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HCH part of area’s forward progress

HCH part of area’s forward progress
HCH part of area’s forward progress
Judy O'Bannon

I want to give a grateful shout out to the Emergency Room at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon. I entered there recently as a droopy body, and they greeted me with warmth and professionalism. I left there with confidence in their care and instructions for my next steps.

If you read my last column, I did not have a positive experience upon my trip to an Emergency Room in Indianapolis just a week prior. My body was giving me the same problems at both hospitals, but the treatment and my appraisal of each couldn’t have been more different.

I know the trend is for folks to think they need to leave rural areas for the big cities if they want to have the best opportunities for a good life. It is easy to understand how people follow the increased work opportunities that manufacturing and community services provide. In the past, one thing seemed to lead to another. More factories led to better roads, to a greater population, to increased services and a better tax base for civic improvements.

In the 21st century, opportunities are no longer totally dependent upon physical geography.

When I was a young mother, we had to drive through “the Knobs” to reach a pediatrician in Shelbyville, Ky. Today, with up-to-date computer technology and well-trained staff, excellent medical care is right here in Southern Indiana. It took a mere phone call on my cell phone to transfer medical test results between Indianapolis and Corydon.

There is a lot to be said for a large diverse population in an urban area.

I love the variety of people, institutions and work opportunities. But, through my experiences in two emergency rooms during the past month, I have seen the benefits of professional down-home care in a smaller setting. I have always believed that rural towns will again become the desired home to a great number of people. We just have to strengthen our communities to be ready for the growth.

I do not believe that I had to sacrifice a bit medically to get the kind human touch I received in our local hospital. I wrote in this column a couple of weeks ago that the system was out of whack in many of our institutions, large hospitals to note. By contrast, the system at Harrison County Hospital recently struck me as totally integrated and efficient. They ran more tests on me than the gigantic hospital in Indy. The doctors actually talked with me, explained what they were doing and listened to my questions and concerns.

It was not for lack of staff that the Indianapolis hospital fell short. I saw seven doctors, seven nurses, one nurse practitioner and a hospitality greeter. However, they didn’t seem to communicate with each other. When I voiced my concern about effectiveness of their care, they said a questionnaire would follow. No follow up has arrived. By contrast, within a matter of hours, I received a follow-up email asking about my experiences at the Harrison County Emergency Room.

It was in the creature comfort zones that I saw the biggest difference between the two facilities. Let me be clear. The staff in both hospitals was very nice — yes, extremely nice — but, in all other factors, in Harrison County, the system and process seemed to just make better sense in providing comfort and service. The nurses sensed what would make a patient feel better and provided the needed treatment. I didn’t lie amidst a bunch of high-tech gadgets and conditions that I had no instructions as to how to use. The room in our local hospital was outfitted with what materials were needed and it was clean. I cannot say that was the case in Indianapolis.

Sure, we have growing pains in Southern Indiana and often we don’t agree on how to solve them. But, we stand in a good position to move forward. Remember, the enemy is not someone who looks different, speaks and thinks differently or worships differently. Right now, discord and misconceptions are the pitfalls we face.

We are going to have to move on the inadequacies in some of our infrastructure problems, such as limited and aging water lines, lack of thorough high-speed internet and highway routing. If we refuse to vilify those who have different approaches to issues and start discussions with a broad base of our residents, we have a real shot at a great run on progress.

Let’s stop and realize what just happened at Light Up Corydon. Hundreds of volunteers had planned an extensive full day of events. However, a heavy, cold rain blew into town. Some things had to be canceled or moved, but I could find out what was going on by looking at the Facebook feeds the committee posted. That evening, I dropped in stores and thanked merchants for their help in making our downtown alive and active. The response was consistently of having a good day despite the weather. At 7 that evening, the restaurants were full, the town square was active and even the free buggy rides were going. Everyone hung in there, made adjustments and created a great event.

We have the momentum for progress started. Let’s be gratified and hopeful as we enter the holiday season.

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