It's Friday, and that means fun story time.
Today's story is not about yours truly, who has managed to stay out of the hospital since surgery, thankyouverymuch. It's about my mom, who went under for surgery yesterday.
And may I just take a second to remark that it's so much more fun to collect hospital stories as a visitor/friend/advocate than as a patient. (Here's my impression of my hospital stay back in December)
They wheeled my mom into her spacious private hospital room. She was fairly woozy, but happy to be out of the recovery room, where she told me the other patient had been moaning (a low, growling moan) f0r about an hour. Within a minute an attractive nurse in bright pink scrubs enters. She surveys the room, my mom, me and my dad, and picks up the chart.
She begins to ask my mom the usual "Welcome to the hospital, are you in pain/are you nauseous/do you want ice chips" questions. Her speech is fairly clear, except for the harder consonants, which are muddled, and I immediately realize: she's deaf.
In my non-patient humble opinion, I think it's fantastic that a deaf person is a nurse. She reads lips incredibly well. But for my mom, this isn't the best situation.
Because my mom is also deaf, and she left her hearing aids at home.
My mom has a degenerative disease that affects her hearing. Because she's been losing it slowly over the last thirty years, she hasn't learned sign language. She can understand people for the most part, when she has her hearing aids on, but the nurse's muddled consonants confuse her.
At one point a woman comes in with cleaning supplies and starts disinfecting all the counter tops in the room. Immediately my mom freaks out and asks for a cloth to put over her nose and mouth (apparently cleaning solvents are very bothersome when you've just left surgery) (Also, I'm quite sure the room should have been cleaned before my mom was actually in it, but I digress).
So my mom is laying there holding the blanket over her mouth, trying to talk to the nurse, who now can't read her lips, and they're both looking at me to interpret. It's the deaf leading the deaf, except they can't communicate. This strikes me as a pretty amusing irony.
Aside from the deaf nurse, they had a nifty e-prescribing system, where the tech scans both the patient's hospital bracelet and the medication before administering. The tech wheels around a little cart with a laptop attached. It's quite mobile, and I was very impressed.
And can I just say that ever since I got in to health policy, I'm a total nerd at doctors/hospitals. I'm like a detective taking note of everything I see, and I get excited by e-prescribing systems. My family must think I'm crazy...