Thursday, January 3, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 64

Episode 64 – January 2 – This marks the beginning of Week 10 in this hell hole. The sleep part of this is getting easier being able to flop around as much as possible.
I am going to warn all of you now that this episode may contain quite a bit of anger, frustration and venom.
The first annoying thing was the fact that some care aides and nurses seem to have the need to hand you a wet face cloth first thing in the morning and a bib before meals. The face cloth may seem like a good thing but then you have to find locations to place it afterwards where it won’t get something wet. I have refused to wear a bib from day one. This may seem like stubbornness but I had to draw the line because this place sucks all the pride and dignity out of your soul.
It didn’t help that I drew Barb as a nurse. She’s competent but not a very good advocate. The good thing is it could have been Maggie who appeared on the floor today. If that was the case I probably would have just got up and tried to walk out of here.
In a bit of foreshadowing or maybe it was psychic thing because I had the urge to throw something at the wall but when Barb came to give me my blood thinner shot I went to move my overbed table and it caught something and my breakfast tray went  flying. Who knew those things were so aerodynamic? Unfortunately I had already finished my breakfast.
The charge nurse from the rehab unit came up to talk to me and tell me absolutely nothing. She told me that there was no room but I was first on the list. I nearly blew up because they had told me they had a bed on Monday and then the line was that they couldn’t take me Monday because they were short staffed but the bed was waiting and Tuesday being a holiday the situation would be the same. Let’s just say this nurse got an earful. And Edna was practically applauding as I vented. The worst line I heard was that if emergency was really busy then there would likely a bed for me on the fifth floor. I thought I had heard wrong but this is true. If Emergency is overflowing each floor has to open extra beds. Whichever idiot thought this made sense needs to be fired. Hospital accountants are penny wise and pound foolish. Right now I am costing you, my insurance company and I time and money but this clown will probably get a bonus for making budget.
The biggest problem is surgeons and hospital l senior managers do not give a damn about patient care. The surgeon basically washes his hands of the day to day stuff which would be fine if he would let the physios and nurses that have one hundred times the knowledge of patient care. Surgeons are amazing at what they do cutting and sewing after that don’t let them deal with human beings. The system needs more nurses, nurse-practitioners and therapists.  
It is probably a good thing that I’ve been almost caffeine free for over two months. I may have been even more irritable.
Obviously, someone heard my complaints because Lisa, the physio came in for my therapy at 10 rather than the usual end of the day. To prove a point, I put both socks on myself and then she asked me if I wanted to put the braces on as well which I did relatively easily. I then got up into the big Arjo walker with little effort. Little effort is a relative term when your legs are bound straight out. I showed off by pushing that cumbersome thing twice around the ortho unit. Lisa realized I wasn’t actually using the arm supports she asked me if I wanted to give a regular walker a try. Of course, just keep throwing me challenges and I’ll go after them head on. So she sat me down on the edge of the bed while we waited for the assistant to find a suitable walker. It then dawned on me I had to pee and for the first time in two months I was able to do it almost standing up albeit into a bottle. Small victories and baby steps!
The assistant measured up the walker, I stood up in it and found walking just as easy in it. The next test was to see if I could get into the wheelchair with the braces on and again it worked out on one attempt.
About a half hour later, the charge nurse came in with a porter and told me there was a bed in 5 East waiting and we had to pack up. These people haven’t got a clue about what is going on. Communication is not a big thing around here.
So I gathered everything up and we headed downstairs to room 512. It was a bit of a culture shock coming from a unit where you are totally dependent on the nurses to a unit where you are expected to do so much more for yourself. I like the idea but it is a little bit overwhelming.
It did help that my nurse is Tara who had looked after me during first week upstairs on 6 West and was able to help me along.
I’m not sure I’m crazy about meal arrangements though instead of being brought to your room there is a dining room where everyone eats together. Let me put it this way; once again I’m the youngest one on the floor by at least thirty years. This is not exactly the most appetizing situation. The other stupid thing they did was transfer me in the middle of lunch delivery instead of waiting until I had lunch on the sixth floor. So here I was sitting at the table while everyone was eating their lunch and waiting for someone to track down my tray.
My first visitor on the floor was Lorraine’s brother, Rob who also had to track me down from the sixth floor because according to the front desk I was still. Unfortunately, Rob’s original reason for being here was not to see me but to look after his mother who had just been brought here to Emergency because of a respiratory problem. Hopefully she will be okay.
One of the best things about being here is I no longer have to wear a gown all day so I was able to wear a pair of shorts and a shirt for the first time in months.
The physio came into see me after lunch to assess how I would be doing my transfers and other things. One of the main other things came into play and the original was to revert to the old method until I was assessed by the occupational therapist in the morning but Tara thought we could actually try getting me into the toilet. So although there was some dignity restored we still aren’t one hundred percent there. Sitting on the throne with your legs locked out straight still presents problems.
Tara did share something encouraging with me after helping me get set up on the side of the bed so I could work on my writing facing Grouse Mountain. She told me her and the physio were recommending that I lose the braces entirely. Hopefully, McConkey will listen to people that know what’s going on for once. 
I appreciated everyone’s words of encouragement on Facebook this morning when I had posted about being so frustrated. As you can see now my frustration was with the stupid system that was letting me progress as opposed to me not getting better. I am better; I just need to be able to prove it. I want to thank all of you for you kind words and I would especially like to thank Cheryl who had a screen full of my venting this morning and was able to empathize with my struggles today and the roller coaster ride I’ve been on all day because she had just been through a mini version of this last month and is making great strides in her recovery.
And just to add one more hill to the roller coaster my wireless server was down this evening.
It also helped that my night nurse, Katha, is the same one that came up to interview and assess me last week.
I will miss the fun I had watching everyone come and go from my bed in 603 and the all the great people working up there on 6 West but I’d rather sit here and stare at the mountains and deal with the added stress of actually making progress here on 5 East.
I am on the mailing list for Ipso-Reid’s online surveys. In a beautiful touch of irony, they sent me one today about healthcare and in particular doctors’ performance. You talk about timing being everything. Hee hee!
And I finished my first night in my new home with and orange and one more of Eric’s delicious biscotti. Note to self: Eat orange before sweet thing not the other way around.
To be continued...

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