Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life On the Inside

Many of you know that my husband Terry had to have surgery last week. We are no strangers to this as he has had many with his health issues. So you would think that I would be well prepared for the hospital "experience".

Now don't get me wrong. The hospital stay was normal, as well as hospital stays go. There were no debacles, emergencies, or mishaps. I applaud those who work at health care centers because they really do have to take care of patients at their worst. All the nursing staff should receive badges of honor. I know that I wouldn't be able to do it and I am very appreciative of the care that Terry received.

All of your vitals are signs are monitored, every hour, even at 2 am. It's important. They have a written record of every bodily fluid known to man. The doctor makes all the calls regarding your care and nothing is done with out his approval. After all he has the knowledge to make the most educated decision. The paitent is housed in a 8' x 10' room with basically a bed and a toilet, because you don't really need anything else while recuperating. You are hooked up to an IV machine, the lifeline into the blood system. It's your food and water, the susitance for life for the first 24 hours.

Their whole focused agenda is to make you comfortable and healthier. They speak a different language though. They talk in medical terms and have to break it down for the simple patients. The snack room is called "the nourishment center". It was also the site of a small infraction where said supporter/caretaker was found smuggling some contraband, meaning sneaking 3 packages of graham crackers and a small carton of fat-free chocolate milk to the patient. (Come on... you know you have done it too.) Perhaps they need to increase security in that area. They have a room for soiled utility. Soiled linens.... yeah I get that....but soiled utility? Is that where they put all their dirty tools, scalpels, bedpans, and such?

The Vanderlift has it's own parking space in the hall. I guess that is the instrument that helps with the larger patient? They vacuum the hallway carpet with a mini-street sweeper type of suction machine. For sure don't get in it's way. It's powerful. In the off times the International aids are not helping someone, they sit at the computers and read what I think is medical textbooks in their own language. It just looked like a bunch of gibberish to me.

There are no limits on the number of visitors or the amount allowed in one room. I know because I am pretty sure I saw the world's record for the number of visitors in the room across the hall. Even dogs can visit the infirmed.

The staff is serious about the administration of medication. The pain pump, you know, that easy access button they connect to a fat syringe of drugs, works wonders for the post-op patient but is it really for the patient or the nurse? Maybe she was tired of running back and forth?

There are "No fall zones" signs posted on some of the doors. What does that mean? Shouldn't the entire hospital be a place where you wouldn't want people to fall down?


As the caretaker/bystander you want to be helpful and make things better for the patient. But after four days, the walls start closing in a little. At this point, the doctor is kind of like the prison warden, laughing (behind your back) at how long it will take before you mentally break cause you have been chained up to the IV machine and only had liquids for noursihment. Please just write the order for the walking papers, an amenesty for our freedom. Get a letter from the governor if you need to...please we've done the time!! Let my people go!! Seriously, a patient can only live on Sprite and green jello cubes for so long!

Yeah don't kid yourself, I had that conversation in my mind. Just as I was jolted back into reality, the doctor came in and said, "I'm sending you home today!" No sweeter words were ever said.

Oh yeah, I never saw Dr. House while I was there.
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