Thursday, October 13, 2005

Update Out of the hospital again

Short attention span version

Few weeks back I’m getting blood work done because I am passing out several times a day, sleeping about 16 hours or more a day, cold, tired, weak, I get exhausted eating or walking from my bed to the bathroom...My doc decides to do a total work up on me and at that time I go. “I’m anemic.”

To which he chuckles and goes “Almost all women are anemic.”

And I say, “Well...I mean...I’m really Anemic.”

Apparently, he hears this a lot, because he just laughs it off and does the test.

So my blood work comes back and I get the calls, but I don’t know I get the calls because my answering machine sucks and loses messages and I just rarely think to check the damn thing. So two days after they call with a “It’s very important that you call us now, we have your lab results back in” something like five or six times, I manage to get in touch with them and of course they won’t tell me what the deal is over the phone. So, I go to the office and my doctor goes “ are really...REALLY anemic!”

This is my duh moment. “Gee, ya think?”

He sends me to the ER-go directly to the ER, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars ect ect, and so that’s what I do...only I have my kids with me and it looks like the Texas chainsaw massacre in this place...blood and guts and bodies everywhere. It was frightening and people were packed outside the doors as if they were offering free food and beer to wounded drugged out transits.

So, I turn around and send the family back into the car and make them drive over to my in-laws to drop off the boys, we had to wait a bit until someone showed, by this time it’s dark out and I can’t ride in a car at night because it triggers migraines. I get back to the ER and I can barely walk...this is nothing new, I don’t have the energy to do anything anymore, I have to wear a sweater everywhere I go and I keep the AC off even when everyone else in the house is sweating. I find out fairly quickly that they lost my orders from my doctor...and of course I can’t reach my doctor on the phone because he went home for the evening and the doctor ‘on call’ knows absolutely nothing.

Something like five hours and much miserable sitting and bitching and staring later, they find my records and I get taken back and put in a bed.

I get told I’m going to get a blood transfusion, because my blood levels are low, I’m a low 7 when “normal” is a 12...I’m getting a blood transfusion and I’m alright with that, save that for some reason they put me in a bed next to a man who was completely out of his head because he was dying of...AIDs.

Now, I don’t care who you are, when you are lying in a bed with a blood disorder, and you are having needles going in and out of your body, and you are about to receive a “blood transfusion” and right next to you- close enough to reach out and touch-is a man who is absolutely miserable and crying and in pain from something like AIDs...your mind goes places. Especially if you have my sort of luck. To make it better, he also had Meningitis, and all that separates me from him is a thin little curtain with mesh at the top.

Ingenious device this, assuming the diseases don’t figure out that they can travel under the curtain or over it, they will never never get through those little one centimeter holes in that mesh, complete sanitary barrier! Especially helpful when he was so disoriented that he kept pulling it back looking for his nurse or god or whoever. They completely ignored the poor man, I mean, granted he was difficult to understand and a little hard to follow at times, but when he asks for water he shouldn’t have to do it for a damn hour. I ended up sending David out to get his nurse just because it was pissing me off that he was being ignored and it’s not like I don’t know why.

If you don’t have an ounce of compassion why get into the medical profession?

If your idea of an interesting evening is sitting out in the hall taunting and snickering at the old man scared of his food and ready to run for fear you are going to chloroform and dissect him...then maybe you have no business being a nurse?

The AIDSs patient next to me had me in tears probably as many times as he had me cracking up...even drugged out of his head he had a halfway decent sense of humor, or at least he was trying to have. The worst of it was he kept talking about...pretty much being cured, and it just seemed to me that he was pretty far gone, and it also seemed like the staff there was willing to write him off. It bothered me a lot...made me feel like maybe I’d gone into the wrong profession.

I spent the next hour arguing with them over whether or not I really needed to have my temperature taken rectally. I lost...but at least the male nurse assigned to me, and I, decided between ourselves that we really didn’t want him “having to stick his finger up my ass” (his words, to which I completely agreed...heh...he rocked...)so I got a chick who approached me as if I was going to rip her arm off and beat her with it...might have been the growl. (Whenever I was feeling remotely decent, I either entertained or intimidated the staff...depending on if they were with or against what I thought was appropriate treatment. I’m just not the sort of patient to sit quietly and take it, I’m educated enough to know what most procedures are for and what a lot of the protocol is, and I’m not too shy to make them explain everything else to me or make them find me someone who will.)

Then I was morphined, and it was some heavy stuff, much nicer and harder hitting than what I take at home, it stunned me, got a nice little “Woooow...that is a lot better than what I usually take.” Which my doctor of the moment thought was amusing because he leaned waaaay in and snickered at me with a “Yeah you should be feeling really gooood soon”...It should probably be noted...when Nick is drugged, don’t get that close, just...don’t. Ahem...yeah, but anyway.

I got put on a ward...a woman’s ward. Not a room. A big room with four beds all separated by those amazing super curtains of mighty diseased control. They wouldn’t allow David to stay with me...which sucked, he could come in for a few hours here and there, but he couldn’t stay the night. It was ridiculous because on the last night I was there they moved a man into bed four. No clue where the logic was there(probably has to do with the fact that this hospital shut down every other hospital in the city, it has a monopoly and it’s even now fighting to be removed from state control to be a private organization. They are over worked and overfilled, but they have made themselves the ONLY option). The girl next to me was up all night on the phone or yelling at the nurses...she has no stomach lining and no fucking brain either, she couldn’t grasp anything the nurses were telling her so the nurses quit talking to her and her response to that was to scream and yell. The girl across from us was a migraine sufferer, so she loved the girl next to me, she sobbed most the first night.

The next day or so I was kept in a nice little drugged blur, I got blood, I had my vitals taken often; before receiving the blood my blood pressure was insanely high and my temp was low, after getting the blood my temp leveled out, but my blood pressure started dropping and dropping and they couldn’t figure out why. The more I moved the more it dropped. In the process they blew every vein in my arm; from wrist to elbow on both arms I am a purple closer top black, my hands are swollen, they ran IV’s there too that infiltrated, still have very little use of three fingers on my right hand. The swelling has yet to go down. On one stellar incident, the IV didn’t hit vein and they didn’t notice...and instead of filling my body with saline, they filled just my forearm....five or six hours later I noticed that my forearm was looking three times the size of the had swollen to Popeye proportions. I had them remove it and it leaked from the IV site for’s still leaking.

The IV they replaced it with was in the crook of my elbow. I told them when they put it in it was a bad IV...they didn’t listen...and I dealt with the pain and the damn machine screaming every time I moved for almost half a day before I threw a fit and had the IV team come up and confirm it was indeed a bad IV and that in fact they wouldn’t run another IV on me if they didn’t absolutely have to. That was when I decided there was nothing they were doing for me at that point that I couldn’t do at home, so I started pushing to see the doctor on staff so that I could get an idea what was going on.

There comes a point when you are in a hospital situation where your health is at risk just being there. When you have seen more than 4 doctors, when you have seen more then 3 shift changes, you start to run the risk of being killed because of muddled paperwork or someone just not giving a damn. By the time you hit your forth doctor for example, they are generally so far removed from your case that they are very willing to release you because they just don’t give a imagine, if you weren’t pushing to leave, but rather expecting that doctor to provide you with adequate care? The point of a hospital is to:

A. be a place to have surgery preformed, this must always(if possible) be done by a surgeon you have touched base with before and have a doctor patient history with. You need to be their patient so that they have something truly invested in you and some moral and emotional accountability...otherwise you are a chart number.

B. Emergencies. Hospitals should be used to stabilize you in the event of a crisis. I was in crisis, I was stabilized, I needed to go home and find adequate outpatient care with a specialist that gives a shit.

This is what I have learned over the years, and people who don’t know better always bitch at me for rushing out of a hospital “too soon” and then complain that their aunt or uncle or grandmother died mysteriously in a hospital somewhere. I know how it works...I’ve worked in a hospital, I’ve lived with a whole family of hospital personnel, I’ve listened to them complain about the cover-ups and the callousness and I have been a victim of that sort of shit far too many times to count. It is not like ER, no George Clooney’s, very few people actually care and when you find one who does, they are usually about to leave for shift change anyway...

I’m happy to be home, I feel...a little better, a few pints higher I guess you could say, and I have a lot of work to do...the same amount of work I had to do LAST time I posted because all this took place then. I am...behind in a big way. Ever get to a point where you just want a do over? Where you feel like if you get behind anymore you are just going to be starting over anyway? If I didn’t feel like I am almost there...that I am almost at some...point where I’m going to know what is wrong with me and how to fix me I’d just throw in the damn towel...this is getting ridiculous.


kehrli said...

God, that sounds terrible.

And yeah, my aunt is a nurse, so I've heard plenty of those stories. Guh. :( I'm glad you knew what was going on so you could get out when it was time.

disturbedgraves said...

Trust me honey, I cleaned it up a good bit to spare myself some embarrassment. But I’ve got material for books for years based off that one visit. Hospitals are nightmares, if there is one piece of advice I can pass on to any sick person, it’s always take someone who knows what is going on with you when you have to be admitted...

At one point David said to ask them to bring me a phone book, and then to very nicely ask them to help me find the section on Malpractice attorneys, just to see if maybe I could get them to take the festering IV out of my elbow before I lost my arm. LOL.

kehrli said...

No emoticon can possibly do that comment justice, but :O

andartha said...

*argh*.....just *ARGH*

This sounds like the patient-perspective of a chapter out of Samuel Shem's "House of God"...or like something Kafka might have written.

Sad thing's not fiction.

Cheers for David for the idea with the malpractice attorneys!

Get better soon, best wishes and *hugs*!

juxtaposefantsy said...

At this point, don't worry about meeting the deadline on the cards. You've obviously got enough to deal with. What I really DO need, however, is the full version of the H/C commission pic. I need that pre-con, please. Thanks!

ghostbard said...

I just e-mailed you. I'm sending care packages to some friends of food and stuff. Please e-mail me back with your address and a list of requests. I've got ramen and some small cans of veggies. We've got loads of food to share, and we can get more very easily and for cheap. As long as you don't want fresh/frozen...that I'm NOT going to try to ship. It's a real pain.

serephent said...

::lots of hugs:: Sorry to hear about all the problems, but at least you are home now.