Monday, October 03, 2016
Observations after three days in a hospital
About 7 AM, she was still in agony. I am crippled up with arthritis and can't walk 50 feet. I figured I could get a wheelchair at the hospital and we set off in a cab. I got the driver to get a wheelchair, I leaned on it and pushed her in.
No one was there--uncrowded--they took her first thing. We spent the next 12 hours waiting basically--blood tests, ultrasound, CT scan...wait wait wait. They did give her some heavy duty pain meds--so she was somewhat relieved and could breathe better.
Turns out it was her gallbladder, a big stone in the duct and many inside. But she also was discovered to have crazy-high blood pressure--a curse in our family. No operation until that came down somewhat--not to normal--but down. They said her blood tests were "fine."
After dark, they moved her to "Observation," a section with no bathrooms in the rooms--patients must go out in the hall and find a bathroom. No doors--just a pull curtain. But she had a more comfy bed.
We wondered was this because she officially had no insurance--was this the cheap seats? She had just gotten on at Walmart and her plan would not cut in for 2 more months. They also tried to see if she could get Medicaid. But officially--no insurance.
The surgeon they called did not show up. He called and said her BP was too bad--maybe he would operate Friday. I looked him up when I got home--Russian.
The next morning--Friday--I got there about 10 AM. Surgery was scheduled for 1:30--it took place about 4:00, by the way. She was still in a lot of pain.
When the FINALLY took her to the pre-op area, I came with in my wheelchair, feeling like a dork. Again, it was 2 hours of fiddling with the computer (the obsession of everyone we met in there). A anesthesiologist was chatty, answered my questions--such as would she be taking care of anyone else under anesthesia or just my kid--just my kid ,she said, Was she an MD? Yes. What anesthetic would my daughter get--propolol.
THEN, it turned out she switched with another guy who had never talked to my daughter or me. I requested he talk to me and asked him the same questions--he made it clear it was a big imposition to be questioned.
When the surgeon FINALLY turned up, he had very broken English, a huge guy (who specializes in weight loss surgery, I had learned). He was gloomy--Very very uncontrolled blood pressure, very risky, etc. What could we do at that point?
SHE LIVED! Afterward, he lectured me about how she needed to lose weight (and of course, I did, too)--etc--recruiting for his other surgery? Don't know. He said we must come down to his office--I said we have no car--he said that was our problem... He also advised me to make her get Obamacare...with a $5,000 deductible, big help!
He also said her gallbladder was very infected. The blood tests had not been fine--very bad, he grumped. (When she left, no antibiotic prescription--so was it infected or not?)
She had a terrible reaction to the anesthesia--pulled out all her tubes, was raving and crying...Later she asked me what she did...
She had a drain in--they said I would learn to take care of it, empty it, etc. Luckily, he came by Sat morning and ripped it out--she was sobbing in pain, but that cleared and she had eaten some bites and felt perkier. She informed this guy that we would not be coming to his office. He snorted, turned on his heel and exited. No stitches, no drain--I figure we don't need to. If she has a problem--urgent care or even the ER again.
So...what did I conclude? First, having a companion when you are in the hospital is ESSENTIAL. I was not always effective, but made my presence known. Second, we encountered some very sweet, helpful people--but also some mean crabs. Why the latter get people contact jobs, I have no idea. It makes it difficult.
And third--despite all this, we did get her taken care of. So yay for that!
We are home and both convalescing pretty nicely.