I'm not exactly angry, but it bothers me. Maybe I am disappointed. Disgusted might be too strong a word; peeved might be better. Oh, I don't really know how I feel about it.
Yesterday, I had to go to our local, little hospital for x-rays. We have heard good things about the hospital or at least about its emergency room. Apparently, the service is usually good or quick at least. In Ontario, if you don't have to wait for an interminable length of time in the ER, it's considered to be quite remarkable and worthy of praise.
So, I had high hopes for the place, but I'm afraid that I was rather disappointed. While they were efficient enough, they rendered no evidence of having twigged to the concept of patient as client (or customer).
I dealt with four different people in the twenty-five minutes that I spent there. I don't recall one greeting, one smile, one how are you. I was processed. That's what it was. I have been x-rayed before, you know, and to my recollection the technician has always shown some sort of interest in my condition. Not this one. The
robot technician who x-rayed my foot yesterday wasn't curious at all. "Shoes and socks off. Up on the table." She positioned my feet took various pictures, told me to wait while they were developed — all, somewhat miraculously without ever looking at me. I was simply a foot, a body part.
Come to think of it, I don't think the lady who registered me and punched in my data bothered to look at me either, and I think the same thing applies to the x-ray secretary who told me to sit and wait. Giving credit where it's due, it now occurs to me that when I first went to the wrong window, the young lady who directed me to the appropriate wicket did look at me and there did seem to be some warmth in her eyes. I guess I should be grateful.
But I'm bloody peeved at the rest of these health care practitioners and, based on this experience, at the institution in general. Is a slight touch of humanity too much to ask for? I'm not asking for Wal-Mart phoniness necessarily, but if minimum-wage workers can affect friendliness, can't highly paid health care workers make a wee effort? They weren't exactly grouchy or miserable, just aloof and uncaring. At least that's what they seemed to me. Who can know their thoughts, however?
Maybe it's our health care system. I'm sure that it's a stressful job, and I'm sure that the financial constraints of our public health system aren't exactly jolly-making, but jeez louise. I'm not sure that the blame does lie with the system, however, because it doesn't seem to me that they were so stoically phlegmatic back in the Sarnia hospital. Maybe it was just one of those bad days, yesterday, or perhaps I simply chanced upon an unfortunate set of people. I don't know.
I wonder what it's like elsewhere. Maybe the more private-for-profit American system spawns better public relations? It's also extremely difficult for me to imagine that those chipper and garrulous Aussies could ever be so gloomy and taciturn; that beggars the imagination somehow. Only in Canada, you say? Pity.