There is a special group of people who I would like to thank. Recently, my wife and I went to the emergency room. As we made our way through the automatic doors, we were met by a security guard. “Are you a visitor or are you needing to be seen?” he asked.
“To be seen,” my wife and I answered. We were let through, and she and I made our way to the front desk. My wife and I are familiar with hospital operations and protocol and realized that they were currently on lockdown. We checked into a semi-crowded waiting room and sat waiting to be brought back.
During our wait, my wife and I witnessed numerous episodes of patients or patient family members displaying a level of rudeness that was deplorable. They complained, cursed, and argued with the front desk staff and at times with the nurses.
“I apologize for your wait, however, we have an ambulance and a life flight helicopter both with critical patients,” the nurse calmly explained to one irritated woman.
“I don’t care!” the woman responded. “We’ve been here for hours!” she continued.
“Again I apologize but--” the nurse began.
“Ah, hell, you guys always take forever!” the woman interrupted and began walking away. “I told you we should have gone to East ER,” she complained to a man as she flung herself down in a chair beside him.
I watched as the nurse took a deep, cleansing breath and called out the next person’s name.
There is quite a bit you could gather from this interaction but I want to focus on the positive.
First, the hospital was on lockdown, which is done for various reasons, however, always for everyone's safety and protection. Second, at no time did any of the hospital staff act unprofessionally. They stood, or in other cases, sat silent as people approached to complain about the wait and to insult the hospital. They allowed the person to vent their frustrations and would then calmly explain the situation and reason for the wait. We found out later that the ER department was also short-handed. My wife and I watched as the nurse came out to the waiting room and called the next patient.
“It’s about damn time,” the woman said, getting up from her chair. “Come on, let’s go before another damn ambulance decides to show up.”
The nurse smiled and said, “Come on in, and we’ll check your vitals and get you to a room so the doctor can take a look at you.”
I looked at my wife and said, “These people”--I was referring to the hospital staff--“don’t get paid enough.” For my part, I was admitted for a few days and got to know many of the nurses and a few different doctors. Each with their own life story. Stories filled with all the same ups and downs, struggles and triumphs that we all face, except...
Except that they, in the face of their own life events, chose to provide care to someone else in need. Someone who was a complete stranger, who in many instances, would be belligerent, rude, or even violent toward them or other staff.
I, for one, am extremely grateful to the medical community and their caring and kindness and would like to say thank you for all that you do.
--Solomon Powell, Kindness Instigator