I try to give professionals – heck, persons in general – the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I do. I have my first episode with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome to back that claim up with evidence and proof.
Surviving St Mary, aka: Saturday, July 15th, 2017.
I was a patient with no professional or business relationships involving this institution. Therefore, I’m going to leave a sarcastic, rude, awful review of my oh-so-charming experience at St Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, ON.
My only positive remark will be stated right now, right here: The blood technician is the only one who stands out to me as a decent health care worker. The rest I could brush aside as doing their jobs under regular ER pressures. But there was this nurse. And this nurse is the biggest triggering reason why I’mma lay this shit down. Maybe catharsis will help me out and I can sleep without nightmares tonight. :)
Triggers: Hospital. Emergency Room. High risk for being assaulted – which thankfully didn’t happen. Mental health patients likely know what I’m talking about, except there’s a huge glaring issue here. I wasn’t checked in for psychiatric symptoms.
I was referred to paramedics by Telehealth Ontario because I described pain issues unlike what I had before. They focused on my strange chest pain. As someone with mitral valve prolapse and family history of heart disease including death by heart attack under age 50, I wanted advice and I now regret making that call. Akari’s wifi and data decided at that moment to go completely dead.
Looking forward to my ambulance bill, charging me for the inability to do everything for myself by myself. I hope I never have to ask for help from this hospital again, and I wasn’t there with my verified awareness. The entire time, I thought the paramedics took me to Grand River Hospital, where I know how to make it back to my apartment with relative safety since I’m more familiar with that area. I know nothing about the area where St Mary’s is located. I went once with father and a cousin, but that was stark daylight and in a minivan. Cousin was armed with GPS, father has honed instincts for directions and driving. I had eyelid infections, couldn’t see well enough to memorize landmarks.
Not a soul bothered to say where I was or ask me these specific standardized awareness and memory diagnostic questions, “Do you know where you are? Do you know what day it is today?” I would’ve said “no” to both had someone asked. I had no objective idea where I was. I could comprehend barely more than half the words I presume are coming out of your mouths.
Doesn’t help that my mind was so far gone by painful and laboured breathing; hardly understood questions tossed at me to extract specific information for assessment. I wanted my body to give up already so I wouldn’t have to endure this on top of so much else. That thought was solid in my faded mental capabilities while inside the ambulance headed to “The Hospital.” Except I don’t have the will nor honest desire to self-harm or suicide. I just don’t. I’m too resilient to be sucked into a black hole of despair, and I’m consistently self-aware and lucid to know when I’m too near that event horizon. So it ain’t happening, sorry.
Native language is English, folks. Lived in Canada for 29 years. Canadian citizen longer than the new kids on the postsecondary block were alive. Graduate student at one of your city’s universities. I pay and file my taxes as my responsibilities ask of me.
Don’t bullshit me like this. I was completely dependent on you to help me, and I left thinking I made a terrible mistake. Worst part? Loss of trust, loss of warmth. loss of respect, loss in my bank account because of the ambulance bill. Gained fear, more distress, increased determination to do everything myself – which a few of you claimed that this viewpoint significantly contributed to the physical symptoms that summoned your care.
Okay, heads up everyone. Signs when you gotta GTFO before you’re ordered to GTFO:
- No word is given to you where you’re being held for medical examinations.
- You’re in mismatched pajamas, no bra, house shoes, and a flimsy cardigan to ward off nipple seekers and the cold. That’s of no concern to these health professionals.
- You’re praying it’s daylight because neighbouring students have worse behaviours at night. Police don’t care, and they already told you so.
- “It’s your sole fault if you’re harmed. You wanna fight? We’ll knock you down so hard, you won’t ever open your trap again.” – Abuse Culture
- Starving you and give you nothing to drink. Despite blood work and being admitted before your stomach was granted the miraculous powers of the first meal in your day.
- Hiding your crying, frightened, pain-stricken face with your stall’s curtains.
- Keep your noisy waterworks down. Clench your mouth shut because silence is golden.
- Whimpering for hours before someone notices your efforts to communicate long enough to listen to your bathroom request.
- Never demand, you’re only permitted to request and even then, that’s up to nurses’ discretion. They have the power here, this is Their House, In the Middle of Their Residential Area. You’re at their utter mercy, pathetic leech.
- A technician says your body is cold but ain’t no nurse willing to give you a blanket. Use your body heat when your cardigan and top aren’t enough for your extremities.
- No one bothers to ask you if someone knows where you are.
- You can’t contact a trusted person because then you commit the sin of Bothering the ER Staff.
- They’re not checking who your emergency contact is, don’t get your hopes up that they’ll call that person for you. You’re not worth it, girl-child in a woman’s body, clutching your brown bunny plushie for stability. The woman next to you is worth it, and the woman on your other side already had someone with her.
- Your request for a sandwich is a torture ritual for these folks.
- Earn your sandwich by promising to leave immediately after you rip off the second set of ECG stickers they pasted on you in same spot. By yourself, with nothing to soothe your screaming skin. Rip those off right now, no time to peel gently.
- You refused Tylenol? Then you can’t be in pain. They clearly have no idea what Stevens-Johnson Syndrome can be like. You managed to follow the ER etiquette and prescribed patient manners, so they won’t believe you that you’re in a lot of distress and in pain.
- At this point, lie about your pain. They’re not willing to acknowledge your idiosyncratic medical profile and/or history, so anything you utter contrary to their Professional Assessment is an excuse and attention-seeking. They don’t care that you’re too frightened by their ignorant cruelty to do anything besides nurse-pleasing. Not people-pleasing, that’s cakewalk compared to this. Nurse-pleasing isn’t sugary and this is your BODY at their discretion. Lie and agree with everything they say, because you will be shredded if you resist or speak up for yourself. Fake it until you make it outta there into the same situations that forced you into Hospital Hell in the first place. Oh well, life’s unfair, eh?
- You’re dizzy, disoriented, confused, and panicking. You’re told to go look for that elusive bus stop on your own. You’ll figure out your location once you’re outside, she said.
- “Call your family doctor, and please return if you’re in need again!” In other words, don’t show your face there ever again. They got 99 problems and you can’t be one.
- Goodnight, sleep tight, be good and maybe you won’t be assaulted while wandering around Kitchener tonight~? :D
- Get off their property. That’s the second security guard making it obvious that they’re keeping an eye on your freezing, crying, frightened and bewildered ass taking up space on a bench outside.
- Oh right, you have Akari! Call your boyfriend now that you can use a phone. Evidently, he’s been scared for hours because when he last heard from you, you were asking him for the Telehealth Ontario number to find out if you should go to a hospital.
- You gotta wait a half hour. If his guardian holds him back longer, then he’s gonna take a hell of a lot longer because he’ll be walking. On the bright side, that’s some OP commitment. You didn’t hit the one-year anniversary mark just yet. Whoa.
- Be sure to respond to his status update requests of your current situation as he’s being White Fang bolting from Lip-Lip & Co. to reach you. Dude knows you’re too vulnerable to do anything for yourself except fetal position for warmth and finishing the sandwich you earned. Water still not an option yet.
- Of course he’s frightened and stressed out. Your circumstances could get uglier and more perilous quickly, and he’s angry with himself and people who behave like you’re The Monster. You’re wondering if he gave any thought to his safety, but girl, hold that thought there and don’t you guilt trip yourself. Appreciate, not criticize. This is dangerous for you both. Trust. Cooperate. And GTFO as soon as he’s got you. Huggles when you’re not in a risky situation. GTFO NAO.
Don’t bother ER staff. It’s the biggest unwritten rule in hospitals. Never EVER bother ER staff unless someone else is dead and you’re absolutely sure. So really, keep quiet. Being seen and not heard is key for decent relations.
This is a Catholic hospital. Dante and Virgil were here. You have been sent to Hospital Hell by vice of your inability to do all your healthcare by yourself. You shall BURN, baby, BURN.
Just remember, listen to that nurse. You’re not important or worthy of professional care. If you’re dead, oh well? One less body to take precious, strained resources. Nurse knows best! :D
Seriously. Just GTFO. If you leave by your own judgment, you aren’t as humiliated. You’re offending people with your presence, but at least you handed them the proverbial pink slip instead of being fired. It would feel just a wee bit better! =D
ALL THE SARCASM, all of it. I’m not smiling. It’s after 9am and I couldn’t sleep from nightmares and desperately trying to shut my mind off from that awful experience. Catharsis, help a bun out?
Maybe that nurse was having a bad day. I don’t know. What I learned was that real living people went through similar terrors. It’s not sensationalistic. This shit happens.
Ontarians were complaining for decades about resource management in our healthcare system. Been in this scene since PM Brian Mulroney. Can we hold back on pointing blame and poking fun at Americans for a breather regarding healthcare policies, and actually COLLABORATE TO SOLVE OUR *OWN* PROBLEMS? I hope trendy American bashers understand that whipping around “free healthcare” isn’t precise. You say “free” and it comes across as “free lunch,” not “free” as in the right to access. Our healthcare isn’t a “free lunch.” It’s funded, meaning money comes from somewhere. If you want to brag and boast about our healthcare, earn that authoritative voice by listening to the sufferers who fall through its cracks, and try learning about how we sustain and maintain our beloved system. I believe it’s a wonderful ideal, but it’s not perfection. Let’s face the realities and acknowledge its weaknesses too. Let’s make it better than what it is, because striving for the ideal isn’t wrong in itself. What’s wrong is remaining ignorant to how it isn’t ideal, no matter how we pretend.
Thank you, Andrei, for risking yourself to be sure I was safely inside my apartment. Thank you for huggles, for patience, for steadying an extremely vulnerable and re-traumatized me, for lighthearted teasing and conversation, for being calm and grounded despite all the fuckery and dangers of passing through Downtown Kitchener that late on a Saturday night.
Thank you for not letting me dwell upon the warning signs everywhere we were forced to walk; for retaining my lucidity as various scents, sights, tastes, and sounds assaulted my senses; for reminding me that you’re here with me as groups call/holler at us and comment with disgusting remarks. Thank you for making sure I had easy means to my first taste of water and more food when we arrived safely enough. Thank you for helping me ease into my space and checking on me before you went to sleep and in the morning, as you try to do.
Thank you for pushing yourself hard to reach me earlier than your presumed ETA, thank you for being here despite my established supports flickering or fading.
Thank you for your sincerity in helping me, and most of all, thank you for your honesty and communicating as assertively as you could despite the burdens of your fears, exhaustion, and being overwhelmed too.