Solomon McCown Senior Vice President Michal Regunberg leads the agency’s Healthcare practice. She recently required some testing, which resulted in a four-day stay at a Boston hospital. This is her story.

There I was. Waiting. Waiting. For one test after another so doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) could correctly diagnose what had happened to me and why. I had stumped them. Test after test had come back leaving them scratching their heads. And because it’s a busy academic medical center, scheduling me for the various tests that needed to happen was not a quick process. So, while feeling fine, I was forced to stay for three nights just for the tests.  Certainly, I am not alone. In most cases, patients are at the mercy of the doctors and nurses and stay in their rooms, waiting, bored and frustrated.

After two days, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Here I was at “Hotel MGH,” having not taken a shower or washed my hair in two days. It was time to take back some control. With no chance of getting any tests on Day Three of my stay, I took a shower, got out of the “johnny,” got into regular clothes and went down with a friend and an MGH employee to the cafeteria for a healthy salad that filled me up—a break from the terrible hospital food. Even with dietary restrictions, hospital food can be better. The Massachusetts Health Council has proven that with their hospital chef contest every year as part of its Annual Gala. After lunch, a friend met me and we walked around the hospital and found another cafe and spent some time talking and looking outside. Even though I had a room with a view, not being able to go outside for four days was beginning to get to me.

 

My friend had to go back to work. I, on the other hand, discovered there is a salon at MGH (who knew?), so I made an appointment and had my hair washed and dried. I was beginning to feel like a human again.

 

I recognize not every patient is as fortunate as I am, to be able to get up and walk around. But those who can might think about asking their doctors for a little “recreation time.” If it’s safe, it may be a way of giving patients a little more control of their lives when they feel they have none.