Saturday, November 29, 2008

Update and Confessions and a Hospital Food Rant...

So, Friday morning the doctor phones, and he says (to Michael), I want you to go to the emergency room NOW and check in to the hospital, because with these blood tests plus breathing problems, I'm worried that you're getting blood clots. So we do. And that's where we've been ever since. It's been a wild ride.

And what's happened, really? Not, in a way, very much. There have been a lot of tests. They have all come back negative. Michael's heart rate has been really high, and they've been trying to get it down. They gave him three units of blood to try to deal with the anemia. And he has been sleep-deprived, and uncomfortable as hell, and earlier today, he was hell-bent on checking himself out. Which, to make a really long story short, he didn't do... but in the process, he managed to really make everyone furious with him, some of which is fair, and some of which is not. I went home and slept for a few hours last night, but tonight, I'm staying with him... I think that will make it easier... and so I'm expecting a rocky night.

The trouble is, he's a terrible patient. Just the worst. He hates sitting and waiting. He hates being hooked to monitors. He hates taking medication. And it's not like any of us are crazy about it, of course... but some people have a little more grin-and-bear-it tolerance. Plus he takes it all personally. Really personally, in a way that I can't relate to at all. I mostly figure that hospital staff are trying hard to do their jobs, jobs that are really not easy, and that basically it's mostly not about me. The peak of it all... well, peak number 1... was them trying to give him a new heart medication without discussion about it beforehand. I think that it if it had been the other way around... if the very nice doctor had explained it first... it might have all played out differently. But as it was, he was through the ceiling furious, refused to take it... and everything went downhill from there. He insisted on leaving. The doctor said no. He said yes. And this went on and on, with and without other people.

Eventually, the physician's assistant came in and told him his options, and said some things that actually made sense, and went off to check him out with or without the doctor's consent.... or, rather, to see if he could get the doctor's consent. And then we waited. Which gave Michael time to cool off. And when the PA came back, with all the discharge paperwork done, Michael was ready to change his mind and stay. So I went out and talked to the PA... who, unbelievably, was rude as hell, made it clear that he'd gone to all this effort, and that he was not happy, and that he wasn't going to do anything to faciliate rescheduling any of the things that had been cancelled. And was just totally obnoxious about it. Kept saying, "I'm not willing to do any of these things because he keeps changing his mind. I have done everything that I can do." I said, "You have not done everything that you CAN do; you have done everything that you are WILLING to do." And he said I was wrong, and reiterated the same thing again.

I am a pretty reasonable person. I understand that patient noncompliance is really a problem. I understand that this kind of thing creates tons of problems for all of the staff. I really do. I am not unsympathetic about this at all. But Michael only changed his mind because of what this guy said... and then he is an absolute total jerk about the whole thing. I am angry. Still. And hopefully I will stay angry for long enough to write the letter of complaint that I fully intend to write.

Anyway. Here we are, as I said. Still on one heart med. With three units of blood that appear to have done no real good. And hopefully scheduled for a colonoscopy on Monday, oh joy. At least, that's the notion behind staying here, to get that done rather than waiting until January as scheduled.

So here is my confession: last night, I was both so hungry and so upset that I stopped on the way home and bought a loaf of forbidden wheat bread plus some cheese and some chocolate, and ate most of it. No, clearly I'm not done with emotional eating. You think you've gotten past that particular bad habit... and things get bad enough, and it all comes right back to bite you.

And here is my hospital food rant. The food here is atrocious... but that's not the issue. When we were in the emergency room, I asked the doctor if I could go out and get us some food. She said, sure, but it has to be diabetic-appropriate. Then the nurse offered us the box lunch from the hospital cafeteria. Contents... two slices of turkey on a HUGE white roll. A container of peaches in syrup. A container of apple juice. And a sugar cookie. WHAT exactly in this meal is diabetic-appropriate? (Answer: the turkey, which was also salty as hell.) Every single meal in this hospital has been just like that. French toast. Turkey and gravy on white bread. Mounds of stuffing. Pudding. Sweetened juice. Absolutely unreal. At least now he's on clear liquids, in preparation for the scoping, so food ceases to be an issue, for him anyway.

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