Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tre(s) jolie: Can you spell Ethic$$$?

“Sir, just let me take your vitals.”

The nurse—we’ll call her Priscilla—fiddled with the computer as she strapped the blood pressure cuff to Carl’s arm. She reset the computer once, twice, a third time, mumbling under her breath about how the unit wasn’t working right. Nobody else had difficulty with it in the 10 days he’d been in that room, so I instantly suspected that Prissy might be a problem. Just my wonderful grasp of the obvious kicking in again.

P woman finally got the BP and his oxygenation but forgot about his temperature. Perhaps it wasn’t a problem, even if he was being treated with large doses of antibiotics for pneumonia.

I felt slightly uneasy when I left for the night, but I felt slightly uneasy every night when I left the hospital. There was always something that seemed to go awry: blood sugars that dropped, inexplicably, into the 30s in the middle of the night (maybe they should have held off on the insulin?), breakfast trays that arrived with foods high in potassium (his potassium was so high after surgery he was moved into ICU because they feared a heart attack), test results that had been lost in the system for seven months and indicated a serious problem.

When I left, Prissy gave me her best condicloying smile (my word for condescending and cloying) because now she had the customer, er, patient to herself.

When I returned the next morning, Carl handed me an envelope on which a website had been scrawled.

It seems that in administering his medications, Prissy remarked to him about how many he took. He said he, indeed, took several meds but that he, indeed, had several medical conditions for which they were warranted.

She smiled brightly and told him if only he would try Tre, he probably wouldn’t need all those medications.

Tre, she told him, was a “biotactive nutritional essence” from GNLD. “It’s not just pomegranate juice,” she told him. It has lots of anti-oxidants and, of course, all GNLD products are “based in
nature, backed by science.”

Carl, who plays a lot of poker and has an excellent sucker detector, asked where one might get such a product.

What luck. It turned out Prissy was a GNLD distributor.

Surely, he would like some Tre, only $54.95 a bottle. He could afford it, she was certain, because he lived in those million dollar homes in the hills. (He doesn’t; he lives in a two-bedroom bungalow that could double as a bomb shelter, which I know to be true since I live here too.) So she wrote down her website.

Carl didn’t buy any Tre. And I don’t know if Prissy made her goals or got the $3,000 bonus or won that fabulous vacation to an exotic locale.

But I do know that, having seen the health care system up close, first with my parents and now with him, that I have run into a few scoundrels, including the nurse practitioner who cared for my mom and whose licensed was finally yanked for falsifying records.

I thought that was outrageous. But that was before I met Prissy.


  1. I hope you turned her into the ethics committee. Her actions were inappropriate, unprofessional, and WRONG. I can't say that it surprises me though. Hospitals are just corrupt corporations and people like this fit so well into the system. I'm sorry all of your hospital experiences have been so awful between Granny and Carl. I hope that for every Prissy, there is one good health care worker who makes a difference in Carl's care.

  2. I had no idea you were the queen of dark comedy! Very funny piece. I hate that they're putting you guys through this. But I love that you're blogging about it. You go, girl!