Saturday, May 13, 2006

Steroids At Club Med...

Ok, I really wasn't at a beach today getting my IV infusion of Solumedrol. And there were no martinis or Corona beer served, no spa massage, and no water front eye candy to gawk at. BUT...I have to say I have never been treated kinder than I am when I go to my local hospital infusion lab (this time in the outpatient cancer center) for steroid infusions!

Over the years of working in the healthcare industry and becoming a chronic patient of it's services, I have become apathetic about the type of patient care being delivered these days. I have grown to expect long waits, inaccurate information, harried and curt staff, medication errors, and a sundry of other negative problems that have cropped up since healthcare became more focused on business and less on the art of compassion. I am frankly quite "shocked" when I am NOT treated with some level of disregard when seeking services and I always try to write a letter of thanks to those who go above and beyond average to treat me with kindness. Today was again, one of those "above and beyond" days at my infusion appointment.

Since I changed to my new neurologist this year, I also had to change hospitals where I get other services. Other than the major faux pas of FORGETTING to scan my brain while in MRI a few weeks ago, I have been quite pleased with the care I have receive at Club Med (and I can't hold one lame diagnostic technician accountable for my overall rating of services hospital-wide!).

I returned today to the Cancer Institute to get my IV steroid "blast" (as my neurologist so gently called it) in the infusion lab, a specialized unit in Club Med (if I revealed the true identity of the hospital in question, you'd ALL be lining up to go there and I might no longer be considered "special"!). My dear friend, EB, met me at the Institute to keep me company while I infused. We did wait a bit of time to be taken back to the infusion lab, but once there, my Steroid Party commenced.

My infusion nurse (I am under gag order not to mention her by name) settled me into a private room, which looked more like a combination living room and treatment room. I was seated in a comfy arm chair and asked several health history questions. She actually seemed interested in my answers! Then she started my IV, but not the usual "poke and dig" method I have been subjected to at other times...she used a tiny bit of local anesthesia to numb my delicate arm before surgically striking my vein with precision. EB could not watch this part, hid behind the curtain, and threatened to vomit if she had to watch...this was highly entertaining!

Once the "blast" was begun and running liquid gold into my arm, Miss Nurse asked me what kind of sandwich I wanted for my lunch? I politely told her I would only be there for an hour and thought even I could wait to eat a bite later (it was only 11:30AM at this point). She assured me if I didn't accept the sack lunch, Club Med would just end up throwing it out and, "Wouldn't you LIKE a sandwich to help take the taste of the steroids out of your mouth?"

I looked at EB. She's quite thin and looked as if she could use a few carbs or protein, so "we" settled on a turkey sandwich bag. Miss Nurse then asked if I was comfortable and, "Would you like a pillow or anything?"

I advised her there was no need for a pillow because, once again, I'd only be gracing their service for about an hour. I then told her she may want to consider stopping the comfort measure offers or I might choose NOT to leave once the hour was up...this could prove to be a problem for her if I got too comfortable!

She asked if I would like anything to drink with my sandwich (I was beginning to sense where all my insurance money was being funneled to and, frankly, I liked it!), and I replied, "Water will be just fine."

"Ice or no ice?" she asked,and then looked at EB who was sucking down an iced coffee for the thrill of caffeine, and asked HER if she would like anything. Who KNEW the service I could get at Club Med?!?

I have already planned a vacation to Texas in October to spend time on the beach. Perhaps I may want to reconsider my options and spend theweek at my local Club Med? Sure, there's no beach, but the service is excellent! I wonder if my insurance would let me book a week there in advance?...

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