Struggling Experiences At Hospitals

hospital white room interior

Photograph by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

My father's health deteriorated in the last week of November. My last day at job was November 30th. On 3rd December I booked a flight for the next day to be with him and be of help. He's never informed me much about what's up with his health, never acquainted me on which medicines he took and for what. I also never asked. His standard answer to how he's doing would be and still is

First class, all well, perfect.

So when he asked me to come, I knew it was a big deal. I was scared, booked flights the next moment and flew to him.

During these 20 days, we visited three doctors and three hospitals. The Alchemist Panchkula and Apollo Excelcare Hospital in Guwahati were the main ones. We got admitted to the former for 3 days. We felt clueless at times and helpless at others. These are the recollections of some of those times.

Alchemist Hospital, Panchkula đź”—

We could afford a single bed easily for a couple of days, so we did. We thought that we'd be taken care of properly, after all, we were paying the equivalent of a 4-star hotel stay for a couple of days. But

  • I had to constantly ask nurses to come to administer insulin and give medicines, which they surprisingly forgot often.

  • There was zero sync between different departments of the hospital. Meals were served with no intimation to the nursing staff, refilling water in a small jug—which lasted 30 minutes max—needed constant beckoning and summoning and multiple times. It'd take anywhere between half an hour and one for them to act on it. We were informed of when to take insulin shots. But I fear to think of someone who might not follow instructions properly, or fail to remember for whatever reasons. They'd easily skip calling out for insulin after they had their meals delivered and before eating.

  • On discharge, when a nurse came to tell us about the last prescription the doctor gave, she was unable to clarify doubts. We had to repeatedly ask her. Finally, the head nurse clarified them.

  • This was the first time Appa had to take insulin. We later found out we did not know what to do when sugar levels were right but close to the lower threshold – do we take the insulin shot or not? We were never told.

  • The insulin injection pen that the head nurse gave us, we later found out at 10 pm in the night – when we were supposed to take it, didn't have the needles along with it. Sugar fluctuated drastically. It had touched 400 a couple of days back. It was scary to sleep off without taking the shot.

  • I don't know why generally doctors fail to tell exactly what they have diagnosed. We knew that we had to take insulin, but none of the two doctors we consulted over the last 10 days, cared to explain why taking insulin for long is a bad thing for the body, and what we could do to completely rid of it as soon as possible.

Apollo Excelcare Hospital, Guwahati. đź”—

  • Although the doctor at Guwahati sought history patiently and took time, which was a very calming thing to watch, he completely failed to say that a strict diet is necessary to lower potassium and creatinine levels.

  • We were the first ones to reach the hospital at 7:45 am. No one tended to the 6 reception counters. We waited for receptionists to come, filled the form, and after unnecessarily waiting for half an hour, gave our first sample at 8:30 am ( why even a 30 minutes wait for just collecting samples when no one else was there? ). After giving second sample at 11 am after breakfast, we were told that we'll be messaged when reports came. We were not, so we finally reached at 2:30 pm.

  • On asking at the reception, we were first told that the reports had still not come. On showing anger, when they checked again, the reports had come a long time ago. We then waited for an hour and a half, which made sense because the doctor checked every patient very…patiently, but we had one of his first appointments of the day. No queue system whatsoever. We got out of the doctor's office at 5, then waited another 10 minutes for the dietician, for which, I repeat, we had to ask for ourselves, then another 20 minutes for her to make a diet chart.

  • A billing mistake at the hospital pharmacy took them 25 minutes to give us 3 medicines. We finally started at 6:10 pm and reached Shillong at 10 pm.

  • We had a hotel to go to until reports came. I shiver to think what happens to a person who comes from far off to get checked, on a bus, with no possibilities of stay except to sit on the uncomfortable waiting chairs, sleeping there without blankets, in peak winters?

Can't do anything about it, but it's gut-wrenching to see that hospitals are one of the pioneering institutes of sucking time, resource and wealth, often with staff lacking empathy - the only thing that can help people feel better in the difficult health conditions they seek to get cured from.