A couple of months ago, the mother of a friend died. I had the opportunity to observe the local customs regarding death. A lot of it was confusing to me, appeared disrespectful to the family and the one who has just passed on, and it all gave me pause for a few days. When I discussed the differences in the way I have known people to handle the arrangements of burial and everything related with the way it is all handled here, plus the differences in attitudes, I was judged as being very cold.
This past weekend O had an attack of gastritis, during which he was bent double and sweating bullets. We went to the hospital emergency room and O's friend Mario went with us. When we arrived, I was told to wait in the car. In the shadows, literally. What a load of crap that was. When I went in, there was no doctor attending O, or anyone else. No one would talk to me; in fact, they completely ignored me. All the nurses were flitting around, comparing new shoes and uniforms. I looked in the waiting room, where other families were waiting, and had been waiting since before we arrived. No report of any progress, no information about patients was given, nothing. The families were completely left out of the loop there, waiting for hours with no idea of what's going on with their person or people in the emergency room. Their person could have died, and they wouldn't have known until it was convenient for one of the nurses to break away from the "best shoe" competition inside the treatment area.
I guess this weekend was my turn to think how very cold and uncaring this all appeared. Once again, I'm struck by how different things are. People seem to revere people once they're dead, but in the process of getting to the dead part, nobody gives a hoot. I asked O about this, and he said that the emergency room is very inconvenient. No one wants to work there, it's always on a weekend that things happen, it cuts into other people's time, weekends are party times and people resent being called to work, etc., so the care is less than it should be.
Oh my. God forbid we be inconsiderate and have a health "inconvenience" on the weekend. How very cold.