Jonathan van Bilsen's, PhotosNtravel

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Is There a Doctor in the house? – CAPS Reprint, 2017

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION BY CAPS NEWSPAPER – MAY, 2017
 
The last time I was in a hospital was when I was 14 and had my tonsils removed. I basically remember the anticipation of having unlimited ice cream, however, once the surgery was over and I was presented with a bowl of French vanilla, I found it impossible to swallow. I stealthily crept from my bed, ice cream bowl in hand, and made my way to the washroom. After a quick glance over my shoulder, to ensure I had not been seen, I proceeded to dump the contents of the container into the toilet. After a quick flush, I returned to my bed and was pleased with the success of my clandestine operation.

Later that day, a maintenance person, entered my room, walked directly to the washroom and proceeded to tinker with the plumbing. I was terrified. Had I ruined the hospitals septic system? Surely not. It was, after all, only ice cream. Fortunately, I do not recall any hospital security or law enforcement officials apprehending me, and I came away unscathed.

Recently I found myself in a hospital once again; on two occasions. The first was in Port Perry for three days and the second in Oshawa for a similar length of time. I have heard many horror stories from people who have had stays in hospitals, where the service has been neglectful, the careless than adequate and the experience anything short of disastrous. For my stays, I would like to set the record straight.

Lakeridge Health, in Port Perry, has recently completed a massive renovation of all the rooms, and I must admit they are amazing. Due to an infection, I was ushered into a private room. Outfitted with all the paraphernalia you would expect, it was by all standards an up-to-date hospital room. The nursing staff was extremely friendly and, although they had their job to do, they did it with pleasure and kindness.

Many of you know that I have spent countless hours on aeroplanes, and perhaps the food served on those adventures has given me acquired taste buds, but I must admit the meals I received at Port Perry Hospital were quite satisfying.  Not only was there a decent variety, there was also an opportunity to receive seconds.

The newly renovated rooms have supersized bathrooms, with massive walk-in showers and all the amenities of a hotel room. I would even go so far as to challenge any guesthouse I have stayed in, to compete for service with the medical facility in our town.

When it comes to entertainment there was a large flat screen television available, but because there is free Wi-Fi, my Netflix was humming along on my IPad, offering me the opportunity to view all the content I could absorb. Plus, there were no time restrictions, which allowed me to watch it whenever I wanted.

For my entertainment pleasure they made any visitors, wear gloves, yellow smocks and embarrassing masks, as they entered my room. I later learned it was due to possible infectiousness and, not for my own amusement. It was however a nice touch.

When my stay was over, I left with a pleasant feeling of gratefulness and a curiosity why anyone would bad-mouth the pleasantness of healthcare professionals who for me, surpassed their required tasks.

Two weeks later I found myself en route to Lakeridge health in Oshawa for surgery. I was apprehensive as I presumed my experience would never equal that of my recent stay in Port Perry. From the moment I had my pre-op interview, I was pleasantly surprised. The staff was friendly and prompt, and I spent no more than 15 minutes waiting at any given time.

Everything was explained to me in simple, easy to understand terminology and, when I asked if I could upgrade my room using bonus points, I was told no, but the attendant added that room service was available. Fortunately paragraph 18 of subsection 3 of my obscure health plan, offered me an upgrade to a private accommodation.

Once again the room seemed as if it had been recently renovated and the staff was once again very friendly. I woke up at one in the morning, as a nurse prodded me for some medical task or other, and found myself hungry. I asked if she had any food, and a few minutes later she returned with a tasty ham and cheese sandwich.

Like anyone else who has to spend time in a hospital, being released is the objective of any stay, and I was pleased to be discharged. I must admit I found the experience of both my hospital stays much better than I had anticipated.

I personally would like to thank the staff of Lakeridge Health, in Port Perry as well as Oshawa and commend them on their chosen professions, ones which I would never be able to deal with. The pleasant manners in which they approached their tasks were second to none, and although I would never wish to return, I know that any future stays will be met with much less apprehension.

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION BY CAPS NEWSPAPER – MAY, 2017

Jonathan van Bilsen is a photographer, author, columnist and keynote speaker. Follow his adventures at photosNtravel.com

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