I have had several experiences as a patient ranging from excellent to very poor. The best experience I had was in January when I was admitted through the ER of my local community hospital to their telemetry unit at the main hospital 13 miles away. In both settings, the staff were attentive, kind, and kept me well-informed of things as they occurred. I would also add that the hospital experience was "seamless"--no time delays, no waiting for the call light to be answered, and everything done very efficiently. The nurses told me that the patient loads were reasonable and that they enjoyed working there. On the other hand, the worst experience I had was in my own hospital 15 years ago, when I was admitted for viral meningitis. I was sent to a surgical unit instead of neuro, which may have had something to do with it, but I waited long periods of time for medication, call lights, etc. I also found out that I was supposed to have an IV, since I was dehydrated and unable to keep anything down. In the 5 days I was hospitalized, no one started one, and I was essentially NPO for about 4 days of that time--lost 13 pounds! The icing on the cake was when I was in the bathroom, bent over the toilet, unable to move from the nuchal rigidity and wretching, and called for the nurse for an anti-emetic. She wandered in about 10 minutes later and said, "What do you need?". I told her and she came back about 5 minutes later, said, "This is gonna' burn a little" as she injected 10 mg. of Compazine into my gluteus. She turned and left the room and was not to be seen or heard from again that shift. Mind you, I was still standing over the toilet at a 90 degree angle feeling like my head was going to explode! I put the call light on again and the LPN came in and helped me back to bed. I left the hospital that time with no discharge instructions, a prescription for Tylenol #3, and my father to accompany me to the car. Shortly after that experience, the hospital developed a patient-centered model of care, and it became a much more patient-friendly environment, thank God!