Hospital tip: Don’t tell the staff you ‘Googled’ your symptoms

Published on: January 2, 2019

Chamber News & Views

I want to say my holidays were terrific. But that would be a lie. I spent most of the holiday season in and out of hospitals. Not much fun, but I learned a lot about how the world of medicine operates. No pun intended. Hopefully you won’t need this information. But if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being detained in a hospital room, here are some tips I learned the hard way.

Here’s the top tip: Always, always treat the nurses and nursing staff with the utmost respect. They are in charge of your meds, your food, your pain pills, your TV remote — they own you. You need to make sure you remain their best friend throughout your stay.

You don’t have to let everyone know that you “Googled” your ailment and your treatment. It’s okay to get all your medical smarts from Google, but I’ve found doctors and nurses couldn’t care less what Google thinks. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t question your treatment. You need to know exactly what they are doing to you and why. Just keep the word Google away from any and all actual medical conversations.

You probably don’t need your phone or your laptop on the second or third day after surgery. Get better first — and, more importantly — get less groggy. I was banned from texting on day three after surgery by my board of directors. The texts made perfect sense to me — and to me alone. Emails were not much better just because they’re usually longer. So that was painful for all concerned, as well. 

My hospital stay was unique in that it was during Thanksgiving. That’s the time you usually begin or conclude — depending upon your level of procrastination — your holiday shopping. I was able to order what I needed. However, I paid no attention to shipping dates. Groggy again! My fancy holiday tops just came in yesterday. And yes, I am wearing them to the chamber this week. And one of my husband’s larger gifts arrived today. And I am not quite sure I gave the customer service folks the correct credit card numbers either. Check your statements. If you’re being charged for three sparkly Christmas tops and some Omaha Steaks, that’s my stuff. 

Things just were not coming together. I blame it on the nursing shift at 3 a.m. that for some reason needs to take everyone’s vitals at 0-dark-thirty. At that hour, the only vital thing should be sleep. 

Avoid holidays and weekends at all costs if you can. I kept running into trouble with missing personnel. I was in the hospital not only on a holiday, but also for several weekends. Doctors, nurses and techs get time off, too. But when your specialist is off, you’re stuck watching yet another episode of Jerry Springer.

But the biggest thing I learned was that I needed to be nicer to my doctors. They get to say when you go home. I argued with both of my doctors constantly, and I swear they kept me locked up longer than necessary just to prove their point — that I was a pain. Learn from my mistake — doctors rule! 

Happy New Year — be sure to spend your holiday at home!

Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email lynne@sccchamber.com.

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