Treating All Hospital Patients the Same

Being in and out of the hospital since I was 8 years old, you can say I have spent a lot of time there. On all different types of floors. Getting shipped all around the hospital. At this point, I would like to call myself a hospital travel expert. Rating which hospitals have the best food, which ones have fancier I.V.’s, figuring out where the cute doctors and nurses are. If you are going to be in and out of hospitals, you have to find some humor in it right?

Has anyone else ever noticed this?

One thing that I have noticed time and time again that really makes me mad is how much nicer the cancer floors always are. Has anyone else ever noticed this? Obviously, this is nothing personal against anyone with cancer or who is being treated for it. But how come every time I step on to a cancer floor I feel like I have hit the jackpot of all hospital rooms?

I never see this on my floor

About two months ago when I went to New York for a regular checkup I showed my heart doctor’s a bump that had been growing on my armpit. Immediately, in a panic, she shipped my up to oncology to get tested. When arriving on this floor, I noticed the Keurig machine and stack of women’s health magazines right away - things that always seem to be lacking from my floors. Also, the waiting room had big cozy couches and warm blankets for anyone to grab. I never see this on my floor which looks like a janitor has not come through in about 3 days.

As I brace myself

Next, I get into the ultrasound room and the tech starts to put the jelly under my armpit. As I brace myself for that cold jelly feeling that I am used to on my chest, I notice it is warm. I am not shocked as I usually am by jelly that feels like it has been sitting in the arctic for the winter. I say to the nurse “Oh wow I’m used to freezing jelly this is nice and warm." Her reply: “Well this is how we like to treat our women with cancer - they deserve it”.

A private garden to ourselves

At the moment all I could feel come over me was rage. I wanted to say back to her: What about an 8-year-old little girl who is about to have a heart transplant? What about an 80-year-old who is dying of liver disease? What about someone with sickle cell anemia who is in chronic pain all the time? Why do we not deserve warm jelly or drawer of heated blankets that we don’t have to ask the nurses for? Why do we not get a private garden to ourselves? They have one at Yale’s cancer unit and my nursing friends there tell me they cannot bring their patients because they do not work on a cancer floor.

It is about time

Again, this is nothing against people with cancer. I would just like to make the point of why we do not treat all people with an illness like this. I would just like to take the time to point out that it is about time for this problem to get fixed!

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