The pungent smell and the ultra-clean floors are two common sceneries in the dispensaries and Out Patient Department (OPDs) of every hospital. As a Sickle Cell child of my parents, I dreaded visiting such places because of these conditions among others, so I tried as much as praying in order to avoid a date with the doctor. However, this weird condition of mine has taught me one thing – life is sometimes what you are given and not what you wish for.
But as to whether these conditions contribute to my recovery every time I visited the hospital, just as many family members mystically told me growing up, I was yet to consciously experience it. It was more to say, you can go to hospital with a chronic disease and yet come back home all well without taking any drug- you just have to sniff the fragrance of the drugs in the dispensary. This superstitious belief can also be questioned because what about the people who are allergic to all manner of things like the extreme neatness in the hospital?
Well, through one of my near-death adventures in the hospital, I discovered my own factor that led to my recovery no matter how terrifying my seizures were whenever I visited the hospital:
My parents used to skip the hospital close by anytime we needed medical attention because of one thing – the long-standing cordial friendship between them and the doctor in this hospital. This is typical of customers; we prefer to do business with those we are familiar with.
But as if to say there is always a first time, my condition on this day was critical. According to the doctor, I could have lost my life had my parents delayed in bringing me to his hospital. I was told I fell unconscious and I needed to regain my consciousness as fast as possible to avert a tragedy. So I was carried and hurried to this same hospital that we usually by-passed.
On this day, my nostrils were virtually clogged to have sniffed the dispensary to facilitate my convalescence, as myth has it; My eyes were virtually lifeless to have spotted the stainless environment. The only thing I had is what I come to call the “psycho-communications”. This was communication that appealed to the little left in me to live once more and to know that I was been rescued out of my illness.
Right from the emergency room where I felt my soul separate from the rest of my carnal body, through my three weeks period on my sick bed, I heard stale voices always speaking to me. These voices were sometimes those of females and other times, the baritones of males. Some encouraged me to hang in there and be ready to push out through the blurred vision when the time is due; Some usually questioned whether or not I had eaten; whether or not I had visited the loo; or felt pain anywhere; and whilst some kept shaking my limbs to check if I still had life in me; others explained to me what injections or concoctions they were administering to me, and how it would make me feel afterwards.
Call it coma and you wouldn’t be wrong, but I still heard these voices always speaking to me professionally and sometimes intimately. Initially, I thought it was angels but after almost 2 weeks when I regained my consciousness, I discovered these angelic voices were those of the doctor and the nurses who catered for me.
For me these were not just words but a professional psychological communications therapy that indirectly sought my permission to every treatment they gave me as well as raise my hopes of living again. My mother also attested to them seeking prior permission from her before administering any treatment. She also told me they told her all the side-effects which I was likely to experience as well as the benefits of the dosages.
I have come to appreciate that the communications strategy of always talking to the patient ; the habit of explaining the steps and options available to any client among others goes a long way to prepare the psyche of the patient or client in responding positively or negatively to a treatment. This professional art and act of adding to the hospitality at the hospital also boots the psychological and recovery process of the patients. It gives options to the recipient of the service; educates the person getting the medical attention and gleans the grievances of the customer (patient). For those who do not fall into coma or in an unconscious state, like in my partial case, it helps in the diagnosing process because the doctors rely on the two-way communications symmetry to gather medical data from the patient or from their guardians.
Furthermore, the mode of communicating to the patient is mostly kept simple and devoid of jargon. I noticed that in not only the speeches or information they passed onto to me during my partial consciousness and consciousness thereafter, but also on the various stickers and magazines pasted on the walls in the hospital. These information were clear, precise and concise and represented in simple language, and sometimes translated. This helped clients in making the right medical choices.
Info-graphs, animated visuals and other simple illustrations were employed on charts and boards to pass on medical information to those who visited the hospital.
But these hospitable conditions are strategic or peculiar because they are not universal. Once upon a time, my room-mates, Sandra and Miracle, once told me their ordeal of poor healthcare services when they visited the hospital. They shared with me how rude the nurses were and how indifferent and extremely discrete the doctor was. This did nothing but to scare the patients and make them more skeptical about their chances of living again.
I can therefore conclude that my experience was an ideal professional communications strategy adopted by the two hospitals I have visited.
Now you judge per the above account: Was my recovery a case of a supernatural occurrence or a simple health communications strategy?