The other day Dave spent more than ninety minutes waiting for medications to be dispensed at the hospital pharmacy. Everyone I’ve told simply can’t believe how long we needed to wait. And they have a point. If we go to our local pharmacy it takes about ten minutes to fill our scripts so why should the hospital pharmacy take over nine times longer?
The answer, of course, is The Hospital Vortex. Once you step into The Hospital Vortex things take much longer and are more difficult than they really need to be. The way to cope with The Hospital Vortex is to manage your expectations. Assume the worst and your expectations will either be met, or hopefully, exceeded.
The examples of expectation management that immediately spring to mind are so numerous that I hardly know where to start. Allow me to sift through and present a few choice ones.
When waiting for pain medication with a bowel blockage do not expect the sweet relief of opioids within two and a half hours from the time you first request it.
When getting cannulated do not expect it be finalised with less than three attempts.
When requesting a new vial of insulin from an agency nurse do not expect them to a) know what you are asking for b) convey your request accurately to their supervisor c) notify their supervisor precisely which patient you are d) try and fail to achieve any of the above within twenty minutes. Do expect your dinner to be cold before you receive your insulin and can begin eating.
When receiving your meal from the kitchen staff do not expect them to bring you what your ordered.
When you are waiting for a surgical procedure do expect to lie languishing and starving on a gurney for over an hour whilst the staff enjoy coffees and cronuts fetched and paid for by the most junior intern. Although undoubtedly cruel, be completely fine with this lest they are not adequately caffeinated and sugared and accidentally under-dose your sedative or perforate your bowel or do something else equally as pesky.
When handing over a pre-prepared list of medications and dosages do not expect them to be charted correctly for thirteen days out of your fourteen day admission.
When requesting something from the clinic coordinator do not expect it to be accomplished without four follow-up emails.
When requesting blood draws only every three days during an admission (on a mandatory antibiotic level testing day) do expect to turn the blood collector away on every other day because your request is not actioned although thoroughly supported in theory by everyone you interact with.
Mark November 6th down ladies and gents because my last clinic visit wildly exceeded my modest expectations. I was scheduled to see the endocrinologist at 10am and the respiratory team at 10.30am. I actually guffawed when I heard this. I reckoned that the chances of sticking to such a time frame were about on par with me winning a gold medal at the next Olympic Games. I turned up a tad early with my obligatory cup of coffee, mentally prepared for a three-hour visit. I had placed my buttocks on a seat for all of twenty-five seconds before I was called in to discuss the state of my mostly-absent pancreas. Such was the predictability of its function (or lack thereof) that I was presently whisked away into the treatment room to get my port flushed before a quick trip across the hall to do my lung function test. Clutching my results and freshly produced sputum sample I was ushered directly into a consult with the respiratory physician. My lungs remain happy chappies. Although we tried to stretch our chat out as long as possible to give Medicare value for money there was little to say or do other than to generate a large bundle of scripts to see me through until 2016. Soon thereafter I was ejected into the hallway and the door was snapped smartly shut behind me. I stood there, blinking in bewilderment, frankly astonished, that for the first time in the history of the adult clinic at RPA everything had gone to plan. My brain simply refused to a) fathom such a succinct visit and b) instruct my body to leave the building so hastily. Instead I re-acquainted my buttocks with the chair so that the social worker and I could finish the conversation we had started earlier that morning.
Suffice it to say that I now very much fancy my chances of bringing home gold for Australia in Brazil next year.