Hospital Purgatory

I’m not sure what happens in his brain, but certain things affect Bo in unusual ways.  Yesterday at 4 pm he had anesthesia for his colonoscopy.  He was alert before going into the procedure;  he was almost manic when he awakened.  I was with him until seven when Jon arrived, and as Jon entered the room I gave him a look of desperation and relief.  Bo hadn’t stopped for two hours.

First of all, they have been pumping him full of fluids for 5 days,  and it seemed as if a hose had been opened.  As soon as I would get him cleaned and back into bed,  it would happen again.  In one 45 minute period,  I used three pull-ups, two hospital gowns, two bed pads and a pair of sox.  When he wasn’t “going,”  he was moving things, pulling at his IV,  asking nonsense questions….. in and out of his bed.

When I returned  at 4 am,  Jon couldn’t tell me fast enough about his night.  It took him from 7 pm  until 1 am to get Bo to stay in bed and fall asleep.  He went through all but one of a package of 20 pull-ups,  multiple gowns, sox and pads.  Bo was non-stop activity and totally confused.

As Jon and I shared meatball sandwiches at 4 am in the nurse’s station just outside our room,  we discussed what would have happened if Jon hadn’t been here.  The nurses would have either been frantic with Bo or he would have been in the halls,  wet and lost.  Jon said the night nurse told him that one time she had five Alzheimer’s patients  at the same time and one night she thought she had them all in bed, went to the nurse’s station (perhaps 30 feet away) , and looked around to see  all five of them  in the hall.

Maybe I’ve just been here too long,  but things are really starting to bother me.  This morning, for example, at 8 am a nurse came into the room,  put on all overhead lights, and announced loudly, “Good Morning, David!” (the man in the other bed.)  Both David and Bo were sound asleep at last after being awakened for vital signs checks and to have blood drawn.  David was restless with pain all night; Bo was up several more times for bathroom trips, and he was finally resting peacefully.  I jumped up (from napping on the chair myself) and turned the lights off,  just irate.

Then at 8:15 another loud announcement and lights:  breakfast had arrived.  I nearly jumped out of my skin.  WHY would I awaken Bo to eat when he’s finally sleeping.  So, much to the very bossy woman’s disapproval, I took the food and set it aside.  “Well, I’ll let you keep it,” she said, “but I’ll be back in an hour to take it away.”  I smiled at her.  Only 30 minutes later she arrived back to remove the food.  I asked to keep it, but she said I was only allowed to keep the cereal and milk and removed the juice, coffee, pancakes, sausages and scrambled eggs, which were in a heated and covered dish.  I am VERY annoyed because when Bo does wake up he won’t get any sustenance again until his hamburger at lunch. This is why people get sicker in the hospital (and not because there’s bacteria in the food!)

I shouldn’t be so hard because the nursing staff has generally be very kind and helpful.  I know they appreciate our presence here.  But what bothers me is their seeming insensitivity to a sick person’s needs — sleep,  quiet,  calm, low lights, gentleness.  Even from my own hospital stays, it’s the same.  The patient CANNOT get uninterrupted sleep or gentle quiet.  This hospital has a TV channel called “Quiet meditation” which the staff turns on in the rooms.  I can tell you that if I hear one more frog or bird or waterfall this week, I will go out of my mind.  If I were in pain,  it would be worse.

Hopefully,  today I will get the final results of Bo’s tests and he will be able to go home.  I do have to wonder if it will make a difference to him.  It surely will to Jon and me!




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3 Responses to Hospital Purgatory

  1. MCI Alice says:

    Can only imagine how hard this must be for you. Amazed you have the energy to write at all, let alone with such clarity.

  2. Maureen says:

    Hopefully you can all go home and get some much needed rest sans any noise!!!

  3. kategresham says:

    Yes, hospitals are not the places you go to get rest and recover; but this story is so cruel! I know nurses are human, get stressed and exhausted…perhaps the system needs to be able to adjust and give them time out when they’re not coping. I have read your P.S., so I’m glad things improved.

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