I had the experience of spending last weekend in a hospital as an advocate and a translator for my dad. The journey started when we were sent from his doctor’s office to an emergency room and ended up admitted on a medical floor of one of the best hospitals in NYC. The service was very efficient and my dad received prompt care for his acute condition. It was the rest of his stay there that I took a particular issue with. I spent 4 days at his bedside making observations and trying to figure out how to best support my dad’s recovery.
Having worked in a hospital setting myself for many years and understanding the logistics of the institution of health care I wasn’t particularly surprised about the daily activities on the medical floor of this hospital. What made me pause, step back and look at the big picture was my recent education and understanding of true health. It was my Health Coaching education, which helped me shift my thinking about health care vs. sick care.
My dad spent 3 nights in the hospital and got a total of maybe 5 hr of sleep. His nights were continuously interrupted by announcements via PA system, housekeeping rolling large garbage bins in the hallways while chatting with their collegues, vital signs being taken at midnight and again at 5 am, and my personal favorite- doctors coming by and examining him at 2 am.
Sleep and proper nutrition are two main components in true healing and neither of them was being even remotely addressed in this hospital setting. It appears that the health care system totally dismisses the body’s own innate ability for heal and repair, not only by not providing a proper environment and nutritious foods, but even adding to the toxic load and interrupting sleeping patterns.
My dad’s breakfast tray had Frosty Flakes which basically is highly processed, nutrient stripped sugar and corn meal, while roll – again totally devoid of any nutrients, a pack of margarine, one hardboiled egg and coffee. I looked very hard to find anything on that tray that would provide live enzymes, micronutrients or natural vitamins and minerals. I failed terribly each morning. His lunch one day included a processed strawberry shortcake dessert which in the list of ingredients included high fructose corn syrup, Red 40 (which is strongly linked to cancer and a long list of other diseases), artificial flavors and lots of chemical preservatives. Again, between white rice and cooked to death vegetables- the micronutrients were just nowhere to be found.
How was my dad’s body supposed to get better in an environment where sleep was in 1-2 hr bursts and the food was in no way supporting any healing whatsoever?
The biggest joke of this whole experience was that there were signs all over the hallways saying: “Quiet Please, Healing Taking Place”.
Well, at least they have a sense of humor.