So after spending some time in the ER recently, I’ve gotta say… I’m not really that impressed. I did get the wheelchair service from the drop off area to the check-in desks. That was lovely. And even though there were 3 separate levels of triage before getting into a room, that part wasn’t so bad either. But man, they keep you waiting in that hospital room forever, right? Thankfully I had company, but if I was alone what the hell am I supposed to do just sit there twiddling my thumbs (seriously who the fuck does this?) for an hour? You can only check your fantasy lineup so many times before you start over-thinking it. And if you’re like me, you are going to lose horribly anyway. When you are bored enough that you are refreshing your twitter feed several times in 10 minutes then you sir, Mr. Hospital, have a service problem.
It’s really a sad problem how understaffed most hospitals are. You have to wait an hour just to see the newest Physicians’ Assistant that the ward has to offer? Yes, she was really sweet, but if I’m being honest, that alone didn’t deserve more than a 10 minute queue. “You seem to have hurt your leg, we should run some tests.” Thank you for your expertise. Granted, a torn calf muscle is not the most pressing issue they probably had going for them at the hospital that day, but even the smallest medical emergency should deserve the most immediate attention in today’s society. We live amongst a culture where we don’t have to wait for ANYTHING. If I’m hungry, I can purchase a meal and have it in my mouth before my car has cleared the drive-thru. If I want a new cell phone (something no one needs more than bi-annually) I have an army of Verizon reps surrounding me to tell me the same shit that I could read online. But when you need medical attention, you have wait in a shitty little room, finding out updates on the status of your running back’s muscles and ligaments before your own.
Can’t we do anything to get more medical professionals in the hospital? Yes it costs more to get started; to pay for the education to get useful people there in particular, but can’t we subsidize some loans and get more kids from our high schools interested in medicine? We’re Americans, we’re fucking rich. As someone who struggles to find meaning in their (and everyone’s) career, I look to doctors, nurses, technicians, and the like as some of the last redeemable fields left. I don’t even like people but savings lives (or calves) seems to still be pretty fucking important. Every other country seems to get this, are India and China just that much better as assessing their priorities? As ridiculous as this sounds, do Americans really just not have enough money to produce their own healthcare professionals? (No) Do I really care about the issues plaguing our healthcare system or an I just another impatient asshole that hates waiting? So many questions!!
America, the Land of the Free, where we choose to be whatever we want to be. But what are we choosing to be in 2014? The top 3 most common current US occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are Retail Salespeople, Cashiers, and Food Preparation and Service workers. Nurses did check in at #5, but I noticed there were no Doctors or other hospital staff accounted for (or teachers for that matter but that’s another post). Do we not really not think it’s worth it to have more skilled people in healthcare? Is this not more important than raising another generation of innovators (phone app creators) and artists (worthless bloggers, wait staff, and unemployment aficionados). The only thing Americans put a premium on other than money is timeliness. Not for themselves, just for anyone that they have to interact with. And I’m no saint either. If I go into a restaurant on a busy Saturday night, I’m not waiting in line and I’m irrationally ticked off at even the suggestion that I should have to wait. Well, unless there is a bar to kill the time at.
Which brings me to my ultimate point. As Lucille Bluth once said the reason everyone hates hospitals is because there are no bars located there. Understandably, there are some reasons why I would be at the hospital and wouldn’t like a cold beer while eagerly anticipating some white coat to pretend to give a shit about me (dehydration, wound with excessive bleeding, alcohol poisoning). But when I’m waiting with a sore leg that I can’t move, jesus, hit me with another, barkeep. I’ve already told you the pain is 11 out of 10 and I picked the face on the chart that looks like me when I hear my parents talking about sex. If I have to wait an hour for someone to see me to legally prescribe some Percoset and send me for a test that already confirms what I know, then do me a favor and at least fill my glass, would you?