What’s In YOUR Hospital Lobby….The Bad Witch or The Good Witch?

Written by on August 31, 2012 in Insight - No comments

“Mr. Price, front desk, Mr. Price!”, those words traveled loudly throughout the large, very cold and scary hospital lobby.   There we were, in a place we had never been before.  My Daddy, a retired cost accountant, sitting beside his favorite “baby” daughter “ (me), a surgical practice administrator and my Mother, waiting patiently and lovingly by his side.   As Daddy and I walked up to that desk, it felt as though we were about to face The Wizard of Oz and I knew we “weren’t in Kansas anymore.”   Almost shaking in my shoes, I was afraid for us to take the next step.  His diagnosis ~ Multiple Myeloma, the reason we were sent to this unfamiliar place.

We informed the person behind the desk (who appeared to be the bad witch) that he was indeed Mr. Price. “I need your wrist,” she said, while attaching a wristband, “You will not be called by your name, you see these last three digits #325, they will call you by that instead.  When they call that number, you will walk down that hallway and there will be someone there to get you.  Any questions?”

Oh no, we would certainly be afraid to ask questions.   Daddy said, “No mam, but thank you.”   I, on the other hand, wanted to climb over the desk and tell her who my Daddy was.  He is NOT #325 but a wonderful Daddy, a terrific husband to my Mother, the finest example of a human being each and every day of his life.   He is my Daddy.

Respecting Daddy’s wishes, I sat down beside of him and we waited.  I couldn’t help but wonder which character we may meet next on this uncertain pathway.   Could it be -

  • The Scarecrow – who will not allow the brain to connect with it’s heart?
  • The Tin Man – who will be lacking a heart?
  • The Lion – who will hopefully have found the courage to have a heart?

“Number 325”- oh no, here we go…..his NUMBER was finally called.  Now we were able to follow the yellow brick road and go behind the curtain.  The person standing there to greet us was obviously “The GOOD Witch!”  With a sincere smile on her face, her heart seemed filled with compassion as she began to hear Daddy’s story.  She listened as we explained his symptoms and it was obvious that she cared.  We could tell through her eyes that she had a heart and a brain along with the courage to connect with her patients and family members.  She kept the CARE in healthcare.  We were so grateful.

Even when the news is bad and the outcome unfortunate as it was with my Daddy, when we were surrounded by those who cared, those who held our hand, who listened and who understood our tears and even joined us through them, that was when we felt “There’s no place like home.”  No matter the location, it’s the way in which we were made to feel while we were around those caring people.

We couldn’t measure the clinical expertise of each person that entered the room but what we could measure and still remember are those who held our hand, the ones that offered hugs and listened with a caring heart.

With my 34 years experience in healthcare, I learned so much more about healthcare from the other side.  I learned that the things that cost the least really mean the most and are remembered forever.

While sitting in that lobby on that day, I promised Daddy that I would do everything I could to make a positive difference so that people would better understand the feelings of the patients from the other side of healthcare.

Every patient is someone’s family.   When you find yourself there, it is very clear to see that compassion is the #1 method of preferred treatment in healthcare and should always be the first ingredient.

First impressions set the stage.

I.M.A.G.E. -

  • Imagine
  • Mastering
  • All
  • Great
  • Experiences

Hospitals and healthcare facilities are filled with compassionate people.  It’s nice when they are the “First Impression.”  In addition to an aesthetically pleasing lobby – offer your staff a facelift – a contagious smile.   Smiles are free and no one is immune.

Website:  www.denisepricethomas.com

By Denise Price Thomas

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