Tuesday, November 16, 2010


As I laid in bed, just a few hours after having a total hysterectomy, two women entered my room. The interpreter had left for the evening, but I had my handy dandy notebook with me, just to the side of my bed.

The duo that walked into my room consisted of an older lady (probably in her 60’s) and another woman in her mid to late 40’s. Apparently, the older woman (we’ll call her Myrtle) was teaching the younger one (let’s say..."Betty") how to draw blood. Perhaps they chose me to use as the pin cushion, thinking that, because I was Deaf, I would not scream and curse the skies as she repeatedly jabbed me with, what seemed like, a jumbo-sized knitting needle.

So, they entered the room, and Myrtle began to speak. I immediately let her know that I was Deaf and needed her to write to me. For some reason it didn’t register for her. She repeated whatever it was she was trying to tell me. I motioned over to the paper and pen. I couldn't reach it, because it's across the room and I’m practically dying from the pain, but I did let her know where it was. She continued to jabber on. I, again, told her where the paper and pen was, this time adding a bit of an edge to my facial expression (think Clint Eastwood meets Nurse Ratchet.) Again, no luck. I then told her  just what she could do with the pen and paper when she did finally find it. She wasn’t amused.

She began to yell at me. I began to cry. Betty stood there smiling like someone had glued her upper lip to her upper gums. It wasn’t pretty. And I didn’t reciprocate. No one in the room had a clue what to do next.

Finally, Myrtle gave up on communication and moved over next to Betty. She was explaining what Betty needed to do in order to suck out any remaining blood in my system. Betty listened carefully, looking terrified the entire time, pulled out a needle that looked like one of those plastic needles they give toddlers to play with when sewing cards together, and began to hack at my arm in full force, blood splattering everywhere.

All the while, Myrtle smiled evilly and glared at me. It was obvious she was enjoying this way too much. Betty kept touching my shoulder and apologizing. “Just one more time,” I believe she said….over and over again.

When all was done and there was no more blood left in my body to collect, Betty smiled and bowed repeatedly as she exited the room. Kind of like they do in China. Myrtle, on the other hand, walked over to the pen and paper (GASP! She found it!!), wrote something down, and left. No. She didn’t hand it to me. She just wrote it and left.I heaved a huge sigh of relief and began to wipe the blood out of my hair.

Finally, my husband came back into the room, having left to go get some hospital coffee (which is very different than just regular coffee). I asked him to read me the paper. He read it and looked at me with a very strange look.

”What does it say?”

“Thank you, Ms. Thomas. We hope you recover from your knee replacement surgery quickly.”



  1. Passive aggressive :(

    That incident needs to be reported to her superiors. Her aproach was extremely unprofessional and very insensitive. There was no need for you to be subjected to this treatment. I am sorry you had to experience this unpleasant experience. I had a similiar encounter with a blood technician one time many years ago and I called for the quality assurance administrator. The administrator approached me and took an incident report. That lab technician was 'counseled'.


  2. My hubby and I did report it to the nurse on charge. I was in tears at that point. I don't know what happened, but she said she would file the complaint and give Myrtle her "feedback." It's kind of funny in retrospect though.

  3. I would have absolutely refuse to let them touch me unless they write on paper

  4. Anonymous, that would be the smart and practical thing to do. LOL Unfortunately, I had just come out of the recovery room about an hour prior and was really out of it. Who knows? Maybe I'll get more upset thinking about it and write a letter. At this point, I've been through every emotion about it and I'm at the humor phase. I'd be happy staying here.

  5. Bummer?--------! OOOhh, that really made me mad. No excuse for that treatment. I'd be all over the hospital demanding they fire that zero-head and collecting witness statements.

    Telling your story here will make all of us think twice before allowing such a clueless jerk within touching distance.

  6. It definitely scared me enough to not let it happen again. I mean, I was very lucky it was only blood being drawn. What if they had tried to give me an enema or something?!?! LOL

  7. Hey, that's a terrible experience. When they send you their patient satisfaction survey, send your letter then and complain about your mistreatment. Tell the hospital that you would never, I repeat, never recommend their hospital to anyone. There is a little brochure in your patient packette with information about who to complain to like the head of patient's relations. the hospital is required by law to supply that information to every patient.

  8. Despite what this blog portrays, I really do think this hospital is THE best hospital in the area. I totally blame Myrtle. I don't blog about the great things that happens, simply because they're not very amusing or entertaining. So, keep that in mind. That doesn't make what happened OK, but I hope it puts things in perspective.

  9. I work in a hospital that is totally unacceptable and they should have known you required special communication..plus they should have checked you wrist band to make sure it was indeed you... not professional at all or medically competent

  10. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I had surgery recently. Every single time they walked into the room they made me repeat my name and birth date. It was almost comical. "I know your name and everything, but it's hospital policy so can you please tell me your name and birth date. . ."

    People do get careless sometimes. I'm glad you complained. Maybe it will lead to policy changes.