Advocate for best possible care

Graham Hookey writes that we should be attentive when a loved one is heading to an institution

A friend of mine was recently admitted to hospital, the result of compromised breathing that turned out to be blood clots in his lungs.

He has a long list of health issues and unanswered questions that he’s been trying to resolve for the last decade, but the bottom line is that his immune system is severely compromised.

During the consultation with his doctor the morning he was admitted, he was told to stay out of public places and to ensure he was not around sick people.

Just 30 minutes later, another patient was brought in to share his room with a severe cough from an unknown source.

I’m not a doctor, and I’m sure there are complicated scenarios that play out in the admitting departments of hospitals every day, but this oversight seemed particularly risky.

Surely, if a doctor is advising a patient, quite adamantly I might add, that he needs to be very careful about where he goes and with whom he has contact, the same advice should be given to the staff on the hospital floor.

Feeling somewhat threatened by the obvious respiratory problems of his roommate, my friend requested assistance from the nursing station.

Some time later, when a nurse appeared, he expressed his concern and filled her in on what his doctor’s advice had been. She listened, offered to speak to his doctor, and left.

Quite some time later, if time can be measured by the coughing spasms of a roommate, the nurse returned to say that his doctor was not in the hospital but she would see what she could do.

Again she disappeared, even as the coughing in the next bed had forced her to move closer to my friend to hear what he was saying.

True to her word, she returned a while later and the other patient was removed.

My friend didn’t know how long the entire process took, as he didn’t have anything around by which to measure time and he, himself, was feeling a bit dopey from the various medications and his general state of exhaustion.

He thought it might have taken a couple of hours to resolve the issue, and during that time, the room had certainly been filled with whatever virus or bacteria might be affecting the other patient.

After all, his diagnosis was not known yet, so it could be one of many things, including quite contagious pathogens.

The risk of respiratory infection was one issue, but the anxiety this caused him, and the feeling that he had to fight for some common sense to intervene in his situation, left him shaken.

The mistake, perhaps, was that his partner was not with him during this early morning sequence of events, having gone home for sleep after a long night in the emergency ward.

With no one to pursue more immediate action, and to stand at a desk as a reminder of some priority need, the whole sequence of events played itself out over a long and anxious time.

It’s a reminder to all of us that if a loved one is heading to any kind of institution, we need to be attentive to the role of advocating, respectfully but persistently, for the best and most common sense care possible.

Graham Hookey writes on education, parenting and eldercare. Email him

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Seniors Network keeps elders informed on how to vote

Rides to polling stations hard to come by, but many long term care homes have stations set up within

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows candidates engaged in an online debate on the environment. (Facebook)
Parties promise improvements to Golden Ears Park

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows candidates debate environmental issues

If you didn’t vote by mail, or at the advance polls, we hope you get out Saturday to cast your ballot in the 2020 provincial election. (Black Press Media files)
OUR VIEWS: Get out (or not) to vote

The B.C. election is happening on Saturday, Oct. 24. Please make sure to cast your ballot.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows’ NDP incumbent Lisa Beare, believes Reese Witherspoon – seen here in the series “The Morning Show,” could best play her on the big screen. (Special to The News Apple TV+/TNS)
Maple Ridge candidates cast themselves in dramatic comedies

ELECTION LEVITY: MLA hopefuls reveal who should play them on the silver screen

The Jolly Coachman Pub in Pitt Meadows will be closed until Oct. 30 due to a case of COVID-19. (Google)
Pitt Meadows pub stays closed after COVID-19 case

Fraser Health advises patrons to self monitor for symptoms

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read