Navigating HealthCare

 

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I am going to give you some basic tips for getting through your next hospital visit.

1.    Carry your insurance card as well as some form of identification with you.
2.    Have a list of your medications and maybe even several copies. Have the list up to date.
3.    Write down past medical history on that list.
4.    Write down your allergies and tell them to everyone that you see.
5.    Show up early for your appointments. Registration takes time.
6.    Have a list of your vaccinations. Know what you have had and when.
7.    Ask, ask, ask questions. Don’t be a bystander in your healthcare, be an active participant.
8.    When someone gives you a drug, ask what it is for.
9.     If someone orders a test, ask why.
10.    Ask for your test results.
11.    Ask for explanations. It is your right.
12.    If you feel uncomfortable, tell someone.
13.    Carry a notebook and pen with you during a hospitalization to write down any questions that you have.
14.    If you have a healthcare proxy form or any advanced directive form, bring that with you.

This is just a small list, but by asking questions, having the appropriate documentation and lists with you- you can make your journey through the healthcare system much more manageable.

~SarahLee, RN

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Yes, That Happened to Me

 

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While working on part II of Please-Just Let me Go Home I thought that I do something that I have never done before.

I want to ask my readers a few questions.

Have you ever been a patient in the hospital? A visitor?

What are some of your best and worst hospital experiences?

Working in healthcare is a daily learning experience. We encounter people who are often scared, sick and vulnerable at the same time.

What did someone do for you that was wonderful? That was awful? How did someone approach you that you appreciated? That you didn’t appreciate?

Leave a comment and share your story!

A Muse about Hands

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I was standing in line at the store the other day,
Waiting for the person in front of me who was buying Valentines candy that
was half off
(what on earth was she going to do with all of that chocolate for the next year?)
I was sick of looking at the tabloid covers
So I started to notice hands.
I have always been fascinated by people’s hands. Maybe because I am a nurse, I notice hands more than the average person.
I remember in nursing school one of my instructors saying that we would start noticing people’s hands in line at the grocery store.
She was right.
Looking at hands gives me clues into a person’s life. I don’t know if I am always right, but I enjoy imagining what a person does in their everyday life when I look at their hands.
The woman buying all of that candy had capable looking hands with what looked like
green paint speckles on the backs of her knuckles.
No rings on her fingers.
Maybe she paints.

The woman who was checking out the Valentine candy shopper had somewhat
stocky hands.
Her fingers were short and round.
Her nails were different shades of color.
The colors on her right hand did not match the colors on her left.
They were polished in bright colors, and no two colors were the same.
I imagine that those different colors tell of a need to try new things, be brave and be bold. So she painted them different colors.
I can tell that the paint is not a professional job, so I imagine that she is frugal and feels that she can certainly do her nails herself without paying someone else to do it.
She also has about five different rings on various fingers. I think she likes to feel glamorous. In keeping with her assumed frugality it appears that those rings are cheap imitations of real rings. There might be one real ring in the bunch, probably a significant gift at one time or another.
My mind began to wander about other hands that I have seen.

The guy at the cell phone store has long thin fingers on his hands.
His nails are very well kept.
His hands are almost ladylike in their delicacy.
I imagine that he spends a lot of time on his computer.
Maybe he even plays the piano.
He’s probably very concerned about hygiene and neatness, since his nails are so clean.
And he probably spends very little time doing manual labor.
I have seen thick and calloused hands on men in line at the store.
They are usually holding a carton of milk and a dozen eggs.
They have dirt around their nails.
Their hands are clean, like they have scrubbed them, but some dirt remains.
Their fingers are cracked and stained.

Those types of hands tell me of a hard working manual laborer.
Someone who is concerned about not appearing dirty, yet lots of soap and water cannot wash out years of hard work.

Those kinds of hands are on men like badges of honor, for all they have done their whole life was with those hands.
I imagine that those hands can chop wood, milk cows, build homes and fix cars.
And can only scramble eggs.

When I am in the hospital I see all kinds of hands.
I see diabetic hands, with discolored yellow fingernails.
I see heart failure hands, with clubbed fingernails and swollen fingers.
I see bruised hands where IVs and bloods draws were attempted and failed.
I see bandaged hands, where fingers were broken or hurt.
I see deformed hands and fingers, from arthritis, old age, and accidents.
I see beautiful, perfect baby hands, with little fingernails and tiny fingers.
I see shaking hands, from Parkinson’s or other tremor causing conditions.
I see hands clenched in anger at a situation.
I see hands swinging and agitated due to delirium or confusion.
I see (and feel) cold hands.
I see (and feel) warm hands.
I see people with one hand.
I see people missing fingers on their hands.
I see hands with good veins, and hands with bad veins.
I see hands outstretched just wanting someone to hold them for a little while.
I also see nurses’ hands.
And I know that I am biased, but I think that nurses have some of the most caring and capable hands in the world.
But every hand has a story.
And every hand has done something amazing.
And every hand is so unique it takes my breath away
(think of those individual fingerprints on each hand)
And when I look at my own hands I am reminded of this quote:

“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”  Martin Luther

And of the most Amazing Hands I have ever known:

 Then said He [Jesus to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger and behold My hands… and be not faithless, but believing.” John 20:27

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And I am thankful for the reminder of hands.

So next time you see someone, take a look at their hands. You don’t even have to be a nurse to observe hands.
And have fun imagining what they do every day.
What else are you going to do while waiting in line?

Daily Prompt: Right to Health: Words From a Caregiver

 

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How do you decide

How to fix a crisis

A problem so large

With so many wounds?

How do you choose?

Who is to pay?

When solutions to pain and suffering

Ethically,

Should have no barrier such as cost.

But cost remains and so we debate.

How do you decide?

About the pain

Before the ambulance ride

And the ER visit

And the workup

Only to realize,

Dollars and dollars and dollars later

The pain is only heartburn

And not a heart attack?

We discharge you,

And wish you a nice life.

You don’t have insurance?

Oh well.

We will get the money somewhere.

At least you are still alive.

We

Pour drugs and perform tests

Into those who don’t care

And will go home

To abuse their bodies again

And then return.

We

pour drugs and perform tests

Into those who do care

Who care deeply

Who will go home

Do everything we said

And still return.

We provide because we must

We are obligated

Because all life has worth

We have to care for the sick,

Even those who don’t care about themselves.

To not care would be barbaric

But still someone has to pay.

We see them all

Every day

Those with insurance

Those without

Those that pay

And those that don’t

Those with government programs

Those with private.

None of the above

Can pay for it all

You come in bleeding

And we wrap you up

Give you drugs

Give you blood

Give you supplies

Being sick is expensive.

But we’ll get you better

No matter the cost.

All I can say is

Maybe someday we will find

How we can make

Care for all

Meet cost affordable.

I don’t even know if it’s possible.

But as long as there is healthcare

If you come to us sick

We will find bandages

We promise to help you

And somehow

We will try healing

A few wounds at a time.

We’ll try to avoid

Thinking of the cost

And when we discharge you

We will say

Have a wonderful life

And mean it.

Even if we know

We might see you again.

Daily Prompt: Right to Health