Hospital Navigation as an Active Patient

The hospital is a place where a lot of frustration and anxiety meet professional care. It is a place where an incredible amount of information is passed. I want to focus on the patient’s role in dealing with the hospital situation. I suggest that the patient strive to be in a super-conscious state of mind. It is difficult for a patient to agree or disagree with a diagnosis, but the patient can be extremely alert when a doctor says what they are going to do.

One time, I was in a pre-surgery room getting prepped for trigeminal nerve (brain) surgery. I was in intense pain. The doctor was reviewing the surgical procedures before I was anesthetized. When he said the surgery would be on the nerve leading to the right side of my jaw, I immediately was alarmed. This was because the pain and nerve went to the left side of my jaw.  After the doctor checked, he said the right side was what was written on the report. He apologized and operated on the correct side. It showed how important patient participation is.

I feel the best way for a patient to deal with the complex environment of a hospital is to be totally alert. I did not have to go to medical school to know the difference between right and left.

This was a dramatic example, but this consciousness is needed on the mundane level of everything you do when you are a patient in the hospital. You should always ask what medication is being given or what procedure you are scheduled for or what meal has been delivered to you. I do not suggest that you be an antagonistic patient, but all these issues are dealt with by being more conscious.

Another conscious thing you can do is to have someone you trust be with you as your advocate. Sometimes, when I was sick in the hospital, I would go in and out of being awake and aware. At those times, it was helpful to have a second set of eyes and ears. Whether you have an advocate or not, being more conscious is not only to catch mistakes, but it is a way to make the treatments and medication more effective.

This is not something you should wait to develop while you are in the hospital. This is how you should enter the hospital, so it becomes a natural part of your life. You do not TRY to be conscious. You only TRY to do something when you feel you cannot do it.  Illness is a great motivator. It can force you to become more conscious, so you do everything you can to deal with it. This is one of the benefits of being sick.

In my book “A Healthy Way to Be Sick,” you will develop the life skills that make you a conscious patient. Illness can be a spiritual experience when you are conscious. Being in that state of mind helps the healing process. The conscious perspective is essential in healing. You can develop the conscious perspective in my book “The Positive Self, Change your Self Image and Change Your Life”. My books are available on Amazon/Kindle

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