Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Surgery

I am glad to say that the surgery went well (or so it seems so far) but the whole hospital experience was a nightmare. We arrived at the hospital on time on that snowy day and it ended up that my surgeon was three hours behind schedule. She didn’t actually start my procedure until 6p.m. and by the time I came out of recovery, my husband had been kicked out of the visitor waiting room because it was closed and had to wait for the doctor in the main lobby of the hospital. Then, to make matters worse, when he came up to see me in the recovery area, we were informed that there were no more hospital rooms available so I would have to spend the night in the “holding area” and he couldn’t stay with me because there wasn’t even a chair to sit on. So at about 1:30 a.m. he left me and went home.

Around 2 a.m., they miraculously found a room for me in the kidney transplant ward. I was wheeled into a dark hospital room. Was there someone breathing on the other side of the curtain? Everything was dark and silent where I couldn’t tell if there was anyone in the other bed or not. But the silence didn’t last long. After about twenty minutes, the patient in the other bed moved her arm and set off the alarm the alarm for her IV. The IV was in a precarious place on her elbow so that every time she moved a certain way the alarm would sound. This went on all night long about every twenty minutes. Even though I was on serious pain medication, the noise disrupted my sleep. It was a long and strange night as I drifted in and out of vivid dreams and the beeping of the IV machine came and went.

In the morning, the nurse came in to take my blood pressure and the doctor was two feet behind her. “74 over 36. Are you lightheaded?”

“Yes,” I said, “I feel a little bit dizzy.”

“We will come back to take it again in a half an hour, but we can’t release you today with your blood pressure so low.”

Great. Where was Mike? I was not feeling well and now my blood pressure was getting dangerously low. Beep, Beep, Beep, there went the IV again!

In a half an hour the nurse took my blood pressure again. Still very low. Another hour went by and she took it again. Still low. “You can’t go home tonight.” Came the definitive word from the resident. Where was Mike? As she wheeled the blood pressure cuff out of the room, Mike poked his head in. He looked way too refreshed. It was 10:30.

“Where have you been? It is 10:30.” I was furious. “”What have you been doing? Why didn’t you get up and come here early?”

“I slept until 9 and then made a couple of phone calls and came here. I got here as soon as I could.” I was beyond angry now, I think I was more incredulous at his lack of caring. What loving man would leave his wife alone in the hospital while he slept in and drank his coffee and  probably read the paper too? Well, mine of course. I wasn't surprised, really, so I tried to explain how the situation was going.

“My blood pressure is very low and I am lightheaded. The patient next to me has an IV that keeps setting off the alarm and I didn’t sleep much last night. I can’t go home tonight because the blood pressure is so low.”

“Okay, did the pressure go up at all?”

“No, it has been consistently  low.”

“Well I guess we are stuck here for now.”

So the day wore on and once they took me off of the pain medication my blood pressure improved. I still had to stay for the night so we tried to settle in. I ate a little bit of dinner and asked for Benadryl to help me sleep. Then came the evening hours and next; the jailbreak! More on that tomorrow.


Chez said...

Oh Jeanne I don't think it was meant to be like that. You poor darling! My observation is that no matter what country you are in the medical system has its shortcomings.
I look forward to hearing about stage 2...

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Jeanne Marren Egan said...

It was definitely not the best hospital experience. I am glad to have it behind me. I am still not feeling grat but hopefully I will be better soon.

Jeanne Marren Egan said...

Dear plastic surgeon,
Yes, surgery can be painful and I am glad to have it behind me. I think that the poor level of hospital care is really my major concern. I am not sure how sanitary the conditions were!
Thanks for your comments.

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