Today I am a Patient
By Sharee Johnson
Today I am a patient
I sit and wait
Have I got all the paperwork? Did I remember my medicare card?
Hello Sharee, how are you?
Please fill out this form, shouldn’t be too long now
I wonder what her name is?
Hello Sharee, how are you?
I just have some COVID questions for you, not too many
She was friendly, I like it when they tell me their name
Come through Sharee, I just have a few questions for you
Yes, yes, no, no, no, no
Come through, pop this gown on and keep warm
There is a heat pack here, put it on the back of your hand
It will help your veins stand up
That’s a funny expression, veins standing up
Hi Sharee, my name’s Kelli, can we check a few things
Yep, yep, no, no, no.
Thanks Sharee, we can go through now
Oh how’s my driving, sorry about that.
Here’s Sharee Gail. This is Gail Sharee. Hi Gail
I wonder who all these other people are?
Hi Sharee, how are you?
Oh hi John! Good thanks
Finally, someone I know! I was wondering where he was…
Hi Sharee, I’m Jo I’m your anaesthetist today
This might happen, this might happen, it’s unlikely, I will look after you
This will sting a bit just for a second
Ouch, don’t look, my hand really hurts
There you go, this will happen now
I wonder who that is loitering around in the corner
Maybe he’s a student, I wonder what he’s learning, who he’s watching
Gee there’s a lot of people and equipment in here
Oh hi Gail, yep fine thanks
Do you work full time Sharee?
John replies for me. He’s the only person here who I have met before, who knows me
Hi Sharee, I’m Tracey , how are you feeling?
Ok thanks Tracey
That’s amazing I’m in recovery, I didn’t even feel the bed move rooms
You can sit up a bit when you feel ready Sharee
We will get you a cuppa and a sandwich soon
I feel fine, I wonder what happened…I wonder what the time is?
John arrives, everything is fine Sharee, this is what we saw, you are fine.
Phew, thank you. Thank you….
How are you feeling Sharee? How was your cuppa?
Here are some instructions for the rest of today, don’t make any decisions today
I will call your person now if you’d like to get dressed.
Ok Tracey great, thanks.
Wow… I don’t even feel like anything happened
And yet so much happened…
My procedure was delayed for 3 months by COVID
I lay vulnerable on a hospital bed, undressed surrounded by strangers
I didn’t know the names or the roles of some of those strangers surrounding me
while I was medically put to sleep (controlled)
I was moved from room to room without knowing what would happen next
I met eight people in three hours, seven of whom I will probably never meet again
I was injected with unknown substances, the canula making all sorts of things possible
I was internally investigated with consent but without awareness
I can’t help wonder what it’s like for people who have trauma, anxiety, another language,
no education, who are alone?
I was cared for, respected and kept safe
I was addressed by my name, seen and heard, treated with dignity
My questions were answered with warmth, building my confidence
The process was painless, efficient and effective
The information I needed was shared with me by the responsible person, John, without delay
I walked out feeling cared for, steady on my feet and grateful
Being a patient is never easy, there is always vulnerability
Being a patient means having a problem, being reliant on the help of others
Even when things go smoothly being a patient is not what we planned
Healthcare is a big complex universe of problems and pain
Doctors and nurses pride themselves on solving problems and relieving pain
Helping us with our problems and our pain is sometimes their reason for being
They are doing the best they can
They are not perfect, sometimes they need our help.
Sometimes they forget to tell us their name, or what will happen next
They forget that we haven’t seen all this equipment before, that we are scared
They are tired, they have their own problems and their own pain,
Sometimes they are scared too
When I was a patient this time
I felt vulnerable and safe… all at the same time.
This time I was lucky, things went smoothly
Eight friendly people helped me solve my problem, I felt their kindness and their respect
I hope they felt my gratitude … and my respect
We all have a role to play in compassionate healthcare
It is our human connection that keeps us alive
How will you play your role?
To find out more about Sharee's work, head to https://www.shareejohnson.com.au