Don’t be a Curmudgeon!

Hospitals have their own cultures. Like casinos, there is no day or night as staff continuously arrive at a patient’s side with thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, needles, and orders to move a patient. Such intrusions can bring out the curmudgeon self in the best of us. 



When I was in a hospital years ago for my first hip replacement, I was amazed by the behavior of some patients. They were rude, demanding, entitled, and loud. I thought, who would want to treat them? Of course, that is the problem right there. Curmudgeon behavior is counterproductive. Common sense suggests that if you treat the staff well, they will care more about you. Your job is to get well; boorish behavior works against that goal.

Seriously ill people can’t be proactive and strategic in their roles as patients, but most of us can help our cause and leave feeling satisfied with our hospital stays. So, what should one do? The answer is not complicated.

  1. Give positive feedback.
  2. Be polite.
  3. Keep complaints to a minimum.
  4. Know the names of your caregivers.
  5. Use humor when you can ( I had a nurse who kept taking blood and I ended up calling her the Vampire Nurse. We shared  a lot of laughs).
  6. Ask questions. Accurate information can take the edge off a bad mood. It is easier to tolerate a procedure if you understand why it is done.
  7. Have an advocate who can help you if you can’t get the necessary information.
  8. Nowadays, most hospitals send surveys about a patient’s experience. Fill them out. Several times I have written letters to hospitals with specifics about positive experiences. Yes, the staff gets paid, but who doesn’t like to hear a positive comment?

Patienthood is an opportunity for creative expression. Doing it right can turn a potentially scary, unpleasant situation into one of mastery and accomplishment.

A Good Walk

Drive to the Lumberyard Center in Encinitas, having left another car in Del Mar on Highway 101. From Encinitas, walk south along the ocean. In 7.5 miles, you will reach your destination in Del Mar. Have lunch and bask in a job well done. The walk features excellent views, occasional dolphins, happy bikers and walkers, funky shops, and California sunshine.

Seniors Beware!

Gyms and trainers are positive resources at any age. Activity fosters health. Keep active and live longer. Who can argue with these ideas?

Older people need to watch out for young personal trainers who bring a boot camp attitude to sessions. Personal trainers are not physical therapists who must earn a doctor of physical therapy degree and pass a state licensure exam. I have had several friends who suffered injuries during sessions with overzealous trainers.

It is good to discuss goals and methods before beginning sessions with a trainer. Stay in control of the process. It is your health that is at stake!!

A Robust Hike

Iron Mountain trail with fence in Poway, California.

Walk, walk, walk. It is excellent exercise and easy on the joints. It is suitable for us seniors who frequently have old injuries. Here is a robust hike for you. Iron Mountain is in Poway at Highway 67 and Poway Road. There is a large parking lot before a trail that leads to the summit. The track is walker-friendly and doesn’t get steep until the last quarter mile. The views from the top are spectacular. The hike is very popular so go during the week if possible. In season watch out for rattlesnakes and the heat!