Family Friendly Hospitals – My Newest Rant

hospital signIt was an interesting day at a hospital in Hamilton which shall remain unnamed.

A family member had surgery and I was the one for whom it was easiest to look after the patient today.  That part is fine but the hard part was finding the patient.

In a bit of a comedy of errors (in retrospect) I spent about two hours trying to find the person I was there to care for.  If I had managed to get there before she went to surgery I’m sure the process would have been easier but they took her sooner than expected so I was not in her room when she was swept into the bowels of the hospital where they run patients to and from the surgical suites.

When I arrived I followed the sign that  said surgery.  I got to the end of that yellow brick road and the sign there said “Day Surgery”.  I was suddenly not certain if she was in day surgery or some other sort because she was an in patient.  At any rate I waited near the information desk there for a few minutes and no one showed up so I went back down through the maze to an information desk.  There a very frustrated woman, who was obviously overworked, finally found time to explain I needed to be where I had just come from.

Back I went.  A sign there said to take a number and wait for the number to be called.  So I waited.  I waited.  I waited some more.  In my leisure I managed to figure out the rolling computer screen code and at least finally knew for certain the person I sought was in the care of that department.

At long last my number was called and I was informed that the numbers are for patients.  I was directed to a door which I had looked through but which didn’t look like the sort of door just anyone could through.  It seemed the sort of door where either a stethoscope or a hospital tag were a must.  I went through anyway and after some scouting around I was informed the patient was still in recovery and I could go to her room and ask the nurses there when they expected her back in her room.

Armed with the 4??? room number I proceeded back to the main floor to look for an elevator to another tower that would take me up four floors rather than just two like the one I was in.  To my dismay there were two choices of towers where they are four floors or more.  With a slightly perplexed look on my face I took a chance and manged to find the right one.

Friendly enough, the staff were still of little help.  They didn’t know how long she would be though they did manage to inform me the room number I had was no longer accurate.  She would be in a different room when she returned.

Hungry and very thirsty, with some guilt and trepidation, I took a chance and went down to the Tim’s for a drink and snack.

Thank goodness for good friends.  A friend who works down the road met me for coffee and it was a gentle reprieve from an otherwise frustrating three hours.

Back up to the room and at last the patient was found.  She was groggy but at least knew I was there and I was able to offer some support for a couple of more hours while the anesthesia wore off.

As much as I dislike Walmart I do believe hospitals might take a lesson from them and have greeters at the door.  Also a lesson from the fancy restaurants where they give you those little pager things that let you know when you can come in would also be helpful.  Running back and forth and up and down while waiting for someone coming from surgery is distressing.  I recognize that hospitals are for patients not their families but I would think making the system a little easier to maneuver would be a benefit to all.

Rant over.  Thanks for listening


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (, I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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