Bigger Chairs & Skinny Needles
I have been extremely healthy my whole life. No operations or major illnesses. No broken bones. No need to see my doctor more than annually. Lately, however, I have had to make my way through the maze of medical testing at several different hospitals.
The first thing that amazed me was seeing these very large, comfy chairs, matching the other smaller comfy chairs, in all of the waiting rooms. I could sit on it alone and “spread out” with plenty of room for my purse, phone, and other paraphernalia. However, knowing that the chair was designed for a “larger” person, wouldn’t sitting on it be akin to parking in a handicapped spot, even if there were no “larger” people in the waiting room? Sometimes, the other chairs would be filled, and I viewed that chair being the same as when I drive around and around the mall looking for a non-existent parking space, only to be enticed by the many empty handicapped parking spots in the front of the building. Assuming this case was completely different, I boldly sat in the big chair and fluffed my coat out as though to appear “larger”.
The other thing noticed was that the needles used to draw blood are much thinner and less painful than I remember. A pleasant nurse explained that they have been making them as thin as possible so as to make the blood test more comfortable for the patient. However, before they draw blood, the chair on which the patient sits now has a barrier pulled down in the front of it, ostensibly to make it more comfortable to rest one’s arm. I giggled in my mind that it was there to keep me from jumping up and running away, but I behaved myself and sat still for the experience.
Going for x-rays was a cold experience, literally. Wearing the requisite Johnny, I would lie down on a table that felt like it came from the home of the people in “The Last Alaskans”, which hubby and I watch. Stark, raving icy! They did give me a little lead blanky to cover my “woman parts”, not to warm me up but to preserve my baby making ability. (The train left long ago on worrying about that!) They told me not to move while they took the x-ray, but it can be assumed that my shivering made the x-ray a little blurrier than it was supposed to be!
The most annoying thing is that doctors are now affiliated with certain hospitals. No longer can I conveniently go to Kent for my testing, but need to go to the hospital with which that particular doctor is a member. This can make it mighty inconvenient when the three doctors I have gone to have been associated with different hospitals: Roger Williams, Miriam and RI Hospital, and never the ‘twain shall meet. I need to physically obtain the tests done at one hospital to bring to the doctor who works at another because the hospitals do not communicate with each other. (Whatever happened to Patient Centered Medical Care?) Which brings me to the observation that the Medical Records unit is usually in the basement; the dark, reminiscent of horror movies, lower level. It is always surprising that the people who work there are very pleasant and accommodating, allaying my judgment of the placement of their office.
I have dutifully played the medical roulette game and hopefully my exploration of different options for medical testing is over. I never again want to struggle with the ethical choice of sitting in the “large” chair or not. It’s just too much pressure!
To read about our hilarious and warm relationship, or to read about the success of my 5 children with disabilities, please purchase my book, The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane