I hate hospitals.
I love hospitals.
If that sounds like a contradiction, it is not.
The hate comes from the reason one visits the hospital in the first place.
Most likely it’s due to an injury or an illness that would require treatment in the emergency room. Or, a visit to an ailing loved one who is suffering from an injury or illness.
Either way, it is not fun. Yet, worse would be no hospital or doctor nearby.
I’ve been on the receiving end of both of these scenarios too many times in my life.
My first visit to Abilene Memorial Hospital was in 1966.
You could argue that I did a stupid thing but hey, I was 10.
We were playing a game of hide-and-seek.
My plan was to climb a ladder onto the roof of the garage, jump onto the roof of the house, scale the roof and enter through a window.
Again, I was just 10.
Unfortunately, I fell off the garage roof, hitting my left wrist on the last rung of the ladder.
I waited a couple hours before my folks came home.
“It’s broken,” said my mother Nelda.
I had to wait a couple hours before the doctor could set my broken bone and put it in a cast.
My next trip to Abilene’s Memorial Hospital was three years later.
It was a Sunday and I was headed to Kansas City the next day to play in my first statewide golf tournament.
I never made it as an unskilled driver skidded on a gravel road, rolling the vehicle I was in.
Did I mention I was in the back seat of a convertible?
That, however, was the last time I spent a night at Abilene Memorial.
I wish I could say that about other hospitals.
In 2005, I felt a severe back pain. I know that exact date because I was in Eureka watching Giacomo win the Kentucky Derby. The pain was to the point that I could not drive. Sitting or lying down was impossible.
I called my sister Sandy, an RN, who suggested the emergency room. I had someone drive me there which was just down the street. Turns out that pain was caused by a kidney stone.
And there have been visits to loved ones that were being treated locally, some breathing their last breath of life in that facility.
It’s also a fact that some patients are walking around today because they were able to be treated locally. In an emergency, 30 minutes can be a long time while suffering a heart attack, stroke or aneurysm.
Health care now is in the news as we approach the 2020 election. Recently, five rural Kansas hospitals have closed.
Whether it be strengthening or replacing the Affordable Care Act or Medicare for all, what good is insurance if there are no hospitals or doctors close by for emergency treatment?
In this month of November, I am grateful for our local hospital.