THE INFIRMARY DIARIES

sta_rosa_bigI used to have an insufferable allergy to hospitals. Not that it has caused me trauma in the past. It’s just that I have known that hospitals are for the sick and the dying and that people who run hospitals are greedy monsters who never cared about anything but to rip patients off their hard earned money. I think the traditional Filipino movies have made me gone under that impression. I didn’t realise that hospitals were not just business establishments. There were not just concrete edifices constructed to confine the sick and the dying. There were not filled with greedy monsters ripping patients off.

Hospitals are institutions to serve humanity and to reach a noble goal… serve humanity. They were established with so much zest for the continuity of life. They are sturdy brick walls and concrete storeys of shelter and healing for those who need to get back in shape. Hospitals are not just beds and linens and people in white and scrub suits. They are, in a surreal way of looking at it, a comfort zone.

My mother and I found comfort in this bit of the city we live in. It doesn’t sound so good when you look at it subjectively because that would mean additional and unexpected expenses for the family finances, which may sometimes cause a little disagreement among family members, not to mention the fact that the reason you came to the hospital is that you are sick. But then again, who am I to misjudge the kind of comfort that maybe she and absolutely I found here.

Every bit of thing in this hospital makes me feel good despite the difficulties both mom and I are experiencing. The bed that lifts your leg and reclines your upper body, the pillows, linens and couches show that they care about your comfort while you are being treated. The television set entertains you in a probably very difficult situation. The empty fridge only makes you feel that you’ve got all the chances in the world to fill it up with food and beverages to make sure you don’t starve while confined. The trash bin and the waste segregation scheme, the antiseptics and sterile equipment assures you that there is no room for contamination and infection in this place. The intercom buzzer gives you that feeling that there is always someone who can immediately attend to your health care needs. That oxygen tank helps you breathe easily.

Intensive Care Units were put up to take care of those who needed more attention. The operating room were there to salvage what’s left of the damage created by the illness. Emergency rooms were there to assure us of the immediate attention to each case of illness we come there for. The hallways are there to give us room to breathe when we feel too exhausted and to even let us meet people, be cordial and eventually be friendly with them. The lobby… ah, not just for the free wireless internet frequency access but the lobby just tells us that we are welcome to visit the patients who are being treated in those hospitals.

Doctors are not just professionals. They are noblemen. They devoted several years of their academic life to study about saving lives and making sure that everyone is safe from the harms of any possible illness. Surgeons make sure that every thing is in place and functioning properly. My cousin was right when I once heard him that becoming a doctor is public service. One should look beyond the wealth that this profession might give them but instead foresee how many people’s lives will change and be safe because of their help. There should be no amount that could reciprocate to the kind of service that these men of medicine provide regardless of a patient’s capacity to pay. Doctors treat their patients in this bit equally. No race, gender nor age is even important when duty calls them to cure and save lives.

The whole hospital staff is not just a company of people running a business. They have roles to fulfil in our lives as patients, guests and guardians. They were not hired. The hospital staff were discriminately chosen to help us in our needs. They were carefully interviewed and placed where they are now to willingly serve us. People in the hospital billing team were put there to graciously accommodate out enquiries regarding the current account status of our patients. They were there to explain how things happen should we fail to provide them a partial payment. They can tactfully let you know of how it affects everyone. The laboratory people are there to make sure that the tests are accurate and that there is no room for mistakes. There have studied well to know that one erroneous laboratory procedure can cost someone’s life. The orderlies, the linen woman, the food tray chap, they are there to assist and work with every one to give us all the comfort that we need and make us feel that hospitals are somewhat a home away from home.

Nurses… I used to antagonise a lot of them due to my stupid prejudice that they are indeed dispensable. True enough, with the number of students who graduated in the nursing school, about 10 registered nurses would kill for a position left by someone who resigned or got fired. But the whole mom-having-to-be-confined-thing changed everything. Nurses are very hardworking. You cannot hear them complain how heavy the patient that they had to carry. You won’t see it in their faces that they are tired from an eight hour duty… lest require them to work on a double shift. Each time some volunteer or a staff nurse knocks on a patient’s door, the smile and the cordial greeting will always be there. Nurses take all the time and effort to let the guardian and the patient know what everything is all about… from the single drop of that IV to the increase and decrease of oral medicines that the patient has to take. I have considered the nurses in this bit where my mom and I are right now close to my heart. I could only remember the names of a few but all of them have been really gracious from the first time that we were here and now, after a month, that we had to be back. I admire and thank them so much for having done a great deal of looking after my mom and making sure that her condition gets better. They couldn’t be friendlier than ever.

This is what hospitals are all about. Having a heart for people and having a zest for life. I often audaciously wish to be very rich so I could put up an institution like this of my own… if it’s too costly for that, I should at least be rich enough to get my mom a suite in this infirmary so that she could be well taken care of and her medical needs be perfunctorily be attended.

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