical history of the patient and the symptoms causing concern are fed into the medical computer. It spits out an immediate diagnosis and the recommended treatment. If medications are required, you place the proper amount of coins into the slot and your prescriptions are dispensed immediately — no need to go to the pharmacy. They are delivered prepackaged via the ‘Automated Pharmaceutical System (APS), and the patient is merrily on the way home with medications and instructions on how to get well.

30-brain-vending-machine

Need a body part? Purchase it here.

For instance, you arrive at the ‘Self-service hospital’ (SSH) with severe abdominal pain and the diagnosis is appendicitis (APC). The computer recommends an appendectomy, which, in keeping with the facility’s policy, can easily be performed by you. Whenever a surgical procedure is indicated, you deposit the cost in the slot, and out comes a tray with all the necessary instruments and supplies, such as gloves, scalpel, sponges, etc. Need an operating table? Deposit the required coins and out it slides. Need a new body part? Select the proper vending machine.

The best part about this system is that if our politicians still deem more income necessary, automated coin-operated mechanisms can easily be installed to bring in heaps of dough. A wheelchair, for instance, can have a slot for a $2 coin, the elevator can be operated by depositing some money too — depending on how high you wish to go, and a looney can release the lock on the operating room door. Instructions for the surgical procedure pop up on a screen within for $5. Then, since we all like to make our own decisions, we can choose from  the various anesthetics available. Any child can manage it.

old lady in wheelchair

A wheelchair can have a slot for a $2 coin

P.S. I think they’d do well not to give me so much time to think up such brilliant ideas the next time I visit a hospital.