Dear Healthcare Facility: We Love This But We Hate That | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Dear Healthcare Facility: We Love This But We Hate That

pain scale at pain docNone of us love a needle stick, but some technicians do it so well, you can hardly feel it. Last week, a woman took several vials of blood without even asking me to squeeze a damn rubber ball. It was the first time a nurse remembered I have RA and adjusted her procedure! Thank you! (It helps that I have great big veins but I’m used to the eye roll because I won’t squeeze the ball hard enough. Don’t Like.)

I’d waited hour at the lab when they registered me as another Kelly Young. A receptionist asked 3 times, “But aren’t you Kelly M. Young?” “No.” When she realized I was sure, she apologized. Another first for me. I hated the wasted time, but isn’t it much better when we can act like we’re all just people… WHO WILL BY THE WAY, ALL BE PATIENTS ONE DAY?
1. Hate: Toilets low enough to be a toddler potty seat.
2. Love: Healthcare workers who smile.
3. Hate: Lab chairs so high up we are supposed to climb up on them. Lab chairs = high chairs. Again with the toddler thing.
4. Love: Doctors & nurses who answer our questions respectfully.
5. Hate: Doors with the spring tightened so that we can’t open them. Especially if we need to come out of a room.
6. Love: Anyone who says, “I’m sorry.”
7. Hate: Medical assistants who insist they must know more about my disease than I do just because they work in a medical facility.
8. Love: Employees who remember our names. Or at least believe us when we tell them.
9. Hate: Dirty bathrooms. Dirty sinks. Dirty anything. Can we use more of high-priced healthcare to fight illness by fighting germs?
10.Love: I want to bake muffins (if I could anymore) for anyone in healthcare who uses a gentle touch. Even a gentle handshake. Why is that so rare?

What about you?

I’ll bet you have some answers that are even funnier than mine – or more significant to your care. What do you wish a healthcare facility administrator would change TODAY?

Recent happy surprises for RA Warrior!

  1. RA Warrior was quoted in this Prepared Patient Forum piece “Accommodations for Chronic Conditions.”
  2. RA Warrior was featured in Best Practices in Healthcare Social Media “Chair of Cheer” an honor not usually assigned to patients.
  3. RA Warrior was featured on the Swaglove Blog in “How t-shirts helped create a community” telling how t-shirts are more than tools for awareness – they help create a sense of community so we know we’re not alone.

Recommended reading:

Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/

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26 thoughts on “Dear Healthcare Facility: We Love This But We Hate That

  • October 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I hat unpadded chairs int he wait room.. this kills our bones…

    • October 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      I know. Like “director’s chairs” at a back center. And some very uncomfortable wheel chairs even at these places. Fail.

  • October 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Hate: The lab tech who finds the vein after looking for forty forevers, declares that I am dehydrated, does not offer water, sticks me there anyway and blows the vein – leaving a huge blue spot on my inner arm. Then he begins the search for another “good” vein – “how about the hand”, I say, “I see some big ones right there.” “Oh, you’re right – I can get that easily.” Tiny butterfly needle – and he still hurts me like crazy. Why is that?
    Love: The other lab tech who always finds the vein the first time and I never feel it much at all. Thank you!
    Hate: Sign on the window that says the doctor is running 60 minutes behind and it’s 4 o’clock. The office closes at 5 and there are only 2 other people in the waiting room. I ask the new receptionist if the Dr. is still running 60 minutes behind. I am told – she’ll have to ask his nurse. Even though it it obvious that there are very few people left to see, and they may be seeing one of the other Drs., not mine, she cannot tell me if the 60 minute wait is still in effect. So I ask again and mention that there are only 2 other people out there. And again she tells me she’ll have to ask the Drs. nurse. I prefer a receptionist with brains that can work well and help her think for herself at such a time.
    Love: When I check in, the receptionist greets me with a smile, remembers me, and does not ask me the same questions that are already answered in the computer program she is looking at. We have been doing this for 4 years now, they really ought to know these things and some do. I love them.

  • October 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I hate when you rush in for your appt., ask them where the bathroom is because you’ve put it off for too long getting there, and then after you use it they say “here’s a cup, pee into it for a sample please” Why can’t they tell you before?

    • October 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      Yes! If a sample is needed, the chart could be flagged for it when you arrive. It could save time for everyone since we usually wait so long anyway. Good one.

  • October 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I love this! My additions – I was just here 3 months ago and nothing’s changed, can’t that be sufficient? Or do I really have to go over my info bit by bit again? AND, “No, my elbows really don’t straighten all the way. Why don’t you believe me? I’m not trying to be a difficult patient. Please just use the back of my hand for bloodwork, and believe me when I tell you I am relaxed for my BP check, even though my elbow is bent.” LOL

    • October 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      Wonder why that is?? Why don’t they believe? Who would lie about that? Why assume we are just being difficult? I cannot understand this culture in healthcare of no benefit of the doubt for the patient.

  • October 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Love: doctors and technicians who take their time to provide appropriate cre
    Hate: the oh-so-obvious roll of the eyes when you ask a challenging question
    Love: doctors who see you as a human being rather than a clinical specimen and numbers and who explore all the options to investigate what you’re presenting with.

    • October 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      Betty, I was writing about the eye-roll the other day too. Do they think we don’t notice? Do people think it’s acceptable? It’s actually rude and insulting. But we have to “act” like we don’t notice it.

  • October 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    LOVE: my rheum doc who has a great sense of humor!
    LOVE: that the lab vampire comes into the room to draw blood instead of my having to go to the lab
    LOVE: that the lab vampire is so good she can hit the vein first try every time!
    HATE: redundant questions
    LOVE: receptionist who smiles and is nice
    LOVE: that my rheum doc SINGS as he walks down the hall!
    HATE: getting teary when I talk about my Mom – but
    LOVE: that my rheum doc will hand me a tissue and hold my hand while I get myself together

    I’m gonna pingback this post!

  • October 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Love- my doctors staff knows my name and knows i drive almost 2 hours to get there and are understanding when i am a few min late
    Love – doctors and nurses witha sence of humor so when i make a joke (which I do often) they laugh instead of just starign at me

    Hate- doctors that think they are god and talk down to you
    Hate- doctors that say your RA factor is neg. so it must all be in your head.

  • October 21, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Number 7 hit home with me. During my initial visit to the ER because of the pain I was having in the top of my left wrist led me to think that this was different from the pain I was experiencing from carpal tunnel and maybe it was an indication of something serious, the triage nurse insisted that all I had was carpal tunnel even though I had suffered with it for 5 years and she had never had it. She even went so far as to search me out later in my exam room to say “I told you so” after the ER Dr. gave me a tentative diagnosis of tendonitis. Needless to say 3 months and many blood tests later it wasn’t carpal tunnel or tendonitis. It was our old nemesis RA. Oh how I long to find that nurse and wag my bumpy, bent finger at her and her audacity…..if only I could.

    • October 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Y’know what I hate? How MANY people have told me similar stories. Why would they want to minimize our symptoms & prove us wrong? What victory is there to “win’?

  • October 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Love: comfy chairs in waiting rooms at rheumatologists and orthos. hello?
    Hate: wooden chairs in waiting rooms at rheumatologists and orthos. helllllo?

    Love: comfy head pads for an mri
    Hate: hard plastic to rest my elbows against during mris. need the head pads for my elbows, yes.

    those are the only 2 i could think of today.

  • October 21, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    ohh, didn’t see yours shannon. yes, that’s a huge pet peeve of mine. it’s actually more than a pet peeve and i love it when i get to fill out surveys so i can type in all caps about uncomfy chairs. you’d think doctors would think about that, i mean, they went to school for years and stuff. helllllllllo?

  • October 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Yesterday I got a Prednisone injection in my Bursae by a really old doctor. He could barely walk, had trouble loading the needle and I was terrified. All for naught as it was probably the best injection ever. I didn’t even feel it. Now I’m hoping the stuff performs it’s magic and let’s me walk painfree for a while…ciao

  • October 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    LOVE: ER nurses who lower the bed without asking.
    HATE: Nurses who won’t help you tie your gown because they don’t think you really need help. (I’ve been wondering if it’s just because I’m young. Would they have the same reaction if an 80-year-old asked for help?)

    LOVE: Nurses/Doctors/Orderlies etc. who notice you walk slower than they do and slow down to chat with you.
    HATE: Receptionists who roll their eyes when they see you coming. (Who cares if I was here three days ago because my lungs are inflammed? I can’t breathe *again* today so shouldn’t I seek health care for it every time it happens?)

  • October 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Hate: the pain scale – It’s meaningless. How can say what number my pain is when it changes several times throughout the day??

    Hate: waiting and waiting and waiting in a tiny exam room. Do they really expect me to be in a good mood after sitting there for 30 nminutes?

    Love: the fact that I’m blessed enough to have time and resources to even go to doctors. I realize every day that there are women who have pain way worse then mine who are juggling full time jobs plus kids plus a whole lot more. Despite not being able to move my hands very well, despite not being able to walk the dog for more than ten minutes, despite the mysterious gastro-intestinal problems that plague me all day every day, I’m a lucky girl.

  • October 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    LOVE: Doctors who really read all the current research and aren’t afraid to apply it appropriately
    HATE: Doctors and nurses who blame you for your disease
    LOVE: The other patients I meet during my infusions
    HATE: When they jiggle the IV needle in my arm to get the meds “flowing better.” Ow
    LOVE: When my friends offer to bring over meals or take my kids places without me having to ask
    HATE: When people say “But you look great!” Who cares, I feel like I got hit by a bus.

  • October 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

    LOVE: not having to change into a gown for my exam
    HATE: having to climb up onto the table for the exam
    LOVE: a nurse who chit chats with me and is friendly
    HATE: nurse who rushes to take me to a room, and doesn’t slow down for me (you are in a rheumatologists office for Pete’s sake!)
    LOVE: not feeling rushed while talking to the dr.
    HATE: filling out redundant forms the dr. never looks at.

  • January 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I hate that my Rheumatologist gets angry with me because I won’t take his drugs

    I love the Rheumatology Specialist Nurse who really listens and who sent a referral for me to see an occupational therapist and a podiatrist

    I hate huge heavy doors I have to open using my back

    I love disability parking spaces next to the door

  • October 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I had the “squeezy ball discussion” with the lab tech last week. She said squeeze this ball hard please,I said ” i guess you forgot I have RA, and today I cannot squeeze this ball” She said you must, I said I can’t, she finally looked at my big veins and said “I guess i could try” success. This week with this flare I’m in, squeezing that ball compares to lifting a car. This week I really hate RA.

  • October 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    OH yea, I love my Rheumatologist, she understands, cares, spends all the time needed, talks everything through, helps me figure out how to do what has to be done with no insurance and no income. She has a heart of gold and was truly sent by God.

  • January 17, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Love: MDs who have someone tell you they are running late and how long it might be

    Hate: offices that let you sir for 30-69-90min. It’s incredibly painful for me to sit down for more than a couple minutes. Let alone not knowing if I’ll ever get out of there

    Love love love: my hip surgeon’s office would call me in advance if they were running late. They let me know if I had an extra 30 minutes to an hour before I should be there.

    Hate: 24 hour news/political channels in the waiting room. HGTV, Weather, food network, DIY, test pattern – anything but


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