Email TechnoMonk
Twitter Musings
Subscribe to Musings

Email Notification

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Powered by Squarespace
Search Musings
TM Recommends…
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
    by Atul Gawande
  • Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
    Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
    by Johann Hari
  • Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
    Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
    by Robert M. Sapolsky
Notably Quoted

It’s good for an artist to try things. It’s good for an artist to be ridiculous.
Sheila Heti in How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life (p. 18)

« I’m Not Getting Any Younger | Main | Jim Arnold Photography »

Roto-Rooter & Recovery: Part 3

Continued from Part 2

After I’d been in this second room for about 24 hours, and not long after the roommate-nosedive episode, I told the nurses I simply couldn’t take it any more. I mean: really! I hadn’t slept my first night in the hospital, and I certainly was not going to sleep my second if I had to remain in the same space with Mr. Fruitcake. They finally agreed to move me yet again, though I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen next.

So, my bed was rolled down the hall to another room about dinnertime, and although there was an occupant on the other side of the curtain, I heard nothing.

Ah … silence.

But, then, right around the time our meals were delivered, the guy’s family arrived: which appeared to be a wife and two small kids. Ugh. Still, everything worked out OK this time. They stayed less than two hours, and the kids were very well-behaved. Plus, I think the couple tried to talk so they couldn’t be overheard. Certainly, I could barely make out anything they said.

After his family left, I finally said “hi” – even though we couldn’t see each other. He indicated that he had had surgery for breast cancer a few hours earlier. He also said he had been diagnosed only a couple days ago; still, here he was recovering from surgery this evening. When I asked him a couple questions, he seemed to know precious little about his condition, which surprised me … but, then again, he’d only just been diagnosed and apparently had, on-faith, taken some doctor’s word for what needed to be done and when. I told him that I had gone through a breast-cancer experience with a former female partner in 1999 and she was fine, and that a male colleague of mine had had breast cancer in the early 2000s and his case turned out positively as well. I think he liked that report. In addition to clueless, he did sound a little scared.

During the time I was in the hospital, just a little over 48 hours total, I had a couple of great nurses and a string of them that seemed, well, uninformed and uninvolved. The nurse who attended to me the first day, right out surgery, was very nice and genuinely concerned with attending to both my physical and emotional needs. However, the nurses who came and went during both nighttime hours, seemed totally oblivious to why I was there, what had gone on with me since I’d arrived, and were, quite-remarkably, disturbingly, detached. I did the best I could, through the fog of anesthesia, drugs, pain and fear, to keep track of what they were putting into my body and why, and what schedule I was on for what. As it turned out, I did a much better job of that than they ever did, even in my diminished-capacity condition. I pushed the button and told them it was time for this or that, and, when they looked it up on their computer, sure enough … there it was. When I was struggling mightily with the reaction I had to the Vicodin, on the morning after the surgery, in response to my request to figure out what was going on with my stomach pain, the nurse on duty said, “I need to check on something quickly, but I’ll be right back.”

However, she didn’t return. And, when she did wander by about an hour later, I reminded her that I WAS STILL IN PAIN and could we do something, PLEASE?!

The computer system in the hospital was totally ridiculous. Every time the nurses had to check on ANYthing, they had to wait for the computer to boot up (very slowly), then they had to navigate to my records, check on the status and, finally, scan the barcodes on both the medication they were administering and on my wrist bracelet. Of course, this even included the Maalox and Tums they gave me for my Vicodin-induced stomach pain. What a joke. I told them that when I was sent a survey about my care at the hospital, I was going to advocate for a new computer system. (Which I subsequently did.)

In case you haven’t guessed: I really didn’t like being in the hospital.

[The story continues here.]

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.