REALITY CHECK: Hospitals are too much fun to waste on the sick

Reality Check | Mike Taylor

You might expect it to be unpleasant; a place where people shoot you full of drugs and remove your innards. I’ve got to admit, it sounds unpleasant; not the sort of destination one would choose for a first date.

And yet my visit last week to Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville was, despite lots of drugs and the removal of at least one organ I’d grown fond of, kinda nice.

Oh, sure, when I first slogged my crippled carcass into the emergency room, I was in unbelievable pain. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was an 11. And a half.

Now, the ladies at admitting could have compelled me to stand there answering critical questions about my health, such as, “How much money do you have in your wallet right now?” and, “Which relative are you closest to, in case we have to kidnap someone in order to force you to pay your bill on time?”

They didn’t do that. Instead, they slapped me on a gurney, gave me something for the pain and hooked me up to several little machines that pinged in a comforting manner to assure me I had not yet died. Within minutes, I was feeling better; not good, but better.

In no time, a pretty young P.A., Jennifer, was poking and prodding, asking questions and answering them. It took her five minutes to hazard a guess as to what was wrong with me; an ultrasound and other testing later proved her right.

Turns out my gall bladder was roughly the size of Donald Trump’s combover, more inflamed than the throat of Vesuvius, and long overdue for extraction. This task fell to Dr. Amparo. A gifted surgeon, Amparo’s schedule was already crowded, but she took my case on anyway, and didn’t give short shrift to assuaging my irrational fears before expertly removing the offending organ.

A couple days later, I was discharged and am now recuperating nicely.

Along the way I met nurses Marsha, Jan, Tim, Amber, Amy, Holly and Annie. I met Jacob, a nurse’s aide and one of the most professional and friendly young guys I’ve ever spoken with. If he ever runs for president, he’s got my vote, though his haircut suggests he may be a Republican. Anesthesiologist Dr. Weaver and patient access specialist Jamie also crossed my path.

That’s a lot of folks; you would think at least one or two of ‘em would be jerks, especially considering they were forced to deal, hour after hour, with a whiny crybaby (ahem, me). But nope. Every single one of them was Tony the Tiger “Grrrreeeat!”

Even the girl who came around to discuss my bill (which nearly sent me into a coma) was kind, considerate, professional and willing to explain repeatedly that, yes, the decimal point actually WAS supposed to be that far to the right.

At any rate, despite my reason for being there, my stay at the hospital was, all-in-all, a pretty good time. So much so, in fact, that I’m considering a new business venture; hospitals for the well; wellspitals.

Wellspitals would offer all the amenities of a traditional hospital — beds that adjust electrically, wall-mounted TV, room service, legal drugs, friendly, helpful staff — but all geared toward clients who are feeling just fine.

Scheduled activities would still consist exclusively of lying around in bed while others wait on you. Every so often, you might be asked to shuffle around the hallways for a minute, just to keep your lungs clear. Otherwise, it’s all loafing, sleeping and lollygagging. I especially like the lollygagging.

I figure that, by eliminating the medical care part of the deal, I’ll be able to keep prices fairly low, at least when compared with a traditional hospital.

I figure, why should sick people have all the fun? Get your reservations in now. Most major insurers honored.

Leave a Comment