Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hospitals--Not for the Faint Hearted

So, I just returned home last evening from spending three days in the hospital.  Never fear, it was an entirely planned hospital stay--in fact, wedged in between a trip to San Diego to visit our son and daughter-in-law and another upcoming trip to see our daughter and son-in-law.

I am a Type A personality (if such labels still exist).  Patience is NOT one of my virtues, and anything annoying....well, it annoys me.  So, when the doctor announced that my recalcitrant blood pressure, that just would not come down, despite adding new medicines, needed yet another new medicine, he also announced--and you're not going to like this.  What? I asked innocently.  Well, you need to have it administered in the hospital.  All for to monitor my heart rate.  I mentioned a while back that I was rebooted and regained my sinus rhythm.  Premature announcement, as it turned out--even though it was true at the time.  Because, dear readers, I lost my rhythm.  Humph.

New med is designed to bring down BP and to help a heartbeat stay regular.  But, every now and then, it actually causes the heartbeat to go all wonky.  Hence, the need to wear a 24 hour monitor for several days. 

Hang in there with me: I am just getting to the good part.

Hospitals, I have decided, are not places for the faint hearted, especially not if one is NOT really sick.  For three days, I felt a bit as if I had wandered into the set of making of the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Herewith some random observations.

  • Check your modesty and need for privacy at the registration desk.  You will not need it.  You get poked, prodded, pummeled...well, maybe pummeled is a bit of exaggeration.  You have your "vitals" checked endlessly.  Even all through the night.  I would be in a sound sleep, only to hear a chirpy voice saying "Just checking your vitals" as I felt an ear probe measure temp, blood pressure, pulse.  Thank goodness that's where the vitals check stopped.  And privacy?  Nope--with a roommate (which I had) there were family visitors coming in at all times, along with a seemingly endless parade of hospital staff: RNs, nurses' aids, housekeeping, food services, social workers, the occasional chaplain, and -- is it?  It just might be a DOCTOR!  Woo hoo. 
  • Forget efficiency and speed.  Things move at a glacial pace (pre-global warming) in the hospital.  I arrived, as ordered, late morning on Monday.  Not until three, almost four hours later was my medication regimen begun.  And, since it necessitated 48 plus hours of continuous cardiac monitoring, that time made a difference.  It was not until the second day of being in the hospital that someone from the cardiac practice came to see me, and then only because my husband called a number the practice had given us.  When the doctor did arrive, he pointed out to me that "this is a hospital and there are emergencies that we have to deal with; people arriving in the emergency department, with heart attacks, etc."  I meekly accepted it, thinking all the while--that my husband's call was the proverbial squeak that garnered the dollop of grease the doctor's visit represented.
  • If you are interested in a retreat-like pace, slow deliberative moving toward an unknown goal, then the hospital is the place for you...except it's not a silent retreat.  More on that in the next post. 


Anvilcloud said...

They are not fun places. I was treated to a salad that consisted of one bit of lettuce and one slice of tomato. Period.

KGMom said...

AC--yes, similar food experiences. To come in the next post.

possumlady said...

I actually had a somewhat pleasant two day stay in the hospital for elected surgery back in the '90s. I remember waking up and being wheeled to my room. I was in a private room which was $90 a day more, that the insurance company would not pay but I thought it was worth it.

Still groggy, I was STARVING. It was 7:00 pm and I hadn't had anything to eat since midnight the night before. The nurse offered me juice and said I wouldn't be able to eat anything else. I said "oh, yes I will" So she handed me a plate of roast pork tenderloin. It smelled wonderful. I put a bit in my mouth and had absolutely no saliva and had to spit it out! That still didn't deter me. I would take a swig of ice water then quickly take a bite of food.

The only real issue (and this refers to the modesty thing), is that the first night I had to urinate EVERY hour since they had pumped me so full of liquids. They refused to let me walk to the bathroom and made me use a bedpan. Really ridiculous.

So glad you are doing okay and will be able to keep on schedule for your trip!

Peruby said...

They are noisier than grand central station at rush hour! I get a migraine every time I go. Despise them!

The workers there have become desensitized to human beings as real people with feelings and needs.

KGMom said...

I recognize everyone has a different experience in the hospital.
My next post will focus on the over-stimulation of senses, in a weird way, that goes on in a hospital.

NCmountainwoman said...

Well, Donna. You are going to have to learn to be a bit more assertive or you just might end up inheriting the earth.

The doctor's remark was totally inappropriate. To speak in that arrogant manner totally dismisses your reasonable questions.

I wish you might have said something along the lines of "please understand that I have been here 24 hours and it is not unreasonble to have expected to see my cardiologist at least once during that time. I think your manner is unacceptable. Do I need to have a cardiac arrest or other emergency in order to get the information I deserve?"

"And by the way, doctor. Anxious people hospitalized to control arrhythmias and hypertension do not need to hear your own problems."

"That said, hello,I am glad to see you and I have a few questions I would like to ask."

NCmountainwoman said...

I got so carried away in my ranting that I totally forgot to wish you well. I do hope everything is back to normal.

KGMom said...

NCMntWmn--you make me laugh. My meekness is a strategy--"better to keep my mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
When someone upbraids me that way, I can be quiet. Silence sometimes is as much reproof as giving it back to the doctor.
BESIDES--I plan to tell my personal cardiologist, when I go for my follow-up appointment, that it took too long for someone from the practice to see me when I was in hospital.

Nance said...

This made for wonderful reading, but you've set off my alarms. My own rhythms and pressures have been wonky of late and I'm due to visit a cardiologist just after the holiday. Now, I'm afraid they'll test my patience and my insurances in the near future, comme vous, and I'm putting on the breaks already. Did someone say Type A?