Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When You Have a Family Member in the Hospital You Start to Realize How Much It Helps to Know How To Navigate the Hospital World!!

Its been a stressful week for me and I'm glad that I pre-wrote & scheduled my posts for this week because I would have had to take a blogging hiatus!  I have a close family member in the hospital and they are getting better but I've become acutely aware how hard it is to navigate the system as a non-medical person!  

Sometimes I felt like I was translating a foreign language when explaining to my family what was going on.  This is not because my family is not intelligent--they are, extraordinarily so in my opinion:-)--but the medical world & the outside world are SO far apart sometimes!!!  

I've realized this before (& I'm sure my doc/nurse/etc readers will agree that we are aware there is some translation needed from medical lingo to layperson speak) but every time I'm on the other side of the fence (coming from the patient's side as opposed to the doctor's side) I wonder how people without medical family members figure out what is going on!!!????

I had already planned a post for this week on "Getting the Best Medical Care: Tips for Patients" (ironic, huh!) but I think I'm going to need to expand that post into two separate posts:  one for inpatient/hospital care and one for outpatient care.   Keep your eye out.  I have to say that when these posts come out I'd really recommend emailing them to family & friends.  I think it can make a huge difference in your hospital & outpatient experiences to know how to the system works from a doc's perspective as well as know how to get the best out of your doctors, nurses, social workers, techs & therapists!!


  1. Yes my mema broke her hip last year and earlier this year she was hospitalized for what we were told was pneumonia and she was literally dieing and then came a new Dr on call at the hospital and realized that it was not pneumonia it was heart failure....once she was treated for the correct condition she recovered
    Shannon davenport

  2. I'm so sorry Shannon, that is awful!! In my post tomorrow I'm going to talk about some key questions to ask doctors in situations like that in order to get the best information & treatment. Hopefully these tips will be helpful for the future at least! I'm so glad she recovered!

  3. I hope your family member is doing well. This is wonderful idea for a post. If I hadn't spent nearly 2 decades in health care I would have been lost after the cancer diagnosis too.


  4. Thank you so much Ali! Yes, my family member is now discharged to a rehabilitation hospital & on the mend (thankfully!!!) I started writing the post and realized that the information was WAY too much for just one post!!! I know you have experienced this from both sides so if you have a chance, please let me know if you think I'm missing anything as I go along--its going to be a five part series!!! Ack! Just too much to say!!

    To be of service to people beyond my own family, I'm asking everyone to consider sharing this series of posts with family & friends. Its the little things that make such a difference & being stressed about being sick is exponentially worsened by the level of confusion about how the hospital works! I just don't want that for anyone out there!!


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