Monday, July 29, 2013

Health care can be a religious experience

As I noted in the previous post, patients from around the world write to tell me of their hospital experiences.  It seems that each one offers a series of lessons.  But truly, I am not sure what the lesson is from this story except that we should try to maintain a good sense of humor!

The experience was not so fun at the time, but I look back now and laugh. Over the past three years I have battled repeat episodes of sudden cardiac arrest. In September 2010, I spent 10 days in the heart hospital here in Columbus. One morning at 4:30, the nurse woke me up abruptly to draw my blood in preparation for early rounds. Of course, I was less than thrilled to be woken up after a restless night, attached to wires, machines, in pain. She missed the vein the first three tries, removing the same needle twice from my arm, then diving back in. I watched in horror as she used the same needle. On the fourth try she dug deep and caused considerable pain. I jerked my arm without thinking and said, "Jesus Christ, that hurt!". The nurse scowled. I expected her to tell me she felt sorry, or that she didn't mean to hurt me. Rather, I got, "Oh no, you don't take the Lord's name in vain!" I'm Jewish. At the time, I thought I had landed in a Woody Allen film and was being held captive for having a Rabbi. 

No comments: