Monday, 26 February 2007

An Apology

The Preamble:

I know public hospitals are stuffed. I know emergency rooms are often like little wheels in which medical staff hamsters run ceaselessly for an entire shift. I know nurses are generally overworked, underpaid and underappreciated.

The But:


The Rant, in letter of apology form:

Dear nursing and administrative staff at my local hospital:

I’m sorry my baby boy had the temerity to develop a high temperature and a mysterious rash out of hours last Thursday night. Should he lack the consideration to present symptoms of out-of-the-ordinary illness at a more convenient time again, I’ll wait the extra nine hours until my GP opens before I seek some medical attention for my vulnerable child, assuming, of course, that I can snag an appointment without having the foresight to make one two weeks in advance.

I’m sorry Master Lonie vomited all over me when I dutifully forced down his throat the dose of Panadol you gave us in triage. It must have been a chore to fetch me a hospital gown to wear instead of my spew-covered tee-shirt, and then not watch me clean everything up.

I’m sorry I felt it was for the best to see a doctor anyway despite your dismissal of Master Lonie’s welted rash over a large part of his little body as ‘probably just mosquito bites.’ I must remember to switch off my maternal instincts so I can be as blasé about the health and wellbeing of my children as a disinterested stranger.

I’m sorry I didn’t realise there was an after-hours locum service attached to the hospital that we could have utilised instead of spoiling the austerity of your near-empty emergency room with our presence. I’ll be sure to hone my mind-reading skills for the next time I require such psychic ability.

I’m sorry we cluttered up your waiting area for over five hours. It must really have been difficult for you to gossip and read magazines while we were sitting quietly and patiently, good-naturedly waiting our turn and being absolutely no trouble whatsoever.

I’m sorry we occupied one of your several empty beds in the room we were eventually shown into. Rest assured, when I track down all the non-existent and more deserving patients we deprived of a bed, I’ll humbly beg their forgiveness too. I completely understand that, as a Category Five (lowest priority) case who, in your omniscient judgement, was just using the public hospital emergency room as a free General Practice consultation, we were out of line to expect you to take half a second out of your quiet night for a friendly hello, instead of a silent glare.

I’m sorry we stayed around like an unpleasant odour for another two-and-a-half hours. How rude of me to let the busy doctor see to his other patients instead of demanding his undivided attention! I confess it was a ploy to allow us to enjoy the luxurious comfort of the hospital, so superior to being back in our own house, for as long as we could.

I’m sorry I had to leave the hospital during Master Lonie’s period of observation, in order to purchase a parking ticket for my car. It was avaricious of me to wish to avoid a parking fine during the very reasonable paid-parking hours of 6:30 am and 9:00 pm. I do apologise for having to ask you to let me back through the security door – it must have cost you a great effort to interrupt your chatter and press a button.

I’m sorry I had the gall to politely enquire whether I might return the borrowed hospital gown later that day, after I’d replaced my dirty top. Fortunately, your brusque reply, “It doesn’t matter if you do or you don’t!” helped me to realise my grievous error.

In summary, I’m so terribly terribly sorry that my son’s illness intruded on your important work in providing health care. I can only hope that, should you ever be in a similar situation, you are treated with the same kindness and courtesy you showed me.

Yours sincerely,

Lonie Polony


redcap said...

Oh dear. How awful for you. I hope the little guy's all right now!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear - I do know what you mean. Is he OK? They spend all that time publicising symptoms of different illnesses like meningitis and then get annoyed when people actually take them up on it. How about "I am sorry that I read your publicity leaflets - I now realise they were just for entertainment and not meant to be taken seriously"

Nellie said...

You did well to maintain your politeness, Lonie. What a frustrating situation: all the maternal instincts screaming "take my child's symptoms seriously you fu*kers, before I kill someone", balanced with the knowledge that such an approach would get you nowhere except treated with even more contempt.

I envy you not.

Hope the little fella's OK now and back to his tricks.

How many weeks now? Four?

Lonie Polony said...

:) thanks for the wellwishing everyone, Master Lonie seems to be okay now after finally sleeping off the temperature and still-mysterious hives yesterday.

Lol Mutley, my thoughts exactly. After the recent meningococcal scare campaign along the lines of 'one day your baby could appear fine, the next he could be dead', and various reports of hospital cock-ups, they can't seriously expect concerned parents to be fobbed off so easily.

Nellie, I now understand the need for security glass and armed guards in the emergency room. And yes, four weeks :( Guess I'd better start the little fella on formula...:(((

Anonymous said...

How is your claim against the estate of Anna Nicole Smith going? If its good I am in the market again...

Food Kitty said...

Lonie -I'm sorry if my last post offended you (?you deleted it)
I'm certain it wasn't meant to be rude..apologies if it seemed like that.

Lonie Polony said...

OH NO Foodkitty! I certainly didn't delete anything of yours - I never saw it! Please don't feel bad. Feel free to repeat your comment =)

Mutley - you're on the market? No! really? I thought your heart was taken?

Food Kitty said...

good-o. It was something smartarse, but nicely.

I got my armchair analyst out and thought you still really had problems expressing your rage - you need an outlet girl!! Maybe you should blog your angst tee hee.

Nellie said...

hey Lonie, did you see the letter to Ed in Mercury today from another pissed off parent?
Seems you're not alone in feeling frustrated at the lack of service @ the Royal.

Pete Aldin said...

How stuffed is our society when the helping professionals ... don't.

Lonie Polony said...

I know...but I try and remind myself to be grateful that I have access to good (sometimes!) medical care and can afford it.