Smokers outside the hospital doors

I want to point out that as I was leaving the hospital Tuesday, there WERE smokers outside the doors. I was doubly amused by this as signs are posted all over the place declaring that the hospital is a “smoke-free campus.” Yet, no more than 100 yards from the main entrance, a small island had been set up with lounge chairs and one of those giant smokeless ashtrays. Priceless.

Mumsy has a long history of medical ailments that range from suicide attempts to diabetes to having cancer of the vulva (and beating it) to neuropathy in her legs that severely restrict her movements. (And there is, of course, more ailments and maladies afoot.) She is (or was) in so much pain with her arthritis that she could, literally, only get from her bed to her chair in the living room and back again. She would get up for food stuff and bathroom breaks, but anything beyond that was taxing and painful. It got to the point that any care she could get into the house (therapist, hairdresser, doctors); she did over seeing them in their office.

Then she decided she wanted to have her left hip replaced.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; hip and knee replacements are common place now. But with her diabetes, chronic health problems plus being overweight, she was a poor choice for the surgery. In reality, hip replacement has become her only option as pain management wasn’t clearly working and she was becoming, quite literally, glued to her favorite chair due to lack of movement. But also in reality, her health and decision to get said hip replacement is such a poor choice that I had to cart her around to a battery of doctors for a few weeks to get the clearance that eventually lead up to her surgery on Tuesday.

Mumsy is currently ensconced at Metro Health Hospital, the new hospital on the far south side of town that also happens to be LEED certified. But it is not the greenness of the hospital that impressed me, it is the overwhelming non-hospital feel that impressed me. So much so, I want to move in.

See, I’ve grown up around hospitals — Mumsy was a nurse for nearly 40 years as was my grandmother and great-grandmother. Two of my aunts have worked or currently work in the medical field as LPNs. Thus going to hospitals, for whatever reason, doesn’t bother me. I feel comfortable there, almost at home you could even say. But what I’m used to is the sterile, “hospital-esque” feel of most hospitals, the almost inhumane, impersonal feeling towards the sick coupled with the sickly green walls, paper-thin johnnies, and terrible food.

Not Metro South. It is not only “eco-consciousness” that has aroused the donors of this palace of the sick, but homeyness and technology. The whole place is done up in a pleasing pallets of trendy neutrals, not just beige and grey but sand and silver with touches of deep color for impact. Zen fountains, open yards, and a cascading waterfall dominate the interior. A coffee bar greets you on the way in and the “greeters” masquerading as security guards greet you with warmth as you saunter on through the front entrance. Mumsy was pre-registered several days before her operation, but everything is done with barcodes now! Every step of the registration on the day of her surgery to her final check out in a few days is completed with barcodes imprinted on her wrist bracelet. Careful of contamination and possible patient foul play, hospital staff instruct her to ask questions, to ask anyone touching her to verify they have washed their hands and to make sure they ask her name and date of birth to register it is she. The barcodes are not enough, however, as verbal agreement must also be made to indicate she is who she is. And she has every right, she is told, to deny treatment if she doesn’t understand what she is getting.

The entire hospital is wired with wifi, which made my stay for the day seamless. I browsed the internets while I ate in the Metro Cafe and later while in the guest lounge and in Mumsy’s private room. There were, of course, some restrictions to various websites and slowness during my nearly nine hour encampment at Metro South, but overall, mostly everything worked and I was mostly happy.

The Metro Cafe serves bistro style food, had a nice spread and was fairly cheap; while surprisingly did not taste like hospital food. Everyone was uber polite, gracious, and exuded warmth. Personally, I could not imagine myself employed in an environment full of eternal Pollyannas, but hey, the schitck works.

We were at the hospital by 7:30 A.M. and Mumsy was in the O.R. by 9. They gave me a pager to keep with me so that I could roam the hospital while she was under and her status of where she was (Pre-OP, OR, Recovery, Room) was tracked on a giant airplane board. After she left recovery, she was wheeled to her private room on the third floor, where I would later join her.

Mumsy’s private room is, to put it succintly, DA BOMB SHIZ! Huge, wall mounted, flat screen television with almost every channel available with Tivo like features and to boot, over 100 movies available on-demand. Room service, literally, that she could order any time she liked, as much as she liked during her stay. Menu was all bistro style, with obvious dietary control icons but otherwise pretty tasty. Comfy bed, nice seating arrangements for family and visitors. I really want to move in.

Mumsy, overall, is doing great. Her hip, according to her surgeon, is the worst he’s ever seen. She’s been getting physical and occupational therapy and so far she is planned on being discharged on Friday. However, she may stay in the hospital over the weekend due to her neuropathy but her pain has subsiding and she’s beginning to feel like her old cantankerous self again. Now only if I could get a personality transplant for my brother, I’d be all set.