Monday, April 04, 2011

And The Food Was Crap, Too.....


The above picture is what happens when you're gone to the hospital for three days----you come home to find that your cats have no discipline and feel that they can jump onto the table to stick their head in Blaine's dinner. And when I caught her doing that, she nonchalantly moved and pretended to be looking at the lottery tickets. (Yeah right---like Little Baby is going to play the lottery....or can read, for that matter....)

Anyway, Thursday I woke up and was very dizzy, lurching around like a drunk (I jokes please) with an unbalanced gait and slurred speech. I called my therapist and he immediately flipped out and started hollering about how he thought it might be lithium toxicity since that is the most recent drug they've stuck me on. He consulted my Case Manager who was adamant that I had a choice: either get Blaine to immediately take me to the hospital or he would call 911. Ridiculous. But my Case Manager doesn't play around--when he thinks something should be done, he's going to get it done his way come hell or high water.

As it turned out, Blaine was able to get off work immediately to be able to come take me to the hospital. And even though my lithium level came back normal, the ER doctor still decided to admit me to the hospital as an inpatient to figure out if I'd had a stroke or something. And thus began my 3-day odyssey into the land of incompetence---and it was a circus from start to finish. And later in the first day I was in the hospital my Case Manager came to see what they were going to do to me and then sat for one hour in my room talking to me. I was surrounded by people making decisions for me.

I didn't mind most things because I knew they had to do their tests. I didn't mind the Speech Therapy consult, nor the Occupational Therapy consult, or Physical Therapy consult. I didn't mind the head CT nor the head MRI. I didn't even mind the fact that there are apparently only two nurses in the entire hospital that can get an IV into me without sticking me 18 times. But when I found out that the neurologist and the psychiatrist who had been consulted were going to delay their exams until Monday, I hit the roof and I'll tell you why.

I am a nurse.

And thus, I well know doctors' shenanigans. I know every one of their tricks. I know how they love to skip-to-my-lou right out the hospital door on Friday afternoons, leaving their wretched patients to languish for the weekend. And I was having none of it. Listen, I put up with doctors' and their crap for 22 years as an RN. And I was good to them. I tried always to make their jobs easier. And now, here I am, 22 years later, on the other side of the fence. And I didn't like being a victim of the system one little bit. I know America tries to lay claim to the best health care in the world, but let me tell you---IT'S CRAP. Next time, send me to Canada!

Saturday morning, after finding out that the neurologist and psychiatrist were going to wait till Monday to come deal with me, I quickly decided that there was no way in hell I was going to be stuck in that damn bed, hooked up to an IV which made it impossible to even crochet or knit to pass the time, for the whole weekend. You can't get any sleep in the hospital because every hour or so somebody wakes you up to take your blood pressure or something. And when you have an IV, you have to call someone to help you go to the bathroom. (It's their rule---even though I felt perfectly capable for unplugging the IV plug and pushing the IV pole into the bathroom.) Soon, you're so sleep deprived that you become homicidal. And you start hallucinating that the staff all look like giant green grasshoppers.

So that morning, when I ventilated my complaints to my day nurse, threatening to leave the hospital AMA ("Against Medical Advice") he persuaded me not to do that and promised he'd try to help. He said he'd try to get my main doctor to hurry up and come. And he told me that when she got there to insist she discharge me at once and allow me to simply make office appointments for the delinquent neurologist and psychiatrist.

And that's exactly what I did. (Bless that nurse's heart.)

And by the way---when I was admitted, they immediately took me off ALL my meds. Yes, ALL OF THEM!!! And it didn't matter that I explained that I was a patient of the such-and-such psychiatric center and that I can't do without my meds more than a day or two before I begin to show cracks in my sanity. And also that two of my meds are anti-seizure meds. They are used for psychiatric reasons, but if taken away "cold turkey" one's body interprets it as "there is now no barrier to having a seizure."

So when I asked WHY my meds had been discontinued cold turkey, while explaining that it had taken 2 years for my psychiatrist to come up with the cocktail of drugs that calms the toxic drumbeats of my bipolar, OCD, PTSD, and anxiety/depression condition, they answered that they took me off all of them to see if there was a possible "drug interaction" that caused Thursday's condition, symptoms of which were no longer present--- and the doctors who would best be able to look at things intelligently, the neurologist and the psychiatrist, were NOWHERE TO BE SEEN.


There were lots of other things which happened that showed substandard care. My head CT came back with a description of somebody else's abdominal CT. Lovely!!!!

Oh, so that's what was wrong with me! I had a pancreas, gall bladder and common bile duct in my head!

So by Saturday morning I was in tears. Just when I was at the peak of my bawling, my helpful day nurse came in and exclaimed: "Good God, Bo! Don't cry! Then they REALLY won't discharge you--they will INSIST you wait for the psychiatrist to come on Monday!" I could see the wisdom in his advice so I tried to get straight, using about 100 Kleenexes until I look composed.

Finally, my doctor got there and I told her to immediately discharge me out of that hellhole. "But what about that neurologist and psychiatrist?" she asked. I replied: "I'm not about to sit in this stupid bed all weekend while they play golf and let their patients sit in the hospital an extra two days in order to pay for their next divorce and Mercedes.

(In case any doctors read this, please know that I helped doctors for 22 years as an RN and I was in a near insane mindset by this time.)

So my doctor (seeing in my demeanor that I meant business) wrote out my discharge instructions, which included instructions to make office appointments with their psychiatrist and neurologist---which I have no intention of doing. Those two yay-hoos can whistle Dixie before I go see either of them.

As for the diagnosis----do you know what I think was really going on Thursday morning? After I had a chance to think about it, I realized that it was most likely a really bad flare up of my Meniere's Disease, which I haven't had an attack for several years and forgot all about, which the damn neurologist would have known had he shown his ugly head. It sure as hell wasn't Lithium toxity because that level was normal. And it was not drug toxicity because I've been on those meds forever. Okay, I'll grant them the fact that the symptoms in my body of the fairly new regimen of Lithium are not entirely known yet, and they instructed me to take half of my usual dosage which I am willing to do until I can hook up with my own psychiatrist. They also advised me to take OTC dizziness medicine, which the first pill took away any lingering symptoms, furthering my suspicion was a flare up of my Meniere's Disease.

So Blaine took me home from the hospital and was very nice to me for the rest of the weekend. He had my trust check cashed for me, he'd cleaned the whole house, done all of the laundry, and he had his brand new gas grill going so to make whatever I wanted for dinner. (I wanted chicken), and he'd bought me a new pair of jeans.

And so ended my very unpleasant safari into the jungle of the world of the damn hospital system. What makes it all worse is that this particular hospital is supposed to be one of the most luxurious, high quality hospitals in the area. Hell, I would have been in better hands with a witch doctor.

Oh, by the way....I just took the below picture last night to show you the hail storm.




danielle said...

Gee, I thought your absence was due to your excitement over your new ring! LOL (BTW, would love to see a pic of it!)

Now Bo, you should know, that in this economy all hosps are trying to market themselves to get the most patients. And how do they go about that? Well, lets see....unknown local hospital....hmmm, all the patients compare us to hotels so maybe we should just renovate so that we can LOOK more hotel like....what? the silly staff thinks that patients would really prefer competent care and working equipment? How silly...dont they know that in this day and age all patients care about is HOW the place LOOKS????!!!!!
Am glad you are better - get back to the people who know how to care for you!

Sueb said...

Yuck, I have Meniere's Disease and can share your pain. It only hits every now and then but the spinning, reeling is horrible not to mention the nausea the spinning causes. It has also taken about 90% of the hearing in my left ear. Benedryl or if desperate Dramamine helps. Hang in there.
Seattle Sue

Chloe said...

I hate weekends in the hospital, too.
And I have "neglected" to make appointments with doctors I think are yahoos---someone has to graduate at the bottom of the class, right?

And when they order a thousand uncomfortable, pukey tests...find nothing and then order them again? That's when I decide that either there is nothing wrong or it is something that is just unique to me and doesn't need to be fixed.

I had a picc line the last time I was in hospital...and it was in the most inconvenient, uncomfortable place they could find. I don't know why they do that.

Hope you are feeling better and all goes well. A hospital is no place for sick people!

Bo... said...

Thank you, Danielle, Sueb, and Chloe! I am so glad to be out of that crazy bin. I told Blaine that unless I was dying to never take me to the hospital again!

Anonymous said...

Canada over America? Seriously?

Bo... said...

Anonymous: Have you been in an American hospital lately? Obviously not. They look pretty but your treatment team has a strong resemblance to Moe, Larry and Curly.

Anonymous said...

That's not been my experience. Nurses trash talking 'the system'...that's nothing new and I don't find it helpful. I get that you wanted to go home as soon as possible and I know there are bad hospitals and practitioners out there, but that doesn't mean the whole thing is wrong. The "Magnet Hospital" designation is a good place to start when looking for a quality hospital.

Anonymous said...

oh annon, don't you know how superior Susan is to the rest of you drolls that work at hospitals and everywhere else in her life? If she says every hospital in America is bad, well by God she shoudl know. What does it matter that she lives in Podunk, USA and has no persepctive on reality? come on, don't be logical here, we are talking crazy drunk Susan...where everyone is an idiot but her and Jesus.

Bo... said...

3rd Anonymous: What a nasty little beastie you are. You probably smell bad. I reserve the right to my opinions just as you reserve the right to yours. Now, as Jesus said, "Go and sin no more".

Anonymous said...

Bo, I am so glad you are home. Take care of yourself.

I don't have your issues, but am trying to deal with anxiety and depression. You are one of the people who inspire me to keep at it when things look very bleak to me.

Let Blaine take care of you!

I've posted before with my name, but this is anonymous, as my employers and others don't know about my issues. It would cause me a lot of problems if they did. Hope you understand - I'm not hiding behind the anon to torment you.

Bo... said...

Thank you, Anonymous! I feel good that you're out there and that we're "online friends". How well I can identify with the problem of not wanting your employers to know about your "issues". I hid my problems for most of my career. But just remember, I'm out here and I totally understand.

Just hang in there and do something I always try to do: find the funny stuff to laugh at. Doing that has saved me sometimes when I was hanging by a thread!

Sueb said...

I am very blessed to have one of the number one hospitals in the US and doubly blessed to never need it! Seattle has 4 of the best. That said I know there are some stinkos out there as my folks were in them constantly towards the end. And how true Cloe's comment that some dr has to graduate at the bottom and get a job somewhere. Sorry it was there though! If you look at the ranking the USA unfortunately comes way down the list for medical care. Not sure who's fault that is though. Not all the nurses and drs. Sad huh?

Bo... said...

Hi Sueb! I was so disgusted with my care at that hospital that I told Blaine that even if I was dying to NOT take me there. Take me somewhere else! And you're right about how we're so low down on the standards of care. Sad---especially when I contemplate what will happen to my mom when she gets to the age of hospital visits....