I have spent 45+ years of my life in the quail hunting business. Due to Martha’s valiant fight with cancer, I have also spent a great deal of time in multiple hospitals in the past year. The one thing that I have quickly learned is that it is much easier to break into a hospital than to break out of one. We always get word that the doctor is going to dismiss us today. We are usually told that around 8:00-9:00AM. Then the paper forms start raining down, and each of the 8-10 people that we have seen come in for us to sign some paperwork. I once asked what would happen if I refused to sign one of the forms, I was sweetly told that I would stay incarcerated until I signed all of the forms. My response from then on was, “just give me the pen to sign.” For all I know I may have signed away Cader IV’s birthrights.
Now just imagine that you have just arrived at Riverview, and there is an entire covey of people with clipboards and forms for you to sign. You are not even allowed to go to the bathroom before you sign all of the forms. I keep trying to tell these folks that we are not falling apart, but we are nicked and banged up a good bit due to the gremlins in our house moving the furniture around during the darkest hours.
OK, you have finally left emergency room hell, and are in a real hospital room. Everyone is happy and chipper except you. And do you know why they are happy? It’s because they know that their mission in life is to make certain that they wake you up at least hourly to do something. Now THAT would make a great quail hunting alibi, “I missed the bird because you never allowed me to get any rest. ”I do not have any idea about what a nurse makes as a salary, but we have yet to find a nurse that was not helpful and polite. The problem with all hospitals are the patient-to-nurse’s ratio. I know that Martha had to depend upon me at times to drag the contraption that had all of the IV stuff running through her to the bathroom because she simply could not wait any longer for a nurse; so I would unplug it from the wall, and drag it with one hand while supporting her in the other hand.
I am certain there are times when our guides would have liked to lead someone by the hand to get him where he wants him, but you will never see a guide just disappear for 30 minutes. I do believe that most hospitals need a better patient to nurse ratio except for teaching hospitals such as Augusta University Hospital. At Augusta, they have big coveys of doctors descending upon you early in the morning and late in the afternoon. There is usually 3-6 of them, and they are all in some year of training. They are all very attentive—and are very good at what they do and the questions they ask until the Big Dog whom they all work under walks in to visit. I have had to bite my tongue almost off at times with these very good young people, but all I can think of is that I have boots that are older than they are. When I was young, and would guide a little bit, all of the senior guides would give me tips. I thought that they were old because they were all in there 40’s. These children are all in their late 20’s or early 30’s. As I stated they are all very young, but they have not lived long enough to know what is wrong with me. Maybe that is because they are all in training to be OBGYN oncologists.
Martha is doing good and is in good hands. I think all of our guests this year have been in good hands also. Most of them could not believe what a good job our crew had done with cleaning up our hunting courses after the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael. Now let’s close by going back to the first paragraph. If I told you that we would be ready to take you to your plane in 30 minutes, and it ended up being 5 hours, you would not be a happy camper. We start trying to break out of a hospital at 9:00 but we hardly ever get out before 3:00PM or later. We take great pride in always being on time to early with our guests arrivals and departures.
It has been a great season. We will close up shop Saturday evening, and start burning woods next week. May God bless all of you with a great spring and summer. We will look forward to seeing y’all again next season!