A recognizable distinction, generally unmentioned because it is politically incorrect, was exposed when the late, great comedy writer Jerry Belson courageously opined:
“There ought to be two Writers Guilds – the Writers Guild, and the Good Writers Guild.”
Not all writers are equally gifted. Was what he was saying. (Implying – correctly – that he – and ostensibly his colleagues – deserved a separate – and loftier – categorization.)
Deservedly or undeservedly, people are always looking for a distinction.
And then there’s ME.
If you are in the “profit” business – and I am unaware of any businesses that aren’t, except for those “not-for-profit” arrangements, which I have never been able to understand – you will exploit that possibly innate desire for distinction, and successfully cash in on it.
Even in a hospital.
It was therefore with little surprise, therefore – and only minimal irritation; I am human after all – that I discovered the elegant brochure provided by Saint John’s (where I recently spent seven memorable days), apprising recent arrivals to their Emergency Room waiting area of an upgraded hospital care program.
Say hello to the VIP Caritas Suites, situated on the edifice’s top floor, segregated from the bothersome moaning riff-raff and the questionable competence of the hospital staff below.
(I have been told that “Caritas” connotes “expensive” in Spanish. I guess they were too embarrassed to announce their distinguishing service program in English.)
The brochure’s calligraphized lettering trumpets the VIP Caritas Suites’ (at an additional cost of five hundred dollars per day) declared “Mission Statement”:
privacy quality comfort
the word “quality” deliberately highlighted, leading concerned regular hospital patients to wonder,
“What the heck am I getting?”
I cannot answer that. I do know that you – which includes me – are not getting this:
(Quoting directly from the brochure)
“The VIP Carnitas Suites at Saint John’s Health Center are a premier patient care unit that offer expert, innovative medical care combined with highly qualified, compassionate nursing care.”
“So what are they saying there? They get expert, innovative medical care combined with qualified compassionate nursing care and we get substandard, behind-the-times treatment combined with poorly trained nurses who hate their jobs and despise the patients?”
“Additionally, all patients have access to the world renowned physicians for which Saint John’s is known.”
“While we get, ‘What country are you from, again?’”
The following is a sampling of the “Amenities” (selected for comedic purposes, but none of them are made up.) There are the basics, of course – Private unit. Larger rooms. Concierge style service. But, in addition, the VIP Caritas Suites offer:
(My non-VIP Caritas Suites view was the hospital’s parking area.)
(As opposed my linen, which was visibly threadbare and detectably scratchy.)
Monogrammed towels and robes
(I was unclear whether the monogrammed initials were the patient’s or the hospital’s.)
Fine soaps and skin care products
(I – with apologies – stunk for an entire week.)
Personal in-room refrigerator
(Since I could barely get out of bed, that particular “amenity” was of minimal importance. Who wants to pay extra to look at a refrigerator?)
(So if you desired you can read the obituaries of patients who succumbed on the less fortunate floors beneath you. And think, “There but for the grace of Cash go I.”) (Was that too rough? Keep in mind I am still suffering.)
I understand. “You pay more; you get more.” It’s America – that’s the way it works. (Ditto in, like, Saudi Arabia. I don’t know, is that place a democracy?)
But come on. You are seriously ill. You want the finest doctors and the most capable nurses. (They did not mention it in the brochure, but I bet their nurses are also prettier. Even the guys.)
I will concede the
Large screen LCD TVs with Video-on-Demand
Clock radio with iPod dock (whatever that is.)
But when critical health issues are concerned, do we not all deserve an equal shot at comparable treatment?
(The assumption here is that you odds are better if you pay more. Which you would assume would be the case. Though not always, I imagine. I wonder how much you’d have to pay for “Guaranteed Survival”?)
My less than “renowned” physician relievedly pulled me through. But what was he thinking, it occurred to me?
“If I fix this guy, maybe they’ll move me upstairs”?
Okay, it’s an easy target. But when you are still on the mend,
You consider the targets within reach.