The Absence of Roses

Here at Crouse Hospital,

  • I have requested an immunology consult.  The hospitalist has told me that he doesn’t do things like that.  I have sent messages via three different routes to the Director of Hospitalists.  She has chosen not to see me.  My need for a specialist is being ignored.
  • Insulin is given after meals.  Supper at Crouse is over by 6:00 p.m.  Despite repeated requests, last night I could not get my insulin.  I gave up at 8:30 p.m.
  • I requested physical therapy.  A physical therapist came, gave me printed exercise sheets, and left.  She did not assess my ability to do exercises or watch while I did the exercises to see if I was able.  I did the exercises twice by myself.  The second time I went too far, pulled a leg muscle, and spent yesterday afternoon in considerable discomfort.
  • On average, when I push my call bell it is not answered for fifteen minutes.  If they are short staffed then no aide is assigned to me and the wait is apt to be longer—even when I need help getting to the bathroom.
  • I have been put on ALC (Alternate Level of Care) which apparently means that they no longer intend to provide care.  I am waiting for a nursing home bed, where maybe they at least will give me my medication.

Because I am the healthiest person in acute care, I am not being given the minimal care that I would receive in a nursing home.  Crouse Hospital has stopped caring for me.

Three days ago, hundreds of people read my blog “A Search for the Roses” ( ).  It was about depression.

The trigger for depression is the perception of powerlessness.  You are designed to get angry when you cannot find a way to get your most fundamental needs met.  In Crouse Hospital, if I express my anger then nurses and aides snap at me, criticize me and blame me.  If you are denied the right to express your anger then there is no option except to turn it inward.  Depression is anger turned against the self instead of against the troubling other.

Crouse Hospital has 2700 employees; I am one small, old sick person.  I feel powerless to change the way I am being treated.  I am rather inclined to think that is an accurate perception of reality.

The good news is that now I have virtually unlimited credit to use in the hospital cafeteria.  The bad news is that I am too depressed to get there.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
This entry was posted in American medical industry, Depression, Health Care, Medical care, Powerlessness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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