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Tag: patient experience of illness

Dear Nurse

I was an RN for more than forty years and am now retired. As a recent hospital patient, I documented my experiences. This resulted in a letter to nurses everywhere.
 
Dear Nurse,

Please be kind to me. I am frightened, alone and in pain. I am way out of my comfort zone and need every bit of encouragement you have to offer.

I arrived at the emergency room a short while ago,

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Solitary Confinement

Stewart Decker

 I’ve made a huge mistake, I thought.

The fever had come back. The fever had come back, and I was stuck on a bus. The first of five buses, actually….

I am a fourth-year medical student at the University of Minnesota, but right now I’m a long way from home. I am spending a year in South America, studying international public-health issues by working in emergency rooms, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social projects and

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Illness 101

Madeline R. Sterling

My time as a medical student is quickly coming to an end. Later this month, along with hundreds of my fellow seniors across the country, I will receive a medical degree.

This past winter, with nearly four years of arduous study, countless examinations and numerous clinical rotations under my belt, I couldn’t help but think, Yes, I’m ready to be a doctor.

And then I became a patient.

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Unsuspected Symphony

Jeremiah Horrigan

No one goes to a hospital to heal. They go because they must–as I did three years ago, when a one-hour colonoscopy turned into a four-day surgical sleepover.

My grandfather had warned me long ago against hospitals. “You don’t want to go there,” he said. “That’s where the sick people are.” Pop died at the age of ninety-four, at home.

His warning came strongly to mind as I walked into the

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Desperately Seeking Herb Weinman

Steven Lewis

Minor chest pains that woke me early one morning–and which did not go away three, four, five, six hours later–landed me flat on my back at a local emergency room, a perversely comforting beep beep beep issuing from the monitor hanging precariously over my head.

Frankly, I didn’t really think that I was having a heart attack–as a former EMT, a devoted watcher of medical television, and a cultural cousin of Woody

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Are You a Doctor?

Margaret Kim Peterson

“Are you a doctor?” 

I am sitting by my husband’s hospital bed in the surgical admission ward, where he is being prepped for surgery to close a severe pressure ulcer on his left ischium, the knob on the pelvis where your weight rests when you sit. 

Dwight was eighteen when an illness damaged his spinal cord,

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Losing My Vision

Sheila Solomon Klass

Sunday, September 26 of this past year began normally enough. I did what I do every day, first thing: I put on my glasses and tested my vision. I’m eighty-three years old, and although I’ve always been nearsighted and have lived with glaucoma for thirty years, I’ve developed a worse complaint: AMD, age-related macular degeneration, in my left eye. 

My ophthalmologist diagnosed the AMD after I told him that, when I was

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