Thursday, August 25, 2011
"Doctors and Patients and Hospitals — Oh, My..!" 'Michael Herr' (Aloha Friday)
It's Aloha Friday again and Renowned author Michael Herr is back speaking his mind about being a patients advocate. Check out Michael's website at; http://www.michaelherr.com/
It's Aloha Friday.
Doctors and Patients and Hospitals — Oh, My!
I recently had the opportunity to spend three nights in a hospital. Not as a patient, but as a patients advocate. My wife had neurosurgery and I pulled every string I could find in order to stay with her overnight. That single overnight quickly turned into three nights.
During flu season you see numerous warnings about not being around anyone who shows the symptoms of the flu. They should have even more warnings about hanging out in hospitals. After all, what do you have there but a concentration of sick people. Maybe you won't catch a broken arm from that ten-year-old in the next bed, but you can catch so much worse.
What I caught mostly was sleeplessness, fatigue and general irritability. I constantly had to remind the nurses that I was in charge. Foolishly some of them thought they were in charge. No, they were only there as a resource to me. To do some of the things I couldn't/wouldn't do. To give me information so that I could decide what they should do. On our last night there a nurse was busily preparing something. I asked her what she was doing. The answer I got was that since my wife hadn't had a bowel movement for three days, she was going to give her some Milk of Magnesia to hurry the process. I thought briefly, very briefly, and said "No". "No?" "No!" "But . . ." "If she takes that she will have a bowel movement, in the car, halfway home. No Milk of Magnesia for her." Needless to say this nurse did not like me.
Hospitals are not quiet. They have signs posted saying that this is a Quiet Zone from 10 until 6. I don't think that the staff chattering away outside the rooms have read those signs. One night I listened to a male staff member tell all the nurses how to make millions of dollars in the Stock Market. Then he left to finish polishing the floor.
All those jokes about the nurse waking the patient up to give them a sleeping pill? True! Just as soon as my wife was soundly asleep, in would come a nurse to wake her up, take her vitals and ask a series of questions (What's your name? What month is it? Where are you?). Since I was sleeping right next to her (the hospital calls it a sleepchair; I call it an uncomfortable coffin) I was awakened each time they woke my wife. I doubt that I could have answered all their questions correctly as sleep-deprived as I was.
Were the nurses happy with me there? No. Should they have been grateful? Yes. On the morning my wife was discharged the nurse was out in the hallway entering information into her computer (they spent 90% of their time doing this). That was when my wife decided to get out of bed by herself in order to walk to the bathroom. She did not remember that she was still attached to the foot of the bed by her compression stockings. Since I was next to her I stopped her just before she swung out of bed. She would have been there another week if she had fallen . . . and I would have been transferred to a locked facility.
If you are ill and want to get a little rest, don't stay in a hospital. Get yourself home as quickly as possible.
Much aloha, Michael A. Herr. http://www.michaelherr.com/