Friday, July 28, 2006

Hospital Fiasco

This is continued from a previous post. The prerequisite post is No More Birthdays. So go ahead there and read. I wil wait . . . . . . . .
When the doctor finally came in with a diagnosis (I told you that you should have read the prerequisite), my sisters and I were ready to pass out. He told us that my mother's sodium count was low and that she will be admitted and given an I.V. of saline solution. Her sodium count was 122 and at 120 patients can go into seizures - per the doctor. This should make her fine in a day or two.
She was put into a room on the sixth floor. We went into the room and a nurse began asking us a bunch of questions for intake. This is at 5:00 am, mind you, and we had already answered these questions about five times before to other people. However, it became quite apparent that no one ever reads any of these forms that have been previously filled out. Hospital visits are just a series of pointless paperwork for the family. The experience took me back to high school on days that there were substitute teachers. The subs always subjected (good word here) the class to meaningless busywork. Before heading home with the new rays of the sun at my back, I debriefed with the nurse concerning the care my mother was to receive.
Just before lunch and a scant 3 1/2 hours of sleep later, I walk into my mother's room. No I.V. I asked the nurse (different one) about it, and she said that there was no order from the doctor about an I.V. After going through the whole spiel again about what the emergency room doctor said, the nurse told me that once a patient is admitted, the emergency room doctor is not her doctor but the her primary physician takes over. I asked her if they ever talk (the two doctors) and her reply was, "usually not."
I started getting heated. "My mother said that she hasn't seen her doctor," I started but was interrupted.
"You have talked to her? We haven't been able to talk to her."
"If she would have had a saline I.V. we all would be having a wonderful conversation, yet, no one seems to care about that."
Quite self-righteously, the nurse responded, "We didn't know that she is usually of sound mind. See, you have an advantage of knowing things that we don't about her."
That was it, "If anyone would bother to read the stupid forms I had to fill out six times last night and this morning, you WOULD know that!" She then told me that she would just have to wait for orders from the doctor and left the room.
It wasn't long before I grabbed the doctor of the patient in the next bed and asked him about the sodium problem. I told him that I just wanted to know if I should be concerned that she has not yet been treated. He told me that she should be treated sooner rather than later. No kidding. However, he did help get a hold of my mother's doctor who STILL didn't put her on saline until three days later.
The support staff at the hospital was horrible. No one cared about anything. They didn't care if the family was up to date, or anything. They were just pre-occupied with their duties. Better take her blood pressure, pulse, and temperature every half an hour so they can write it on her chart (that no one reads). More busywork! I don't know why celebrities "check themselves into" the hospital when they are "exhausted". They can't possibly rest there. I think people get sent home FROM the hospital so they can get rest.
There was one AWESOME nurse, though (in the interest of being accurate). She went way beyond the call of duty to make sure we were in the know.
After being in the hospital for seven days (and it could have been just two), my mother is resting at home. It is going to take a lot for me to go the emergency route in the future. I think things would have been better if I would have just opted to take my mother into the doctor's office in the morning.



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