Thursday, May 12, 2011

Psychotic Nursing Staff

Hospital ID tag, along with drug allergies and a
pink tag to let staff know they cannot apply pressure cuffs
or needles to the side where breast surgery took place.
After being diagnosed with asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia, I was hospitalized. What happened prior to my hospitalization, though, is an abomination to the nursing profession.

A little background: Despite the fact that I try to avoid everything that could possibly make me sick, about twice a year my asthma flares anyway. For the past couple of weeks my breathing was becoming increasingly labored, and everything I did caused me to feel exhausted. The coughing was deep, and it hurt my lungs. Used to experiencing asthma attacks and bronchial spasms, I could tell that this time something was different.

As the days passed, my energy depleted. I couldn't carry on with even low-energy chores. If I pulled out a load of laundry from the dryer, for instance, and walked it over to the couch to fold it, I had to rest immediately. If I made lunch for my grandson, I was so out of breath by the time I finished, all I could do was just sit there and try to catch my breath.

Eventually even just talking wore me out. I couldn't wait to see my pulmonary doctor to get some magical elixir that would clear my lungs. I had an upcoming commitment to watch some of my grandchildren the following week while their father drove their mother to Virginia for surgery, and I HAD to be able to breathe.

So I met with my pulmonary doctor last Friday, hoping for an immediate miracle. He recommended an x-ray. Before I left the office, I was told by Nurse Ratchet that I couldn't call for the results of the x-ray – I had to come in to talk to the doctor about the results! I could barely breathe and she wanted me to to return to the office to hear something that could easily be told to me over the phone.

Even my oncologist told me over the phone that I had breast cancer, and I appreciated the phone call. But to ask someone who can barely breathe to make numerous trips throughout the day is insane.

I called later anyway to see if the results were in, because I wasn't about to drive back to the office only to find out the results were in, but that I still couldn't see the doctor. Yes, Nurse Ratchet told me, they were in, but the doctor wasn't. He wouldn't be returning until Tuesday, and neither she nor anybody else could give me the results. Can you call him for me, I asked. "NO! You'll have to wait until Tuesday."

Aren't nurses supposed to be compassionate and caring? This woman is missing some serious genetic links.

Confused, I asked, "So if it turns out I have pneumonia, I have to wait until Tuesday to find out?" And Psycho woman said in a most condescending tone, "That's right."

Well, it turned out I did have pneumonia and asthma and bronchitis. Though I tried to slow my pace to a standstill, I ended up in the hospital the following morning anyway. The ER doctor told me that the x-ray, which is only 60% accurate showed nothing. He ordered a CAT scan because CAT scans are 90% effective. Whereas the x-ray showed nothing, the CAT scan showed two small spots of pneumonia on my right lung. So in addition to asthma and bronchitis, I was now in the early stages of pneumonia.

I got home yesterday (spent Mother's Day in the hospital), after being given a nebulizer, LOTS of prescription medications, antibiotics, inhalers, and physical therapy tools.

I should have guessed that the staff at my doctor's office would force me to go through hoops to get my prescribed meds. While the doctors who are treating me are very nice and attentive, many of the women in their office are not.

The hospital staff, on the other hand, was amazing, and I couldn't have received better care. As a matter of fact, as a long-time sufferer of insomnia, who has tried so many over-the-counter meds and even a couple of prescription drugs that were given to me by friends (though desperate for sleep, I never once fell asleep due to those sleep aids), I was afraid to try anything because nothing had ever worked.

Before I went to sleep my second night in the hospital, the nurse who'd been concerned (key word in nursing) about my inability to sleep the night before (I didn't fall asleep until ten to four and was up by 5:30), asked me if I wanted something to help me sleep the following night. I relented, and, for the first time in decades, I had the BEST SLEEP EVER.

Interestingly, Ativan comes with precautions for people who have breathing problems, so I was surprised I was taking a drug with those warnings. It's also supposed to be addictive. Still, having gone without a full night's sleep in decades, though I had to be awakened numerous times throughout the night for breathing treatments (at my request – nurses said they would not awaken me if I wanted to sleep through the night, but I REALLY wanted to get out of there, and those breathing treatments helped), I was grateful for finally being able to get some sleep.

I am also so grateful for the hospital staff's concern and care at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, IL. They are as concerned and caring as is the staff at the Mills Breast Cancer Institute in Urbana, IL.

However, I'd like to fire a couple (not all) of the nurses and staff at my pulmonary doctor's office. I have never seen such a bunch of non-caring sociopaths in my life. I'd love to send a letter to the doctor about his Hitler, but I know Ms. Sociopath Psycho Woman would intercept it. The women in that office, with some exceptions, should change their careers from medical professionals to executioners. Had I waited until Tuesday, I might have died. Maybe that's what she was hoping would happen.

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