Here at Outside Hospital (OSH), we are 100% committed to your satisfaction as a patient. To this end, we have created this pamphlet, which contains some tips and advice to guide you in your hospital stay, and we will be providing this to each and every patient immediately upon your arrival to the hospital. Even if you have slurred speech secondary to a stroke, been shot multiple times, or don’t even know your own name, don’t worry, we won’t bother you with pesky ekg’s or mental status exams until we have gone over this information, in detail.
1. Please try not to confuse us with a hotel.
I know, I know, the free cable, hot breakfasts, and lumpy mattresses all create an atmosphere that is incredibly confusing since it resembles your favorite Holiday Inn. However, we actually are a hospital, not just a bunch of beds filled with some sick people. So, that means that your breakfast may not be the equivalent to IHOP’s, we might not have Comedy Central as a choice of channels and sometimes, when your doctors come into your room, they might have to turn off the television so they can discuss your health. Although I know these lack of conveniences might lead you to believe that you are in a third world country, they probably don’t deserve a one page written complaint.
2. We CAN make you have zero pain.
All it will involve is a breathing machine, a continuous infusion of general anesthesia, and probably a one week stay in our $8,000 per night intensive care unit. However, if you don’t opt for this premium platinum package, you will have some pain. You literally got hit by a bus yesterday, have a broken leg, 6 broken ribs, and had emergency surgery to take your spleen out. Unfortunately, it is probably going to hurt. Yes, even if I give you that pain medication that starts with a D followed by some benadryl because the D drug makes you itch and some phenergan because the D drug makes you nauseated… injuries hurt. Our abilities extend only into making the pain manageable, so that you can get out of bed and participate in your care.
3. Sometimes we may have to ask you for legal documents.
We understand and are very proud that here at OSH, we have the most romantic environment you can find. Girlfriends are constantly becoming fiancees, fiancees become wives overnight, and ex-wives even can become wives again! It really is remarkable. Unfortunately, however, when 2 women show up claiming to be your wife, and legal signatures are required, we may ask you to show proof of your relationship. So, to help you, we have included our local County Clerk’s contact information on the back of this handout, so you can easily provide us with a copy of your marriage certificate.
4. You may be subject to drug or alcohol counseling during your stay.
WE believe you. We totally understand that your urine drug screen showed cocaine only because you had sexual intercourse last night with a woman who was using drugs. Unfortunately, the CDC does not currently recognize cocaine or even heroin as a sexually transmitted disease, and we are required to offer counseling when drug and alcohol screens come up positive.
Let’s talk drug allergies for a moment. Allergies are slightly different than side effects, and include reactions such as shortness of breath. Nausea, for example, is a side effect of a medication and means that you can actually still receive the drug in question. In addition, narcotics all act similarly. Therefore, although you might think that you are allergic to every single pain medication except for that one that starts with a “D”, that probably actually isn’t the case.
6. Your doctors all went to school.
For a long time. We promise to provide you with real medical doctors who are all incredibly in debt to provide you care. WE also understand that Google provides everything anyone needs to know, but our doctors are kind of picky, and they do expect you to trust their knowledge. Therefore, we do encourage you to listen to them. Especially when it comes to the importance of getting out of bed. However, don’t worry, here at OSH we have you covered. Should you decide to ignore your doctor’s advice – refuse to get out of bed, for example, we have the knowledge and expertise here to treat the decubitus ulcer on your bottom that you will invariably get. We are particularly proud of our decubitus debridement program, and you are welcome.
Thank you again for choosing OSH, we are proud to be healthcare providers and look forward to taking care of you during your time of illness. And don’t forget, please fill out your comment card letting us know how well we did at the end of your
hotel hospital stay.
The Management of Outside Hospital
5. Ok, on allergies – I suspect you need a similar patient’s guide to explaining their allergies to doctors. My wife has a latex allergy. We discovered through trial and error that the correct way to explain this to doctors/nurses/medical support staff is: “I have a latex allergy, latex makes me stop breathing”. Then all the latex gloves get cleared out of the room, and the magic non-latex ones come in, “latex allergy” appears in big angry letters somewhere, and we’re all happy.
Now the problem is that this might not be true. The truth is, putting a canula in will cause a spotty rash. A gloved abdominal examination will cause big angry welts, ditto mouth exams. I won’t talk about prophylactics. But in surgery something happens, we are not quite sure what, but it has now happened twice, which causes worried, sweaty, but ultimately relived surgeons and anesthetists to show up after the surgery and say to us “you absolutely must explain to anyone who ever tries any medical procedure on you again that you have a severe latex allergy”. Her recovery from both of these straightforward surgeries were shocking.
The “twice” is the problematic aspect here. Because previously my wife was truthful, and said before the second surgery words to the effect of: “I get some spots when I touch latex, and a medical person once told me I have a bad latex allergy and people ought not use latex around me.” Now she lies.
Question – should she lie?
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