Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home Sweet Hospital

After my night of torture and terror, where I was saved only by a holy angel, Dr Devine re-checked my cervix and it hadn't changed anymore. This is good news. You can undilate or unefface but as long as it isn't progressing you are good. So, they deemed me stable enough to move back to the good old antepartum ward. Gee, I missed it there so much! Late in the afternoon a private room had opened up so they put me in there. Of course I was transferred right at dinner time so I missed dinner upstairs and downstairs. I had to ask the nurse about dinner. Well, perhaps you remember how well this went the last time. She informs me that I should have gotten dinner upstairs and that she doesn't believe there are any trays left. Ok, I don't know what to tell you lady. It's not like I was darting through the halls avoiding the dinner man on purpose. I am pretty sure I can't go from 12:30pm to the following day at 8:30 am without food. If you want me to go out and grab myself something that's fine. I would be happy too. After making sure I knew how utterly ridiculous it was that I did not take responsibility and demand to have dinner before I left, she went off to find me something. Despite her disgust she managed to wrangle me a tray from pediatrics so I had chicken nuggets and potatoes shaped like smiley faces.

I soon settled into a routine. I go to bed around 1am, wake up at 5:30 for vitals, stay awake until after breakfast, take catnaps between monitoring sessions and finger pricks until lunch. Then I really get into my day. I watch movies, play on the internet and chat with my buddy in Dallas who is only one day ahead of me and also confined to the hospital. I make sure to get in the requisite 4-5 hours of Animal Cops. I honestly do not know how there are so many episodes of that show. I watch everyday for hours and have only seen a couple reruns. It's amazing. They should get an award.

Everyday 30 or 40 people ask me the same questions and tell me to make sure I tell someone if anything changes. Yeah, got it. Early in the mornings there is lots of hustle and bustle. First, it's vital checks, then finger pricks for blood sugar, then your resident comes in to check on you and then about half the time you get to have teaching rounds come in. I love teaching rounds. They are so awkward but so hilarious. So, it's the attending, a couple residents and a bunch of students all come into your room at like 6am (so if I have dozed off a little I get a nice big awakening). The attending does the talking, asking the same questions that everyone asks all day long and then she looks around at everyone and if a resident wants to pipe in, they can. I try and say hello to everyone but look at the students because they are clearly the least at ease in the situation. Afterward there are a few more people checking up on you and then breakfast comes around 8:30.

Some things are great here. I have no doubt that if I actually needed specific medical attention I would get it immediately and it would be excellent. The problem really comes in that this is a big, big, big hospital and as with any huge organization there is bureaucracy. For instance, I wanted to get Eric a discounted parking pass. All you need is a letter from your doctor that states when your stay began and anticipates how long it will be. The website says to ask your social worker about it. First, I wasn't aware I had a social worker. Well, we knew the parking office was closed through the weekend so I said I would take care of it Monday. In the morning I asked the nurse to request the social worker get me the letter. No social worker Monday. I asked the nurse AND Patient Accommodations about the social worker on Tuesday. I waited and waited and about 4:30 (because parking closes at 5) I called the doctor's office myself. They are happy to give me a letter with the pertinent information but they will only fax it to my personal fax. They will not fax it to parking. At first, I didn't know what the heck to do. Clearly I don't have a personal fax here in the hospital. When I explain that I don't actually have a fax machine in the hospital she says to ask the nurse if I can fax it to the nurse's station. I am pressed for time so I hurry and ask. No. That fax machine is broken. Why wouldn't it be? Thankfully, I realize that Eric has a fax machine at school. I call his school and ask for the fax number. I call back the doctor's office and give them the number. It's past five now so there isn't much more I can do. When Eric is off work he calls and tells me their fax machine was out of toner so no fax. Good grief. I was wondering if this simple thing could be ANY more difficult. I realize that even when he does get the letter, parking closes at 5 and Eric doesn't get out til 7 so I really don't know how he is ever going to get this pass. By the grace of heaven he gets the fax the following day after the toner is changed. I call parking and they let me know that he will be able to pick it up in the garage after hours. He finally got the stupid pass almost a week after I was admitted. Timely.

The other thing that should have been easy but turned into an epic battle was re-filling the soap machine. I wasn't sure who did this so I asked the nurse. She spoke to the front desk about it one day. No soap refill. She spoke to someone about it the next day. No soap. I asked the Patient Accommodations lady the following day. No soap. Finally, after 5 days, a different nurse tracked down housekeeping and that afternoon the soap was actually refilled. I felt like kissing her. I felt like I had completed my odyssey and could die a happy woman. Homer will write epic narratives about my adventures.

So, I have mentioned this is a teaching hospital. Also, it's just a hospital (I know, surprising). That means that instead of seeing a doctor, you see bunches of them. Some attendings, some residents, some fellows, etc etc etc. It's just whomever is on that day. I think that the more minds working on a problem the better, most of the time. However, you should really get your act together before talking about plans with a patient. One day, the nurse came in telling me the doctors wanted to know about my "social situation" meaning where do I live, how many flights of stairs, who do I live with, etc.. This was kindof out of the blue so I asked her why they wanted to know and she said she wasn't sure but it didn't take a brain surgeon to realize they were thinking about sending me home. At this point I had only been really stable for a few days so I was a little worried about going home. Of course, no doctor ever came to discuss their thoughts with me. I am just the measly patient, right? The nurse asked a resident who just told her they were debating in-patient vs. out-patient care for me. Discussing it amongst themselves but obviously not discussing it with me. So the next morning my resident tells me he is going to try and get me released. He didn't ask any questions or inquire about how I might feel about that. No, no. He just smiled and left. That night before leaving the attending, Dr Calm came by to check in. She clearly hadn't planned on saying anything to me so finally I asked her about it and she was quite surprised that anyone had said anything to me. She said that at some point I may go home but certainly not that week and that if that decision needed to be made we would discuss my concerns before making a final decisions. I was happy with that answer but still a little irked that I had been told a bunch of different, vague things by different people putting me on this roller-coaster of "What was going to happen?". A couple days later my actual doctor was on and we had a nice discussion about it. She said that when she had heard that they were thinking of releasing me she had said just said no and made them realize that it wasn't time. We discussed that it is a teaching hospital and part of what they had to learn was how to present a plan to a patient. I assured her I really wasn't mad at anybody. I wasn't, just confused. She's pretty awesome so I was down with it. Her plan is to check me on Friday (the 11th) and decide from there based on what she sees. That made so much sense to me.

So, wanna know what I look like now? Like this:


  1. As a nurse, there are a few things I feel compelled to say: (and you have nothing better to do than to read them!! :))
    1. I always feed my patients.
    2. I always believe them when they say they are in pain.
    3. I know how uncomfortable catheters are.
    4. I always introduce students and involve them in my care.
    5. I know hormones associated w/pregnancy and postpartum, and would never ever reccomend socks!
    6. I have been chained to a bed (in the medical sense) and HATED it!
    I gotta say, even though you feel huge, you look pretty awesome! And, I am a little confused why you couldn't eat on a Mag drip. I'm happy you have at least one ally (Dr. Calm) and really wish you were in my hospital so you could
    A. have your dog visit
    B. have the window open
    C. anytime dining, just call the number and they bring you a tray.
    I am thinking that most antepartum nurses have never been antepartum patients. :)

    ps I laughed very loudly several times, keep up the posting!! :)

  2. Your lack of stretchmarks is amazing!! Mine were like 149% worse by that point! So in the midst of all the scary hospitalness, you can be happy that you don't have a scary deformed looking belly! It may be huge but it's very cute. :)