The elderly fail to understand our complex health system

I was working overnight in Tiny Memorial Hospital, located in scenic rural America.  My call room there was a converted patient room.  As such, my bed was a hospital bed.  Lying there one night, I rolled to the side and raised the head of the bed using the button on the rail.  The blanket was standard hospital fare: stiff and thin.  And the television remote, fully two pounds and connected to the television by cable, was the latest NASA technology from about 1965.  I contemplated my surroundings, and noticed the nurse call button on the remote.  And I had a strange desire for Jello and my old cardigan, but I shook it off.

I began to imagine what it was like for the older patients in the facility.  And what it would be like for me one day, when I might be hospitalized or placed in a nursing home.  Admittedly, given my tendency to run my mouth and forget the contents of my carry-on, I’m probably more likely to be tasered to death in an airport in my late 80s, or 50s.  But one wonders about the future.

For the full article, please visit Emergency Medicine News.

Edwin Leap is an emergency physician who blogs at edwinleap.com and is the author of The Practice Test. This article originally appeared in Emergency Medicine News.

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