Adventures in Healthcare

Alright, let’s get down to business. First, let’s talk about Friday’s post, which was published in good faith, meaning that I wholeheartedly believed that my mother would be released from the hospital that very day, and just in time for the weekend. After all, things had been going well all week – she was feeling OK and all of her tests were normal. Call it “luck” or Murphy’s Law, but two hours after I published my post, I got a phone call. It was my father calling to let me know that mom had another ‘episode’ (this is what we’ve been calling them because come on, ‘episode’ sounds better then ‘mild stroke.’ What the fuck is ‘mild’ about a stroke people!?  For REAL!). Needless to say that I was none too pleased with this news, and this is when what little patience I already had, began to wear thin. Mom had been in hospital for a week, had numerous blood tests, multiple ECGs and numerous CT scans – all of which yielded nothing. Umm, hello – MRI, anyone? I don’t know, but maybe you want to get that done before her fucking head (or heart) explodes? OK, I might be exaggerating a little with the exploding body parts bit.

On Sunday morning, mom had another ‘episode.’  By the time I arrived at the hospital, she was feeling better, while I was feeling more…. bitchy. Bitchy at the health care system, for not seeing the need to equip ALL hospitals with a fucking MRI – this is a basic piece of medical equipment, is it not? Yes, I am aware that it’s expensive, but perhaps instead of entertaining the possibility of building a new stadium, the government should focus its efforts on providing hospitals with the tools that they need in order to function. Had this particular hospital been equipped with an MRI, mom would have taken the test last week, and the cause of these asshole episodes would’ve been identified and treated. And she would have been released. Know what that means? It means that if she’d been released say, Wednesday, then the system pays for 3-4 days worth of treatment instead of nine. Yes, nine days of being in a hospital room, of being served three meals a day, of receiving care by nurses etc. I’m just sayin’…

So, after Sunday’s ‘episode,’ mom’s doctor confirmed that the MRI was scheduled for Monday. Finally! Now, amidst my bitching, I should mention that mom’s doctor has been amazing; she has been attentive and thorough with both her research and treatment, and refused to release mom until the cause of these ‘episodes’ was found. I understand that getting mom the MRI was more or less out of her hands – she insisted – the other hospital took their sweet time in approving the request. Probably because they’re assholes. Long story short, mom had her MRI and I am pleased (very, very) to report that there is no blood clot anywhere to be found. There had been some debate last week about whether or not these ‘episodes’ were “mild” strokes or Bell’s Palsy and the Neurologist confirmed that mom has BP…. and she has been having mild strokes as well. Couldn’t just be one or the other, eh? The good news is that BP is a virus that can be treated via medication, and the paralysis should therefore not be permanent (fingers crossed). As far as those damn ‘episodes’ go, mom will be undergoing additional heart tests. My unprofessional opinion is that she may have some kind of blockage that is preventing the blood vessels from bringing enough oxygen to her brain, hence the ‘episodes.’ I shall report back once we get the results! Oh yes, and mom was released on Monday and is very happy to be home. Welcome home mom!

Now, in an effort to lighten the mood and to demonstrate that I haven’t lost my talent for sarcasm and wit, I’m going to share a few interesting hospital-related incidents that we encountered while mom was there. Let us begin:

Le Joufflu (loosely translated: The Chubster):
While dad sat in the ER last week, he observed a rather large gentleman walking past him. OK, let’s be honest, the guy was very, very large. Anyway, dad says to the fellow next to him “I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.” The fellow leans over, with a pensive look, his hand covering his mouth, and says “I wonder how long it takes for someone to get that big?” As he seemed to be giving this a lot of thought, dad could only assume that his neighbor really wanted the answer to this question.

Look at My Wee-Wee:

While mom was in the Observation unit, she took a walk to stretch her legs; as she was walking along, minding her own business, a young gentleman ran toward her anxiously shouting ‘Madame!” Mom found herself face-to-face with a guy wearing no pants, and who promptly tugged out his little friend and said “Regardez! J’ai un beau penis! Trouvez-vous?!” Loosely translated: “Hey lady! Look! I have a nice penis, don’t you think!?” Need I say more?

Musical Beds:
While in hospital for a period of 8 days, mom was transferred several times. First, she was in the Observation unit in the ER. Try sleeping amidst all of that chaos. Then she was moved to the Surgery ward, which was particularly enjoyable because not only does no one sleep on this ward, but the lights never go out, the doctors and nurses are in and out every 5 minutes and it was so fucking hot in there, that the windows were actually open. Side note: This is a very effective way to cut down on hospital costs don’t you think? But wait, I’m not finished! Mom also had the pleasure of having a room right next to the Psych ward and in Geriatrics. Good times!

The Crooner:
In Geriatrics, there was a woman across the hallway from mom’s room. This woman moaned incessantly – it was like she was on a timer or something. No, I am not oblivious to the fact that she was quite possibly in pain (for real – unless she was faking, which is a possibility); however, the fact that the nurses were not very sympathetic toward her leads me to believe that she exagerated her level of pain on a regular basis. It was obvious by their (the nurses’) demeanor, that this woman was a pain in the ass. In addition to the moaning (and bitching), this woman also cursed out the nurses (“Ayoye calisse! Tu m’fais mal!” Translation: “Ouch fuck! You’re hurting me!”). This lead to the head nurse telling the old woman off – she informed her that the nurses were trying to help her, and that she shouldn’t be giving them shit – only she (head nurse) could give them shit! OK? Fuck!  Lastly, besides the moaning, cursing and complaining, this old woman also screamed out random names at 5 a.m. every morning: “Pierre!” “Patrice!” “Monsieur! “Mademoiselle!”

Elvis is in the Building:
Up the hall from mom was a guy who, by all appearances, just wasn’t right in the head. To ensure that he didn’t run away or escape, the nurses had a big piece of yellow foam blocking his doorway. Right, because he can’t just push it out of the way, remove it altogether, or simply crawl under it to get out. In any case, every time I walked by his room, he was standing in front of the mirror combing his hair, or sprawled out on his bed. He had a full head of hair and it was quite voluminous in a Grease Lightning sort of way. On two occasions, as I walked by, I had the shit scared out of me – Elvis liked to sporadically shout “Tabarnac! J’chu beau!” (Translation: “Fuck! I look good!”). Well alright then.

The Runaways:

Rumor has it that patients try to escape this hospital on a regular basis. I don’t really get that, because the nurses and doctors seem perfectly normal and I didn’t see anyone beating on the patients. Also, it’s not a mental institution. Surely this was just silly gossip. Nope! In one day, two patients managed to pack an extra set of pajamas and make for the hills. Out they went, made it to the parking lot in their PJs and slippers, in the rain and snow. Where they were going, no one knows. I would also like to add that these two patients tried to escape at different times – they didn’t know each other!

The Cadillac:
Mom had her own room, and this room had a bathroom. A bathroom with a toilette bowl. Despite this, she was not allowed to use the toilette. Instead, she was told to use this contraption on wheels – basically a chair with a plastic bin under it – to pee and poop in. Then, each time she did her business, she had to ring for a nurse, who would magically appear to empty said bin, into the aforementioned toilet bowl. What. the. fuck. Mom called it her Cadillac. I’m still trying to figure out why she couldn’t use the toilette!

All this to say that I left that place wondering what the hell kind of institution they were running – what with patients escaping, others randomly  whipping out their junk and the forbidden toilette bowl situation, it’s a miracle this place hasn’t been converted into an asylum yet!


The Cadillac sort of looked like this - except the seat was leather, and the plastic bin was square. Also, the chair was all white with leather armrests!


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16 thoughts on “Adventures in Healthcare

  1. LMAO!!!!! Oh lord how I miss working in the medical field. Personally i would have opted for the room next to the psych ward. Entertainment for hours plus I’d fit right in 😉 I use to love having to pick up (or drop off) psych patients. It was never a dull moment.

    I do believe that Mr Elvis was a sign from above (or below) that you must take a trip to Vegas soon. I’ll even scream “Tabarnac! J’chu beau!” to make you feel more at home!

  2. I’m glad your Mum is home and on the road to recovery.

    I guess this was your first foray into the hospital system. You poor lass…it’s a big shock, isn’t it?

    I spent most of my teen years and 20’s in every single hospital in Montreal and Ottawa with my Mum. I saw the same people you saw and eventually, I didn’t notice them anymore. I don’t know what it is about the Adult health care system, but it’s broken.

    I feel for your Mum having to try sleeping in that atmosphere. I once spent a week on a gurney in the ER at the Jewish, waiting for a room. Worst week of my life – but, looking at the bright side, I learned a LOT about people that week.

    Hospital is no place to be if you’re looking for quiet and rest.

    I’m lucky in that I work in the Pediatric side of things. It’s VERY different here. They seem to act differently around kids. Not better, just different.

    Hopefully you’ll never have to see as many hospitals as I did.

    My best to your Mum.

    P.S. I could tell you the technicalities of why she had to use the Commode, but really, it’s not that interesting.

    P.P.s ALso, ‘J’chu beau’ will be stuck in my head all day. CALISSE!

    • LOL, yes, that guy was very focused on his hair and looking hot. I heard him curse at himself and tell himself he looked good on numerous occasions!

      Definitely not; obviously one doesn’t go to the hospital to rest!

      J’chu belle tabarnac!

  3. LMAO. I love hospitals, they make for hours of entertainment. Glad to hear mom came home and hope she’s getting back to her normal soon.
    Now as far as the wee wee goes, I thought that’s just what you did in a hospital. Where else do they force you to take your pants off and run around half naked. To answer your toilette question. Staff have to measure/monitor her “out put”. Don’t you wish you had that job.

    • Thank you. Now if we can get the source of these “mild strokes” sorted, all will be 100% better.

      In addition to whipping it out, he was also screaming his ass off – did I mention that he had police escorts and was also tied down at some point? Good times!

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