9 November 2008

Hospital world... (part five)

So there I was laying in my bed, in a new ward and in a room with only one other patient. It looked like we shared the same nurse and she was there when I arrived. She was busy running around putting things away and making sure that this tube was in the right hole and that dressing material was where it belonged. She was paying a lot of attention to the man in the other bed. I assumed that he had only arrived a bit earlier from just having his operation as our nurse kept asking him if he needed anything, how was his pain, and did he need anything right at the moment and so on. I tried to get her attention on several occasions and it was almost as if I was annoying her. She would occasionally acknowledged me and would tell me that she would be with me in a minute. I didn't really understand what was so difficult. The man she was tending to was in no apparent distress. I mean all she was doing was helping position him in his bed so he could watch telly, putting his things away and cleaning up around his bed. So I just didn't understand why she couldn't take just a second to ask me what it was I needed. It wasn't as if I was trying to ask her to re-do my surgery. I just needed a urine bottle so I could stand next to my bed and do what nature intended me to do in the bathroom but instead I had to do it next to the bed because of the surgery and hence the need for the bottle. Nothing, more nothing less.

I was a bit troubled to think that maybe my nurse was incapable of doing two things at once but maybe it was the morphine speaking and maybe I was just being a tad unfair since I had only just met her. Believe me I have huge amounts of empathy for what nurses do day in and day out because my hubby does it and he does it with the added stresses of doing it in the Emergency Room. I understand when someone is involved in something extremely difficult and they can't be disturbed when their are doing say "brain surgery" but I really don't equate what our nurse was doing with brain surgery. The way I saw it and the way 99.9% of the population would have seen it was that all she was doing was settling two new patients into their respective beds and making sure that they were as comfortable as possible before she headed out to check on her other patients. I also want to be fair and say that I was not privy to the entire picture and there may have been something extraordinarily special about the man in the bed across from me and it was quite possible that he had special needs but if that were the case then she should have gotten some help to attend to all of her duties.
A few days later I would come to realise that I really did not need nor want to have her attention but I am getting a head of myself.

I had been told by the surgeon that I was allowed to walk to the bathroom if I needed to use it but it would be better to use the bottle as much as I could to save the wear and tear on my back. I was a bit disoriented being in a new room and I didn't know where the bathroom was but If I had known where it was I would have just gotten up and headed over to it to take care of business instead of asking for a bottle. Once I was able to take care of business one way or the other I would be able to lie back down, push the pain medicine button and go to sleep. I finally got the nurses full and undivided attention and of course the first thing I asked for was a bottle. She got me the requested bottle and as she started to leave to allow me to attend to my business I asked her if she would please draw the curtains around my bed so I could have some privacy. She turned around and said to me "You're in a hospital and once you enter these doors all of that type of privacy goes away. So it's best you get used to it " and she proceeded to walk away.
I was to tired to say anything. I had just had surgery on my back, I was in pain and I had to pee like there was no tomorrow. So I used that bottle right there in front of everyone and anyone that might come into the room or pass by the door, which was an issue because I had the bed facing the door, but it would be the last time I did so without the privacy of a curtain. That little incident set the tone of what was to be my next three and a half days of sure hell.

This nurse turned out to be an absolute nut job. She had personal conversations with me of a nature that were totally inappropriate. Conversations like she was in love with my doctor and his wife is hot too. She talked about the drunk old lady that lived above her and that all she really wanted was for the old lady to die so she could buy her apartment. She said she had only recently been assigned to this ward but already she knew that everyone there hated her and that they would only let her look after these rooms. On top of all this, and believe me there was more, the thing that sent me over the top was the day she was helping me get ready for a shower.  I was in the bathroom and I asked her to please get my shaving bag. I was trying to get my gown off and wasn't looking up so I did not see her come back into the bathroom and the next thing I hear is her saying "So what do you need out of here?" and at that moment I looked up to see that she had opened up my shaving bag and she was rifling through it. That's when I had had enough and I told her to get out of my bag. I told her she had no right to open my bag and to start looking inside. I had not asked her to do that I had only asked here to get it for me and that she had no right to go through my personal items. Lastly but most importantly I told her that I was not a child but rather I was a grown man and I expected to be treated like one. She said that she was only tyring to help, and I told her "Well don't". At that point she turned into the ice princess and then everything I asked for she made it seem as if it were an effort or I would have to wait a while as she was busy and she'd get to it as soon as she could.

I should have known she was going to be trouble. There had been other signs, like when I asked her not to open the drapes one day and so then she turned around and threw them back closed almost tearing them off their hooks and said something to me to the effect of me wanting to stay on the dark side again. It had nothing to do with the dark side, what ever that meant. It was just that I was still having a few headaches from the whole surgery, spinal fluid thing and the light bothered my eyes. Besides at the end of the day if i wanted the curtains closed then that was my right. At other times  she would get extremely irritated when you did things different than her way and you could tell by the way she then interacted with you. I finally had to ask for her to be removed from taking care of me. I wrote up a five page complaint about her, which is the first time that I have ever done such a thing about anyone for anything. The worst part of it was she was not the only problem on this ward. There were other nurses and assistants that were equally as bad. And to top it all off the bathroom that my roommate and I shared did not get cleaned for over three days and were talking about a hospital here.

To make matters worse, while all this was happening and I was trying to recover, on the Sunday following the surgery that has occurred that Friday I found out that we were going to have to go back in and do it all over again. The surgeon had come in that Sunday morning to have a look at the wound as he had normally been doing and unfortunately for me he discovered that the wound was leaking and not in a good way. I have to tell you that his news just about sent me right over the edge. I couldn't believe it I hadn't even left the hospital this time and we were going back in so this would be surgery number four. Anyway, the surgeon called all of the weekend staff in and opened the theatre up to do a quick emergency fix up. I was in surgery by noon and back in my room late that evening around dinner time. I was in pain and all I could think about was I was stuck in this hell hole of a ward. I just didn't know how much more I could take.

I only scratched the surface here but suffice it to say it was the ward from hell. It was so bad that on the Tuesday following my surgery they moved me back to the ward in which I started and hubby had just arrived to see me as he had been back in Tasmania all of this time because he had to take care of things on the home front. Anyway, he followed me down as they moved me back to the other ward and as soon as they got me settled in my new bed space and the attendants left I honest to God burst into tears. That's how bad it had been and if I had more patience and time I would tell you all about it but I also don't want you suffering like I did and it's painfully just typing all about it. The last few days in the hospital went off without a hitch. All up I was in hospital for two weeks and I hope that it will be the last time I have to see the inside of a hospital for a long, long time!

Well that's the short, long and quick of it and I once again apologise for the very long post. As I mentioned in some ways I didn't even give you the full story and you should be thankful for that as it would have killed you to have to read it all and at the same time I'm thankful too as it would have killed me to have to relive it all. Anyway, I am recovering well and It was three weeks yesterday since the fourth surgery. As it stands everything seems to be right on track so lets hope it stays that way. Until next time take care...


Ur-spo said...

would it help to write a letter to the hospital? They could use some feedback on this.

tornwordo said...

I hope that you recover quickly and for real this time!

cinde said...

I hope you never have to go through anything like that ever again. Ever. I love you and so glad to hear you're recovering well.

Anonymous said...

You poor fella. I wish I could give you the biggest (gentlest) of hugs. Have your hubby do it for me. Oh, and a very belated happy birthday. I, too, am very behind in blog reading, although my reason is far less substantial. x