My spouse had a colonoscopy a week before I did. He went to a different center; I went to Bethesda Endoscopy. His felt like a medical procedure in a small hospital, and mine felt like having a service at Jiffy Lube.
My doctor was running late due to a complication before me. Fine–it happens. My prep nurse was absolutely lovely and did everything she could while I waited for more than an hour (past the get-there-an-hour-early hour…so two hours). Once I was wheeled into the procedure room, however, it all fell apart.
Here’s the picture: I am tethered to an IV, nude except for a patient gown, and someone has taken my glasses so I can’t see past three feet around me. The procedure room is cluttered with computers (one of which is blasting, at very high volume, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and people’s personal items–sweaters, water bottles, phones, etc. Not sterile feeling at all. And as I’m laying there, immobilized and blind, people are in and out.
They’re not introducing themselves to me, but they’re having all sorts of conversations inside the door. Last week’s football game (which needed high-fives and hooting). Hey, I found your water bottle, yelled down the hallway to someone not in the room. Two nurses who needed to pee and hadn’t had enough coffee. Who wants Chinese for lunch?
I have no idea who any of these folks are or why they’re in this room that they’re treating like a lounge, and I’m naked and immobilized and blind. I am vulnerable as hell. Oh, and this procedure is making me very nervous to begin with. Nobody is updating me or talking to me and we’re all having a grand old, very loud time in this room with music blasting that feels a lot like Buffalo Wild Wings. Or Jiffy Lube. But not a medical facility at all.
Up your professionalism. Train your staff. Clean your personal crap out of procedure rooms that should be spotless. Lose the booming bass when patients are around. You’re a medical center.