8 Hours in a Medical Marvel

Most people like to complain. I like to think I’m not one of them. Okay, maybe sometimes – but I try to keep things in perspective, like the motto on a sign my dad used to have, propped on his dresser: “I was sad because I had no shoes… until I met a man who had no feet.”

On Wednesday I spent a few hours in the Emergency Department of the new superhospital in our city, Montreal. Its official name is the McGill University Health Centre, and it comprises several hospitals that were previously in separate locales and, for the most part, in dire condition due to their advanced age.

We just call it, fondly, “The Glen,” since it’s built on what was known as the “Glen Yard” – a huge railway yard owned by CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway).

The reason I was at The Glen that day isn’t what I wanted to write about. Actually, I was having what felt like heart-attack symptoms, was seen, tested, and must go for follow-up ultrasounds. My ticker seems okay (except for “inferior Q waves” – whatever they are). We’ll know more after the scans.

But oh! The hospital!

I was in the section referred to as the Royal Victoria Hospital, which used to be located further east. For the uninitiated, it looked like this:

Royal Victoria Hospital, est. 1893
The former Royal Victoria Hospital, built in 1893.
photo (cc) by Vincci

But on October 5, 2016, I had a chance to see, inside and out, that the above venerable-but-badly-bruised old thing was now a part of this beauty:

MUHC "superhospital"
The McGill University Health Centre, open for business in 2015.
photo (cc) by DarkFireTaker

Now, I have been in more than one hospital in our fair city. Too many, actually. This is because, well, I’m human, and composed of imperfect bits. 🙂

But never have I been so impressed with anything approaching the extraordinary friendliness, modernity, practicality and sheer beauty of this place.

From the nurse who attended to me (Hi there, Max!) to the doctor (Here’s looking at you, Christine Meyers!) to the gentle aides, one of whom brought me a blanket (heated!) when I said I felt cold, and another who – when I finally was allowed to eat something around 10:30 p.m. – brought me a sandwich, juice (“Apple or orange?” he asked me) and container of pudding – the staff could not have been kinder or more accommodating.

The room? Put up your hands, those of you who are used to emergency rooms where you are put in a tiny cubbyhole with a flimsy curtain separating you from your suffering neighbours on both sides. At The Glen, welcome to your own private emergency room! It can be accessed via a wide door to the public corridor, and on the opposite side, a sliding door is for medical staff only. There is also a window for them to look in on you if necessary. There is a blind for privacy, as well. The light is not glaring.

The ambience is calm, quiet. The decor (when did one ever notice decor in a hospital?) is done in soft, soothing, pastel colours. My room was the palest blue. It was furnished with not one, but two chairs, including an inviting armchair – on which rested my dear daughter, Kathryn*, during the hours I was a patient.

If you happen to look up at the wall behind the gurney, you’ll see an awesome array of high-tech instruments, readouts and the like. They are intimidating to my layman’s eyes, but I’m sure that, just as with the components in the cockpit of an aircraft, they are richly helpful to staff trained to use them.

Next time I need to go to the hospital, I hope it’s The Glen.


*Hearty thanks and love go to daughter Kathryn Presner for her support, and transportation home. So glad she was available! I love you, Kath! ❤

9 thoughts on “8 Hours in a Medical Marvel

  1. Whew! I’m glad you didn’t have a heart attack. That was wonderful reading about your fantastic care in a very modern facility. I’ve had my share of hospital stays, and like you, I was always surrounded with marvelous health professionals. Take good care of yourself. The world needs you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ellie when I typed all my silly comments, I had not read this article ! I am so glad you are okay and hope you will stay this way ! Bless you for allowing me to fool around with words and exchanging ”les jokes” with you . Not everybody understand my ”type ” of humour…you do and I appreciate when I have the opportunity to ”chew your ears” Thanks my friend, stay well. [mistake : understand should have an ”s”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks dear lady! You’re a lovely person with a big ❤️! I appreciate your Facebook comments, “silly” or not! Aside from this – now you know to click in the link and read my articles first! 😀🥂


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