Wire. Cables. Everywhere.
At least you’re in the right ward.
While I sat in the foyer of Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, I glanced at the television above the reception desk. A 42-inch television. If it was meant to relax patients, it wasn’t the best idea to have it on CNN. In all fairness, the captions were on.
The weekend before my EMU appointment, I imagined a huge room – possibly with a roommate. I envisioned a large double-sided mirror where EMU staff views on-screen EEGs and video surveillance. An entire ward devoted to seizures, and seizures alone. Like a lab. And maybe some piped in late ‘80s music for the rooms. Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing Mr. Mister ballad?
Because, surely, the EMU wouldn’t be combined with another ward, such as orthopedic.
But it is.
When the neurology department left their ward, the EMU was left behind. Why? I have no idea. All I know is I’m tripping on cables in my tiny little room with a roommate in the orthopedic ward.
If doctors want to pull a seizure, known as an event in the EMU, they don’t need to withdrawal my medications. Just let me walk around my side of the room and shuffle around the bed. Whenever I maneuver around the cables and wires, I believe I deserve a medal.
But it’s dangerous for people experiencing seizures.
In the one EMU room, there are two televisions. It’s bizarre that bathroom fixtures are from the 1960s yet we have state of the art 32-inch LCD screens on a swinging metal arm. Another hazard. If someone’s watching television, they’re blocked from the 24/7 surveillance camera and they’re mid-seizure? That arm could smash them in the face. An accident laying in wait.
Surely, these additions were made to normalize the EMU experience. A former patient expressing their gratitude. Because they know waiting for an event can be pretty dull.
But falling on the floor doesn’t spice it up either.
In a world where we concentrate on WiFi and camembert, why can’t we make medical technology a priority? We don’t need televisions and leather couches. We need WiFi and camembert dollars spend on research.
When a unit is left in a broken wing – it’s a pop song, and it’s time to set the EMU free.
Doctors need dollars for studies in the EMU. And patients need a safe EMU.
A stand alone safe Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. With wheelchair accessible washrooms. Divided rooms larger than 12 feet by 6 feet. Efficient equipment so doctors can focus on their patients.
A unit solely for seizures. Not shared with the orthopedic ward.
Or one day an EMU patient might find themselves in that ward – not the unit.