I finally have a moment to write, and for those of you who wanted to know, after 10 days of complete and utter bullshit, my mom’s resting comfortably at home.
Unfortunately, she had to endure those 10 days of complete and utter bullshit. I am now deathly afraid of getting sick (pun fully intended). I’ll outline a chronicle of those 10 days so you can see for yourselves what we’re paying doctors and nurses ridiculous salaries for:
(a warning folks, this is long)
Monday: Mom hasn’t been feeling well all weekend (nausea, etc.) and goes to the doctor, who promptly tells her to go to the hospital (considering her medical history and upcoming gallbladder operation) where she is admitted. She almost gets to go home, but the illness prevails, and on her Doctor’s orders she’s hooked up to an IV and kept overnight.
Tuesday: Mom feels even worse, nausea is out of control. She’s ordered to do some tests, which don’t work out so well. One of them is a Barium Swallow and Follow Through, where you drink 2 litres of radioactive chalky substance (Think pepto bismol, but 4x as thick with no fun pink flavour) and they follow its course through your small intestine. This test obviously won’t work well for someone who can’t keep anything in her stomach for more than a minute. She drinks some, throws it up, repeats. After most of the barium has been “recycled” they give up on giving the test and Her doctor orders a more powerful anti-nauseant.
Wednesday: Mom begins to feel slightly better, has some lunch and manages to complete the test later in the day. Her doctor says that Pending the results she may be released tomorrow.
Thursday: The test has once again thrown the delicate system completely out of whack. The nausea and diahrrea have returned full force. An Ultrasound is inconclusive. Her doctor throws a couple other anti-nauseants on the list that she’s approved to take. He says “see you tomorrow”. Yah right. Her surgeon comes in, and although quite attentive, says “I’m on my way to the Airport, see you next week.”
Friday: Progressively feeling worse. The nausea is far from simmering down, but according to the doctor’s last orders, all the nurses can do is administer another anti-nauseant when she starts heaving again. This does not make for a healthy experience. No doctor ever sees her today though. The pinnacle of the sucky experience is when she starts throwing up in the middle of the night. The nurse comes in to check on someone else, and observes my mom filling one of those attractive cardboard puke trays. Nurse leaves. Mom finishes puking and puts puke-filled tray on her nightstand. Mom ends up throwing out her own puke-filled tray in the morning, because night nurse never came back.
Saturday: I arrive early in the morning to my basketcase mom. She’s been throwing up pretty much continuously for the better part of a week, and has so much resulting muscle pain that she can’t even sit up straight. Lunch arrives, and the cream of hospital food tray of crap that they leave for her smells so pungently that it sends her into another fit of vomiting. Day nurse comes in and lookes into the cardboard puke tray full of pure blue/green bile and says “oh you poor dear, did you eat some green jello?” HELLO?!?!? This woman has been vomiting up the same sludge constantly for days now, and you ask if she ate green jello? Have you even seen green jello on this floor today? I know I haven’t! The redeeming point of today is when a different nurse comes in to check her vitals in the evening and asks if she’s seen her doctor today. We answer emphatically for her (since she’s not capable of much more than a whimper at this point) that she hasn’t seen a damn doctor since Thursday afternoon! That nurse then barely holds back a “holy shit” and goes to see what the hell is going on. The day drags on, and not much else changes.
Sunday: A doctor finally graces my mom with his presence. Apparently her regular doctor fucked off for the long weekend, and never mentioned to the nurses or doctor on call that he had anyone in the hospital over the weekend. Asshat. The good Doctor Campbell then attended to my mom and brought in the Surgeon on Call to consult. The surgeon, Dr. Dick (lovely girl) spent the better part of an hour talking with my mom, and reviewing her chart. She then ordered a 48 hour continuous drip of Maxoran, interspersed with a few doses of Zoforan (one of the most powerful anti-nauseants on the market, intended for cancer patients) to bring the nausea under control. It worked like a charm.
Monday: The drugs worked amazingly. My mom looks and feels like a new woman – if only it hadn’t taken them 8 days to get their shit together. Unfortunately, her immune system was so compromised over those 8 days, that a 2 month old healed wound from dropping a box on her foot has become infected and her foot is full of fluid. Bizarre, but apparently not uncommon according to the nurse who said that it happens routinely in old superficial wounds to people who get critically ill. We sit in bed and play frogger on the Super Nintendo console in her room (oh yah, she was in Pediatrics. You know your hospital is too small when you’re putting adults into the Peds ward). I suck at frogger. Her new doctor and surgeon both come in to check on her, and a CAT scan is ordered for the next day (both previous tests and all the bloodwork were inconclusive).
Tuesday: Mom still feels good, she’s kept down about 5 meals in a row now, and is on anti-biotics for her foot. The CAT scan is also inconclusive, except for showing a mass of fluid in her illium area (where all the other stuff that’s “wrong” with her currently resides: ie. pancreas, gallbladder, chron’s inflammation, etc.). Colonoscopies are ordered for the future when she’s feeling better.
Wednesday: The absentee Dr. finally returns and pops in to check up. YeeHaw. The admirable Drs. Campbell and Dick also come in. Mom has been off of the anti-nauseant drip for about 12 hours now, and has managed to keep breakfast down. She is released!!! Home now to recouperate with the phone numbers of a new GP – bye absentee Dr. – (unfortunately Dr. Campbell either didn’t have a practice or wasn’t accepting new patients) and Dr. Dick, who will now be her “official” surgeon for the next little while.
There you have it folks. Do what you can to keep your health, and pray that you have a good GP and you never get sick enough to require hospitalization (or at least not in Abbotsford). And if anyone knows enough about these things to know if there are grounds to have any of the attending staff reprimanded or sued for medical negligence causing undue pain and suffering (I’m thinking specifically about a particular nurse and a particular doctor) please let me know.