Why the crazy title you ask? Well, the last three months have been challenging for me as a patient enduring three hospital stays for a grand total of 17 days in the "Holiday Inn".. I mean Mercy Hospital. I joke with my family that when you turn off the lights at night I glow.. due to a total of 6 CT scans, a nuclear medicine scan where they tagged my White Blood Cells with Indium 111, a ambulance ride and two surgeries. When infectious disease comes into your hospital room you know its serious.
What started as an elective surgery turned into a nightmare. Four to six weeks I told my company I would be off. 12 weeks later and I finally felt human again. I write this blog not to complain or be the victim but to help others negotiating their hospital stay. Let's just say having a heart attack was a piece of cake compared to this experience.
As a patient you know that pain you have is not normal but your doctor keeps saying it's just a viral infection and sends you home. Two days later your riding in the back of an ambulance on your way to emergency surgery. Oops, then 11 days later you get sprung from the hospital on four new medications and many unanswered questions. Biggest take away is be your own advocate. Keep asking the doctor questions and don't give up!! I had an array of nurses some left little to be desired others were amazing. When you as a patient are dependent on the hospital staff to do the simplest task you start to get an understanding of who truly understands what it's like to be a good nurse with empathy.
I ended up with pulmonary embolisms in each lung (a blood clot from each leg that traveled to my lungs). I had to push the staff to do testing because my pulse was too high and my oxygen level was low. Luckily they took action and were able to diagnose it an start heparin. As a nurse I had an inside track into what I thought was wrong. But what about a patient with no medical background? That's when it really becomes scary!! Keep asking questions and demanding answers.
It amazes me at how the doctors are never in a hurry to get you discharged. I went from you'll be going home on Monday to a full week later. It became depressing laying in the bed relying on doctors to round and make decisions on your care and discharge date. When they finally started the heparin drip I had to wait 72 hours for it to reach therapeutic level and then transition to a oral anti-coagulant. In my wildest dreams, I never thought a hospital stay would be longer than two days.
In the end, I fired my surgeon. Asked for a second opinion and now feel like I'm starting on great path to health. I have had a few hiccups and additional testing when it comes to my health. The anti-coagulant they started me on caused severe GI distress to the point where I ended up with another 5 days in the hospital. I took it upon myself to look up online the medicine and found out that people can't tolerate it. All I can say is when you don't feel right, start from the beginning and think about what new medications you've been started on. After calling my pulmonologist and telling them my concern they switched my medication and now I feel so much better.
From my daughters perspective, Brenna writes: I was mad, frustrated, sad, and scared. Every day I would walk into her room say "Hi", sit down and we would talk. Later, when my parents would talk I would sit down and write on the white board quotes and sayings. One day it was cloudy so I made the theme rainy days. I filled in the white board but... there was one spot so I thought about what I should write in the small space. I thought back to the school day and I thought about what my note was that day. since my mom was in the hospital my dad would write my notes and would put them in my lunch to read and make me smile! When I looked at my note that day it said "Rainy days wash away the pain! love dad and mom xoxo". I looked at the white space in the board and I wrote what the note said! not including the "love dad and mom xoxo"! Sometimes when I was at school I had many thoughts going through my mind. Many times I would be on the verge of crying because I thought that when I would go to see my mom, there would be bad news that would sneak its way into the conversations! then I would be scared to go that night but I knew that I would be happier if I went! In the end, I am happy that my mom is out of the hospital and is felling better, and I can have her home with me!! and Anyone who thinks they cant get through something just know you can no matter what!!
_Brenna C Murphy
In the end, be your own advocate. Don't let medical staff make you feel like an idiot and don't know what your talking about!! You can always get a second opinion. Do your research, in the end you might have the answers. If in doubt, start from the beginning and ask yourself what has changed? What's new?