Didn’t manage to get back to any writing yesterday.  Things took a bit of a turn for the worse in the afternoon.  I’m in a step down unit with a couple of patients with elusive ailments.  Both had TONS of visitors yesterday.  The old lady next to me has four sons, all doctors, and they took it in turns to show up, present their credentials, and then act quite indignant about mom’s care.  The guy across from me is a pickup football player, and the entire team spent the day here yesterday hanging out flirting with the nurses..  I think that’s where some of my care slipped through the cracks.

In the late afternoon I started feeling some serious pain.  Suddenly very aware of everything they did to me on tuesday. Someone from the pain management team came and whacked up my dosage..  at the same time, one of the nurses noticed that my catheter wasn’t draining.  Somehow in the shuffle of getting out of bed to test my legs and getting back in, the line had been routed badly, and the bag had been placed too high.  So TONS of urine was building up in my bladder, and I think really contributing to the pain..

After a short nap, I noticed that the sump from my abdomen wasn’t draining..  One of the nurses came and turned up the suction, and it vigorously emptied out and then started making the noise it makes when you’ve reached the bottom of a milkshake with a straw..  I could feel air being sucked into my body and gurgling around and coming back out..  Very disconcerting.  The most troubling thing about the it all was that no one seemed to know how it was SUPPOSED to work.  At some point in here a nurse came to take my vitals, and realized that they hadn’t been taken since morning, and that I had a fever.  By 8:00 I was feeling as though the lunatics were running the asylum and had I been able to stand up and walk, I’d have left!  The final straw was when a nurse removed the suction from the drainage tube, and just taped a rubber glove on the end of it instead.

At this point I did something that I find very embarrassing.  I complained.  Vigorously.  It felt very foreign.  As a rule, I’m not a whiner.  But I raised hell. I was put in a situation where I suddenly felt no confidence in the care, and it was very scary.

in retrospect, I think the fact that i hadn’t slept at all the night before, and hadn’t eaten since sunday were probably contributing factors in my snap.

Last night went much better than the night before.  The nurses were much more aware of the lights, and the noise level.  I slept very well.  Woke up feeling fine.  Today has been a good day.  My main dressing was removed this morning, revealing an 8 inch strip of staples.  Crazy.  I got out of bed several times and went walking.  My right leg seems not to be connected to my abdomen in any way..  not sure whether it’s just numbness from the epidural, or a reaction to having my abdominal muscles sliced up.  I guess I’ll find out in time!  The second walk was much better than the first, though.

No definite word yet on moving to another room yet.  It keeps being mentioned, but not materializing.

26 Replies to “oops”

  1. Glad to read your recovery is coming along. I am not a complainer either but sometimes, as you can see, they just don’t know anything is wrong so the only way out of the situation is to let them know your concerns. Hopefully they can move you to another room with a little more privacy which will hopefully in turn return you to your feet faster. Feel better my friend!

  2. Glad you are having a better day so far today! You should in no way feel embarrassed! It has been my experience that in hospitals, because the staff are admittedly worked extremely hard, those that say nothing get ignored…the worst cases (as in my Dad) being those who are unconscious or have dementia and are not able to speak up. May the days get ever better and better! Thinking of you lots…..

  3. Yeah well, I’m glad you complained! Call it what you want, you should never feel badly about something like this. You should have every confidence that these people know what they are doing! They are responsible for your healing darnit.. I’m somehow shifted back to when I was in the hospital and my Mom (bless her), who is definitely a complainer, make a fuss about every little thing. Now given, I basically had Nurse Ratchet in the ICU, but no matter! If you are concerned.. whoa, – Pull yourself together now people! Glad to hear though that it got better. I’m thinking about you, and extremely thankful that you are writing to us letting us know how you are. Alright BRO (cause thats what you are to me!) I love you, La

  4. When I had Z. I was in a room with three other woman. So much commotion all day and all night. Z. didn’t like it, so I held him the entire two days! Hospitals really are a difficult place to get any rest or relaxation! And when your body is all discombobulated you really do need people around you who demonstrate their expertise. So glad they snapped to!

    Thank you for your efforts to keep us updated – I am so glad you have so many loved ones both near and far.

    Continued prayers of support and healing!

    j,r,s & z

  5. (delurking after friending you on flickr years ago)

    as a healthcare provider, i feel a little appalled with the care you received! i am so sorry!

    i hate to say it, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease when things get busy, so please don’t be afraid to speak up. ask for the charge nurse & complain to the doctor (the ultimate nurse embarrassment) when she/he rounds on you. nurses usually have 4-6 patients, and when one is quiet and seems happy, they may (unfortunately) think that all is well and may not tune in to the obvious problems that are occurring. fever isn’t too abnormal after a major surgery (if it wasn’t too high) but they should DEFINITELY be monitoring it frequently. so good to hear you are up and moving around. i’m sure you’ve already heard it, but that is the best way to get everything moving and working again. your body was made to move, and being in a hospital bed all day hinders the healing process. move as much as you can tolerate and your doctor allows.

    so, the short reply is – i’m glad you complained! they had it coming! i hope the rest of your stay improves. you are such a beautiful human being. thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Oi. Your story made me shudder a few times…I understand how you feel. I went through the same thing during this past surgery in July, I felt like the nurses and people aren’t me didn’t care about me/weren’t aware I was even there. I usually just go with the flow but when they left me in the post-surgery wake up room, I got really upset. Finally a nurse who was just getting off duty wheeled me to a quiet corner and got another nurse to take me to my bed. It was scary and I felt really weak and vulnerable.

    I hope you can get your own room. That was one of the better parts of being a kid in paediatrics, I always had my own room and nurses were constantly coming in to check on me. You felt like people cared and knew you were there.

    Sending lots of good vibes your way. 🙂

  7. Dear Ezra: I think it’s bad all that mess with your drains, it seems unprofessional, you should make a formal complaint about these things, do not forget. I am glad to know that, despite everything, the next day was better. Actually every day should be better and better, and get beyond this whole thing. Not a day passes without having my thoughts with you and Hill, wishing you all the best and a very fast recovery, much love and encouragement for you. Hugs

  8. holy hell. glad you spoke up! i would feel uneasy and scared too. hoping today continued to go better. and much needed rest was successful. sending you lots of zzzzzz’s and snores.

  9. Suffering in silence is grossly over rated! Take it from a professional I-wont-stand-for this-shit hell-raising queen who’s currently PMSing to the Nth degree: Health care pros being negligent is an EXCELLENT time to raise hell.
    Have a good, quiet night and get better quickly so that you may go home soon.

  10. I’m glad you spoke up too!
    It’s too easy to be forgotten in large institutions like hospitals.
    Unlike schools and government though, it’s your life on the line.
    You are inspiring. Always.

  11. i can’t imagine, ezra. i hope you get a good nights sleep soon. and can go home. again though man. you? hero.

    mojo? big time.

  12. Just wanted to say keep it up man! You are inspirational just doing your normal thing – keep up the photos – keep up the blog, lots of +ive energy being sent your way – we will do the heavy lifting!

  13. Glad things are getting better. Overcome your non-whining nature and raise hell. I suspect Hillary can help with the hell-raising, too.

    On the not-being-attached thing with your right leg and your hip. Last year I had significantly less scary surgery and afterward things felt like they didn’t quite connect they way they had before. I asked about it and was told that b/c of the nerves that get sliced through and put back together oddly it’ll be a while before things seem to FIT properly. It took a couple of months before I could feel pretty much anything on or below the skin at the joint where my right hip attaches to my torso. It’s gotten better but it took a while.

    good luck and don’t be afraid to yell a bit at people.

  14. it’s not whining. it’s informing people of how you’re feeling- and remember you’ve just got out of pretty major surgery- so it is important that the medical staff gets feedback. we are pretty much the only species that can communicate pain specifically- so use that power to your advantage.

    here’s hoping rest of your stay is smoother.

  15. Thanks so much for writing, Ezzie – you have no idea how comforting it is to “hear” your voice. Give ’em hell if you need to. I’m pretty sure if there is ever a time to advocate for your own concerns, it’s now. You shouldn’t have to, but more so, you certainly shouldn’t be embarrassed about doing it if you do have to. Let us know when you’re ready for visitors. Lots of love.

  16. Ezra, We are so thankful to hear of your progress and unfortunately some of the set backs.
    Greetings from Tennessee! All of us and many others here are praying for you and Hillary. We are hopeful for a steady improvement on a daily basis and for your continued courage and your will to never give up!!! Fight on, Ezra!! We are with you. Our prayers are every day for you.
    Love, Hillaine , Ed, Addison and Katherine

  17. no, not complaining, just some good old fashioned medical advocacy. Sorry you needed to do it, but glad they seem to have responded! Sounds like a little mini-hell in that there step-down unit. hope they get you out of there quick!

  18. don’t apologize for complaining. this is no time for stoicism! the art of the gripe is a valuable evolutionary tool: don’t be afraid to use it. and if it pains you to think of it as a complaint, you should consider it more along the lines of civil unrest.
    that said, gather your strength and get the hell out of there. bourbon awaits.

  19. Man, I’m happy to hear you set them straight! Hope they find you a better spot soon. Thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery.

  20. I have ulcerative colitis/crohn’s. I wound up in the hospital for a month & 1/2 back in the nineties. I was on liquid food most of the time. I caught a secondary infection which apparently almost killed me, I was so out of it my parents were more involved with my care than I was. I was thrown in with a bunch of schizophrenics with upper respiratory infections. No sleep, no food, and pretty soon a deteriorating condition. No one knew why I wasn’t getting better.

    Pitching a hissy fit is completely acceptable from where I’m sitting. But being surrounded by guys who scream in their sleep from night terrors and are coughing from a drug resistant strain of TB wasn’t helping me get better. My parents pitched a fit and got me moved to a private room. Lo and behold, soon I was getting a lot better care.

    You have to get in the driver’s seat with your care. And with something like a bag and stitches, Get out of there soon!

    Best, Keith

  21. having been in Hill’s shoes with my mom’s cancer, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!!!! I won’t list here all of the errors that were made as we dealt with the medical “professionals” over 11 months, but suffice to say that you have to make yourself heard. If you are unhappy with anything, tell someone. Tell everyone. And then tell them again, in a louder voice.

    So glad you are on the other side of surgery. Hoping for no need for chemo!!!!

  22. Man, you’re such a complainer. 🙂
    Let us know when you’re allowed visitors. I’ll grab the band and we’ll make our way to you.

  23. Please don’t feel bad about complaining in these situations… When Susan(my older sis) had the surgery, I had to constantly bug the nurse so she can give us some proper care. And it includes being on the nurse’ ass in changing the IV so air doesn’t get into Susan’s vein…Since Susan was in too much pain to raise hell, I did it for her. Whatever makes you more comfy, let them know! And so glad you got a new room, rest rest rest! We’re both thinking of you…

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