A day at the hospital

I know it’s not worth saying it, since this is probably a universal truth, but I’ll just say it

‘I hate hospitals.’

And since my experience at the university hospital near home a few days ago, this feeling of hatred has somewhat reached another -upper- level, especially for those called ‘university hospitals’.

I waited for two hours the first day for my appointment with the doctor. I do acknowledge that the nurse did let me know that I would have to wait that long. The moment I went in, the doctor, who, fortunately, and surprisingly, I must say, was nice enough, spared me five minutes, during which time he scheduled me for my ‘procedure’ in two days. The thing is though, I already knew what my problem was, having visited another hospital near home and having that doctor tell me what the problem was. But since they couldn’t do the procedure, I ‘had’ to go to a bigger hospital. I could have told him I needed the procedure (I’m sorry, but I just can’t call it ‘surgery’) without having to wait for two hours.

The next day was a blood test for my very special procedure. Sure, my life may be at stake, but really? A blood test for a simple -what I saw as a- cut and slice and take smth (very tiny) out procedure? Thank god I came in very early in the morning that day and was done with it in no time.

For those two days, the two-hour waiting and the five minute appointment with the doctor and the five minute bloodtaking process (they took a LOT of blood too, may I add), I had to pay nearly 40,000 won.

Finally, the day of the long-awaited procedure. I had to fast for 12 hours before my 10-minute procedure, which was supposed to take place at 12:30. Needless to say, I was dying of hunger. But of course, I did not really expect it to start then. I had to wait for an hour in the waiting room, then go down to the Operations Floor. That’s where the whole circus began.

First, they made me strip down everything, I mean, EVERYTHING, and made me wear the hospital gown. (Just to be clear, the procedure was on my lower lip.) I’m no doctor or surgeon or nurse or intern or resident, but common sense tells me that my underwear won’t affect my lower lip. But then, what do I know?

Then, they made me lie down on a hospital bed (I was not allowed to sit, I don’t know why) and gave me an IV. No matter how much you get used to going to hospitals, sticking a needle in your veins -especially when you think it’s not necessary- is no a pleasant experience.

And that’s how I had to wait for another half an hour. The worst part of the waiting  in this area of the hospital was having to listen to all the old people who were also getting ready for a procedure or a surgery. I know it’s disrespectful, but I can’t help it with old people, everything they do or say frustrates me. Maybe it’s because I never had grandparents -or at least the memory of them- who were close enough to teach me the joys of being a grandchild. I’d like to believe, however, that it’s because most old people I witness in the streets, subways, and other public places do tend to say and do things that are beyond my capacity of understanding and compassion. Anyways, during those long 30 minutes, I gained a new found respect for the nurses there and their patience. If I had to repeat 3 times that the strings of the hospital gown have to be on your back and NOT on your front, without witnessing a slight sign of understanding from them, I would have gone crazy.

After what seemed like an hour, a resident (or an intern, I don’t know) came to fetch me… in a freaking WHEELCHAIR. Yes, I cannot emphasize on this enough, my 10-minute procedure was to be done ON MY LOWER LIP (not even both lips!!!). Oh the long long wheeling of shame and embarrassment I had to endure from the hospital bed to the OR! Those who had come down with me must have thought I was going through some major surgery…

Then, I was made to lie down on the surgery… bed, stand, whatever it’s called, and all the while the resident or intern was placing these tubes and scissors and knives on my hospital-sheet-covered body, he kept telling me not to worry, not to be nervous. Sure, easy for you to say. I wasn’t worried or nervous at all until YOU guys started stripping me, giving me an IV AND carrying me into a wheelchair! And scissors and knives are quite a comfortable sight for someone who is just about to have them on their mouths!

The procedure was really 10 minutes long. THREE anesthesia shots on my lower lip (I know, you’re wondering where on earth there is space for three shots on anyone’s lower lip), which, I’m not ashamed to admit, were quite painful, and suction here and there, nip and tuck here and there, and I was done.

I was carried back to my hospital bed again in my wheelchair, this time, with my surgery cap on my head as a bonus, where I was recommended to lie down and rest for a while before going back out. I didn’t want any of that, I had already spent 2 hours of my precious day in the hospital, I wasn’t going to waste one more, for no reason at all.

My two-hour waiting and 10-minute procedure cost me that day about 250,000 won. Oh-my-God.

I have to go back to the hospital this week so that the nice doctor can get the stitches out (which, by the way, are a sore sight for the eye. I thought we were in the 21st century, where medical technology had improved so much you can practically give a new face to people, but apparently, for this small thing, you have to leave ugly, black threads for a week).That will probably cost me another 10,000 won I guess.

I do wonder, was my money worth the whole thing? It has now become impossible to find any nobility of medicine and people devoted in that area. All that matters is how to get the most cash out of patients.


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