Self-Service Hospital Care

January 7, 2015

Taiwanese hospitals are kind of like hostels.

Well, the crappy kind of hostels….

My dad got transferred out of intensive care and into the regular ward today. In the recovery progression, it’s a pretty big step, though he still has a long ways to go. The minimal requirement for transfer out of the ICU is for the patient to be fully conscious. And that he is… more or less. He can move his left arm and left leg somewhat, and he’s starting to regain movement in his right hand, though his right leg is still completely listless. He’s awake and alert, but is also operating on basically slow motion at this point. Everything he does is sort of at quarter speed right now.

It’s to be expected, but it’s weird to see, given how lively he used to be.

Anyway, the regular ward looks just like any hospital room in the States — you have a bed, a counter, a sink, a few curtains, and a wall of apparatuses that this doctor-of-non-medical-biology can only guess at.

Random fact I learned on this trip: the breathing tube goes in the mouth, and the feeding tube goes up the nostril. Counterintuitive, right?

Anyway, here’s the kicker: you’re responsible for purchasing all your own medical supplies and making sure the room is stocked up. If you start running low, they send you to the basement floor, where there’s a medical supply store. And you have to buy the stuff yourself and bring it back up to the room. They don’t even have hand towels in the bathroom. Basically, you get an empty furnished room, and you have to provide all your own “amenities,” so to speak. Like a cheap hostel.

Oh, and you’re also responsible for hiring your own caregiver to take care of the, well, caregiving stuff — feeding the patient, changing the bedding, pretty much any non-medical procedure, from what I can tell. So far, all I’ve seen the nurses do is… well, let’s just call it “supervise.”

So now, we get to deal with a whole new can o’ worms….

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