I was looking around in a collection of files that I’d pre-written to use for blog posts when I ran across one that I’d started writing on Dec 21 and then kept updating until Dec 26, after which I was starting to get sick myself along with being extraordinarily tired and forgot about it.
My original intent was to post the whole thing here as an account of the time that my wife was in the hospital. I know she had started taking down notes from the very beginning. She intended to use those notes for, among other things, blog posts that she was going to write about her hospital stay when she got home.
As I said, When I got sick I forgot all about this file. Later, when she died and all of the (sometimes literal) nightmares that followed, my mind was on anything but this post that I had started writing while we were in the hospital.
I’ve actually spent a lot of time wondering if I should go ahead and post this. I finally came to the conclusion that had things gone differently, I know she was planning to post her account of that hospital stay over several posts. Therefore I’m going ahead and using it.
This one’s for you Lura.
I am not a hamster nor does it take even that smidgen of intellect to realize that hospital stays always suck. Even when it’s for something really cool like a nice, safe, uneventful birth of a healthy baby. It doesn’t take long for everybody involved (with the possible exception of any babys involved.) to decide that it’s already past time to go home and get back to the business of life.
When it’s not such a nice circumstance (usually the case I’m certain), it’s infinitely worse.
Any who have read recent accounts on my wife’s blogs will be familiar with the tale of being bitten last August by a Brown Recluse Spider and the resulting hospital stay. You’ll know about the DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, blood clot in her leg) that sent her back to the hospital again later that same month.
Fast forward to late November. She’s completely over the spider bite and while she’s been using a cane to help her keep balance, she’s up walking pretty much normally.
She was minding her own business taking her mother on a pre-thanksgiving, ‘get ready for the holiday’ shopping trip when as she walked around the car to help her mother out, the cane slipped on the (dry!) pavement in the store parking lot. You can get the basics of this latest insult to health on recent entries of hers.
Things were going ok and she seemed to be doing better until the blisters started getting worse. Another ambulance ride to an ER, this time resulting in admission to the hospital.
Thus far there have been three surgeries to debride the wound (removing infected tissue) and setting up a vacuum pump drain system to remove infected blood and fluids.
Each of these trips results in her status being changed to NPO which is an acronym for some Latin term that means “nothing by mouth” … argh! why can’t they just say so in English?!?!
Fri 19 Dec.
In the morning when somebody came in with a consent form for that day’s procedure, we decided not to sign until we had a chance to talk to a doctor and maybe even get some answers. Like how many more of these would be needed. We were concerned because of how it was taking her longer and longer to recover from each procedure and of course, we wanted *some* kind of idea how long it would be before we had a chance to see home again.
After waiting most of the day NPO, team from surgery finally shows up to get her … completely ignorant of the consent that had not been signed. Again we asked for Dr to show up.
Some hour or more later Dr. P**** finally shows up. We try to explain to him our concerns and questions but he comes across like some kind of good old boy mechanic talking to a female customer in the backwoods of the south.
His statements come across as a threat. Words to the effect … “If you don’t want the surgery then we’ll have to remove the wound vac and treat the wound by packing it and dealing with it bedside.. which will be a lot more painful and has an increased chance of losing the leg.”
After a bunch of back and forth with him who doesn’t want to let me finish a statement and talking with at least one or two other hosp people, we end up agreeing to the procedure. The one thing we’re holding on to at that point is the fact that it won’t have to be done again until Monday which means there will be at least some time to come out from under the effect of the anesthesia & painkillers.
Sat 20 Dec.
Most of the day spent in varying degrees of sleep and tired (both of us). More tv vegetation. Since late Fri there’s been twice as much blood glucose checks as before.
Late night – Early 4am-5am sun: They wanted blood samples and couldn’t get anything from any of the ports on the central line. An hour or two later they managed to get it clear enough to work.
Sun 21 Dec.
Again we’re both tired. BG tests continued through the early morning, between that and assorted interruptions through most of the night made for little actual rest. I’m having more and more trouble finding a position that I can sleep in. More often than not I find some position that i won’t fall out of and then go to sleep in spite of how much it hurts, knowing how much more I’ll hurt by the time I wake up.
I’m filling in things from here back as I remember them. Trying for accuracy as much as possible. I’ll revise this information when I can compare to her notes. From here forward I’m going to try to take better notes of what’s happening.
Mon Dec 22
Sometime around 9:30am or so we wake up late. After Lura uses commode and gets back to bed I head down to get breakfast. Sometime after 10am we find out that the surgery isn’t going to happen today after all. Nurse says that she’ll call down for a breakfast tray since there’s no NPO anymore.
Around 10:30am the “breakfast” arrives. It’s nothing more than a bowl of cereal, not a real breakfast at all. I talk to nurse who talks to her supervisor. A few minutes later somebody, presumably from dietary comes by with a load of double talk. Essentially she says “there’s nothing else we can give you, what would you like?”.
At almost 11am somebody informs us about turkey sandwich available in nourishment center for people who’ve missed out on meals for various reasons.
On another note, because of the same mess, her morning meds had not yet arrived. When asked for, it turns out that the painkiller (ms contin 15mg tabs) had expired and had not been renewed yet. Nurse goes to make calls to Dr to get it re-ordered. A bit after 1pm I ask for something because Lura’s hurting quite a bit. Nurse comes in a little while later saying that they’d been re-ordered. By this time, Lura had fallen asleep. I figured to let her sleep and call nurse for meds when she wakes up.
Tues Dec 23
Fire alarms go off at 7am and twice more in early am. I start out day with agonizing jaw pain that grows a migraine to go along with it.
Procedure from previous day scheduled for today @ around 3pm. Lura NPO til then, when I get breakfast, i decide to get an extra order of eggs, gravy and bacon. I get to cafeteria at 9:20am and they’re out of gravy. I end up with biscuits with eggs and sausage. Lura’s ends up bacon and eggs in separate container. That container is marked with room number and put in fridge in “nourishment center” to be retrieved later after her procedure.
Around 3pm surgery team comes to get her. @4pm I get a call from them saying she’s in pre-op and expected to be there until 5pm when procedure will start. Jaw pain and migraine continue.
She gets back to room around 530pm or so,is much wider awake and alert than she has been on previous occasions. I go to retrieve breakfast stored earlier and it’s not there. Asking about it at nurse desk they say dietary has rules and throws away opened stuff they find. A call to dietary has them saying nurses are the one’s throwing stuff out.
Before long there’s several ppl in the room trying to soothe things over. They’re blatting off about some “nation wide state law” (which sounds like utter nonsense to me). They’re also saying there’s a sign on the fridge making clear that opened stuff is not to be stored there and will be thrown away when found.
I do not recall ever seeing such a sign and I maintain to this day that there was no such thing. Even Lura believes that there was probably a sign there but I just never noticed it. [this is part of the thing I have grown to hate where no matter what I remember, most of the time everybody else remembers things differently and my memory is called into question. I’ve reached the point where I feel like it’s an exceptional event when it *doesn’t* Work out like that.]
Meanwhile, the jaw pain continues, migraine continues. It finally gets bad enough that I decide to use one of her painkillers. I eventually start getting some relief from it. I end up sleeping until 330am, when the jaw pain returns. I’m up doing warm water swish until 5am when I’m so tired I end up going back to sleep.
Wed Dec 24
Both of us are very tired all day, I end up sleeping all morning and most of the afternoon. Dietary continues to find new and innovative ways to ruin otherwise good meals. Chef salad had onions and cauliflower in it making it all but inedible for Lura, roast beef is like leather, and vegetables have the taste steamed out of them completely.
7-7:30pm or so
Lura gets up to use bedside commode. As usual, vac unit tubing is disconnected for the brief period she’s up. We both notice that the VAC container is full and we bring this to ppls’ attention along with need for painkiller. They give her painkiller and change out the canister in the VaC unit.
I take a Maxalt and call family and arrange to go home for a few hours Friday so that I can do some laundry, get money caught up, download email, check for other bills that need taking care of, fix cat potty, grab my other flash drive, buy some Tylenol and a few other things
The changed canister is still leaking. Staff notified and several ppl in here to look at it but as yet, no solution. If I understand them correctly, they’re going to have somebody from recovery have a look at it.
Thing that bugs me about this is the warning that appeared on the unit’s display that if vac is not restored within two hours that an alternate dressing would have to be used, one that Dr. P**** indicated would be a lot more painful to deal with. The two hours has passed since vac was disconnected for that potty trip and there’s still no idea when they’re going to get it fixed so that it connects with proper vacuum.
Then there’s the question of how much pain they’re going to inflict if they end up having to replace the dressing on her leg at bedside. I am *NOT* looking forward to that having to be done but at the same time I can see where it might be possible if they keep screwing around.
Another person in to look at VAC unit and no results. #%@&* thing is still beeping two or three times a minute complaining that therapy is interrupted.
Just checked with them again. They’re now in process of getting another canister from surgery and once they have it, they’ll change it out again. Hopefully with a minimum of pain inflicted. In the meantime, unit is turned off to at least silence the alarms.
I *really* hope that they get this fixed and that her therapy & recovery isn’t adversely affected by this crap. I *still* don’t’ know why it wasn’t changed out yesterday when they did the surgery. That makes zero sense at all.
I remember saying something about it being over half-full when they brought her back from surgery but I guess either nobody heard me or they just didn’t pay any attention. After that, I was down for the count because of jaw pain & painkiller, not getting even reasonably awake until late afternoon after eating supper, long after doc and most nurse visits, which I sorta remember but not quite.
Dec 25 12:17am
The latest report is that they’ve decided that the canister they’re trying to use now is cracked. person at nurse desk says that they’ve looked in the operating room and the ER with no results yet, latest is that somebody has now gone across the street to materials somethingorother to look for one there. Part that bugs me is that this thing has now had the VAC disconnected over 5 hours with no change in sight.
On a personal note, I’m getting **very** tired again and migraine pain is returning. I really don’t want to get into painkillers again, though if it keeps getting bad I’ll have to shut down the computer, take another maxalt and get out the dark shades & close my eyes. Problem with that is that it could easily put me out of action and I can’t feel ok about that until this VAC thing is fixed.
S**** (RN) comes in with new VAC container and puts it in place. I said that I wanted to wake Lura before she turned it on because I knew it was going to hurt. Before I have a chance to wake Lura, the VAC unit is turned on and she gets to wake up in the pain of it starting up. It requires another dose of iv painkiller for her to get back to sleep.
Dec 26 10:31pm
Most of Dec 25 is a blur because I was up ’til 1am and due to migraines, jaw pain and being extremely tired. All I can say is that we got through the day. SciFi Channel was running ST-TNG all day and that’s what we left on all day and night.
I was supposed to go home for a while to get some things done but because of fog conditions at home I ended up not going. Lura spent most of the day asleep or really vague. awake in late afternoon & evening expecting latest trip to surgery. For whatever reason, they don’t come for her until 7:15pm.
They have her back in the room by 8pm. After a while she’s awake enough to eat. later stomach is bothering her and they give her Phenegren. By a little after 9pm pain is bothering her enough to need painkiller. Now she’s resting comfortably.
The rest, as they say, is history.
[Tags]hospitals, doctors, nurses, white river hospital, celulitis, blisters, pain, migrane, lack of sleep, morons, thoughtless people, deep vein thrombosis, dvt, brown recluse spider, Lura, december hospital stay, late november, nightmares[/tags]