Nominee for the most unpleasant waiting room in Western Canada.

October 2nd, 2013, 12pm

It was 7°C with overcast. The breeze was gentle.

This is the outpatient department at the Royal University Hospital. I’ve spared you all the sickly peach color of the vinyl benches? couches? I’ve also significantly toned down the harsh harsh harsh florescent lighting. You can’t hear the noise of a child screaming “Ow! Ow! Oooooooowwwww!” or the drills rumbling on the floor above, or the nasal voice of the woman in doctor paging duty. At least it smells….sanitary.

I really hate this waiting area and have spent too many hours here but always to receive good news. “Your colitis is in remission.” “Your mole biopsy came back benign.” “Your appendectomy sites are healing nicely.” The mood of the other patients is always one of anxiety and I pick up on that much too easily. I can’t help but think that if the waiting area was a bit more pleasant we’d all be in a better mood.

This wing of RUH was designed in the 1970s and built in the 1980s. It has not aged well. Brown/orange tile in the main mall, cement walls pebbled with, well, pebbles. The original hospital wing built in the 1940s is much more elegant, and the long-term care rooms (which I’ve spent a few nights in due to lack of beds in the surgery wing) have large windows looking out on the river or into the central courtyard garden. So at least some areas of the hospital feel welcoming.

Today I saw my gastroenterologist’s nurse-practitioner. It seems the GI department has become multidisciplinary and they are spreading the work around so that the doctors do the doctoring that is needed, and the nurses do the checkups to figure out if we of inflamed digestive systems need to see the doctors. The nurse spent 20 minutes with me and was more thorough with her questions than my doctor has ever been. All is well in my colon as far as she could tell but she ordered some blood tests to check for possible as-of-yet unfelt side effects of my medication.

Saskatchewan was the first province in Canada to have free public healthcare. And though there are long wait times for elective surgeries, we all get the care we need when we need it, even if we have to sit in unpleasant waiting rooms. I’ve been rooting for the USA to get this Obamacare thing in order. I can’t imagine what my life might be like if I was dealing with colitis in a private healthcare system.

David Wade, Jo, Cassie, Paul and 2 others said thanks.

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Lia Pas

inter-disciplinary creator/performer

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