compassion, life, mental health, mental illness

No Compassion in Healthcare, My ER experience

In my follow up visit to my primary care physician, something disturbing was confirmed to me, that I had already suspected.

When I went to the Emergency Room, on June 12, for a severe kidney infection, they should have hospitalized me.

I knew this on June 12. In fact, I knew on June 10 and June 11, that I needed to be hospitalized. I was so sick in the wee hours of the night / morning of June 11, that I actually tried three times to take myself to the hospital.

I was shivering with chills, and fighting against fatigue that nearly dropped me to the floor. I barely made it to the bathroom about 4 am that morning, only to dry heave for ten minutes because there was no food in my stomach to vomit up.

I had not been able to eat anything for two days. But the urge to vomit still left me dry heaving with my head in the toilet.

I drug myself back to my room and began trying to pack a few necessary things, in case they admitted me to the hospital.

Earlier that evening I had somehow driven myself to the grocery store to buy a few days worth of frozen dinners, canned soups, bottles of juice, and other foods my kids would be able to prepare for themselves.

I was in fear of going through what I had gone through on April 26, 27 and 28, when I was admitted to the hospital suddenly and unexpectedly for a life threatening colitis / diverticulitis ( intestinal infection. )

I was remembering lying in the hospital bed sobbing, because there was not any food that the kids could make themselves. My texts to their father and grandmother, from the hospital bed had been ignored.

Finally my ex sister in law came to the hospital to get 40 dollars, which I luckily had in cash in my purse. She took a list from me and picked up groceries for my kids.

That is the reason I did not take myself to the hospital on June 10, because I had not been able to get myself to the store from being so sick.

So, about 4:30 am, on the 12th, I got up from the bed, holding onto the walls and made it to the kitchen to attempt to put on my shoes. I just sat in the chair, too week to move.

I couldn’t put my shoes on, so I just went to lay back down for fifteen minutes. I fell onto the bed.

Fifteen minutes later, I knew I had to go. I had been getting more and more dehydrated. Even though I had been drinking gatorades, I could not get in enough.

My fear was overcoming me about the dehydration because in April I had gotten so dehydrated at the ER, while they were refusing me fluids, that my blood pressure dropped to 69 / 42. I almost died from dehydration and low blood pressure which could have shut my body down.

So, I was battling between this fear of my blood pressure dropping and the extreme need to just lay in the bed.

Finally, after three tries of getting up and trying to get my shoes on, failing and falling back into the bed, I finally got down to my car.

I sat there in the car and almost passed out, before I forced myself to drive the short distance across the street to the ER.

Once in the ER, they made me drink this contrast dye stuff for the CT scan. After being on my back for a few minutes going , being sent in and out of the CT machine, I nearly vomited on the guy doing the scan. He grabbed something for me to vomit all that clear liquid that they made me drink, into.

So, after two hours of being hooked to IV tubes etc, the ER dr. told me I had a huge amount of bacteria in the left kidney and wrote out a script for antibiotics.

Then they told me to go drive myself home. I was confused because I still had a temperature of 101, extreme pain in my abdomen and back and I could hardly lift myself off of the gurney.

But “go home and pick up your antibiotics at the drug store on your way” was the instruction.

Why, you ask? My primary care dr. was wondering the same thing. She said she has had patients with less bacteria count in their kidneys and she admitted them to the hospital.

She said I should have been on IV meds and IV fluids for three days.

So, why did they send me home too sick to drive? Why did they risk my not getting enough fluids because I was too week to get out of bed and get myself drinks?

The answer of course, is money.

I had been in the hospital in April for four days, on Charity Care. They were not willing to put someone with no health insurance in the hospital, again.

Sad? Yes.

Was my dr. upset? She was horrified and disgusted. She just shook her head and told me she was very sorry for me. She wished I had been seen by her, rather than the ER, because she would have sent me to the hospital and called ahead for them to admit me.

Healthcare is a business. It is all about the money.

What else is sad? This is a non-profit Catholic Hospital that is designed for taking people with no insurance.

life

Good morning Good night

Good morning and good night. I couldn’t fall asleep until 5 am this time. It feels like a relapse.

I was doing better at backing up the sleep time. I had it at about 2:30 or 3 am I am going to take it as walking up 3 steps and falling back 2 steps.

If I can get it to walking up 3 steps and falling down 1then maybe we will be getting somewhere.

Ok enough silly visual aids and metaphors. It would be nice to entertain you with something.

Sigh…I can’t think of anything funny right now, but I would like to and that is a good sign.

I have to go to the unemployment office today and that will be no fun. I did all the food stamps paperwork last week. The food stamps office is a nightmare.

I sat in the waiting area almost 4 hours on the first day. I was sent home the second day, after driving out 45 minutes to get there. @

The third time I was there for 3 hours exactly. I was sent home with an envelope and instructions on getting a few more papers to mail back to them.

If you count the driving time, which is 1 1/2 hours round trip, I spent about 11 1/2 hours last week with that task. That does not count trips to the bank, phone calls to the ex job etc begging, borrowing etc paperwork.

The good news is that I have been told my medicaide had been approved. Although I have not received a card and the hospital bills have not been paid yet.

I never opened all the envelopes from my hospital stay of four days. With the ER, the gastro specialists and all the rest, it is probably what I made all year last year…maybe I am underestimating it.

But anyway even out of curiosity, I am afraid of the anxiety attack looking at the bills would cause.

Hopefully I will get the Medicaid card because my right foot and ankle are getting progressively worse. The bones are changing from the PTTD ( you could look it up if you really wanted to but basically tendonitis and flat foot) and from the very advanced arthritis in that foot.

Poor foot and ankle. I can’t even walk on uneven ground without a cane. Steps are impossible without the cane and even with it I have extreme pain in the right knee.

So the Medicaid card would allow me to get new xrays and hopefully a molded foot brace.

Going to try to sleep now. I might have to listen to something . The Ajahn Brahm talks are usually relaxing.

TTFN That is what Tigger, from Winnie the Pooh used to say. Ta Ta For Now ! ūüôā

Namaste,
Annie

cats, compassion, kindness, life, mental health, pets, relationships

How Bootsie the Cat Reminded me That Time is Precious

One of my favorite older ladies that I take care of at work came back from the hospital a few days ago. This was the first time I had had a chance to see her, since she came home.  She was out for almost a month.

For this post I will call her Lucy. ¬†(That ¬† “had had” ¬†looks wrong doesn’t it? but I think it is correct…)

Lucy has a beautiful multi-colored cat. His name is Bootsie, because he has white feet that stand out against the other brownish colors on his legs.

He is usually independent  and not overly cuddly.  He will come up to give me a quick hello, and then he will go and get on with his kitty cat business.

Lucy always told me that Bootsie slept in his cat bed on the floor and seldom slept in the bed with her. She wanted him to sleep on the bed, but he would come up for a goodnight petting, and then wisk himself away to his kitty bed.

Well, while Lucy was out, we were all taking turns to feed Bootsie and make sure he had water. I know the other nurses and aides were feeding him, but most of them were not really petting or visiting with him. Poor Bootsie…

Whenever I had that floor as my assignment, I always went in to visit with Bootsie. It was clear that he missed having Lucy around, and he was confused and scared about why he was alone all day and all night.

He became more affectionate as te days went on, ¬†and began to brush up against my legs and purr at me. I really tried to make an effort to go visit him and I enjoyed our little quiet visits as well. It got me away from the hustle and bustle of the facility for a few minutes, as I “hid out” in the room with Bootsie.

The other aides were giving him the dry food, but the cans of wet food, were still on the counter. So, I began opening one for him each night when I was working there on that assignment. Sometimes I would go up to that floor, even if I was not assigned there.  i would open his canned food and to sit with him for a few minutes.

Whenever I went to see him, he would come up to me right away and talk to me in his kitty language. He would brush against my legs and let me pet him. I would sit on the kitchen floor and stay with him for 5-10 minutes or whatever I could spare.

Well, I saw Lois today and she was happy to see me. I told her that we had been taking care of Bootsie and she said that she could tell that we had been. She was very thankful for the care that had given her precious treasure.

Then she said to me that there had been a change in Bootsie, since she had come back.  Bootsie, the aloof kitty cat, was now a cuddy and super affectionate kitty cat!  He has slept on her bed every night since Lucy arrived home.

She told me that he laid next to her last night and was touching her face gently, with his paw. He has not left her side since she came home. When she leaves the room to come down for dinner, he runs right up to her when she returns to the room.

It is amazing how much our pets feel for us. They are kind of like people,  in that we take each other for granite until something happens. Then it scares us a little and we realize that the person we love may not always be there.

We suddenly find time, where there was no time before. We realize that it is important to prioritize relationships in our lives. We have people (and pets) in our lives and it is important to show them that we care.

So, I thought this was a sweet story and I was looking forward to coming home tonight to tell you all about it.

Lucy is so happy that she now has a cuddly kitty!

But if Bootsie is anything like people are, the novelty will wear off and he will be back to sleeping in the cat bed again. We will see. Time will tell…

It is a good lesson for us to remember to appreciate the loved ones in our lives and not to take them too much for granite. That goes for our animals as well. It is easy to get busy with life and to overlook times when we do actually  have a moment that we could take for someone else.

There is time to spend together, even if it is in small doses and there is time to let each other know how much we appreciate each other. Even a little extra time with out pet can easily be worked into our schedule.

So, go hug your kids and kiss somebody ! Give your pet a few extra minutes of time. It is good for you as well as for them.

It is not so much that we do not have the time, it is that we forget that time is precious. There is always time for kindness.

elder care, life, loss, poem, poetry

To My Nurses …..( from the point of view of a very old person)

** this poem is written from the point of view of a nursing home resident as I have observed that they feel from my many years of working and volunteering ¬†in nursing homes””

TO MY NURSES…

Just because I am old

Does not mean I should be discarded

I was young like you once

Full of life and very big hearted

I raises my babies , just like you are

I loved my husband and drove a car

I had a beautiful house 

that I took care of with love

I baked Christmas cookies

and knitted my grandchildren gloves

I bet you don’t know but I worked really hard

I struggled and fought for my family

I felt things very deeply and cared very much

I had family and friends whose lives that I touched

I once was important and had a real life

Just like you do and you never think 

That your life will pass away just like mine did

You’ll end up with nothing you worked for, in the end

You’ll lose your driver’s license¬†

and your favorite car too

You’ll lose your independence

and people’s respect¬†

You’ll watch your spouse die and miss him forever

You’ll dread the phone ringing

because more and more family dies

But you might keep going, on with your life

Even thought there is nothing left that matters

You will not understand why God makes you stay

and does not take you home 

to heaven 

to be with your loved ones

The only people you will have to talk to at all

will be the nurses in the nursing home 

and the patients that do not remember your name

So, please have compassion for me and be patient

Because someday it could be you in my place

All the power you feel now 

and the things that you love

and the ability to make choices about your day

Could be taken away , never to be seen again

and the life that you once thought was yours…

will become a sad memory that no one wants to listen to

Including the nurses that will take care of you