Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Note To Self

I think I’ve learned something over these past several days and as a result will make this note to myself. “Don’t start this type of hospital stay on a Friday afternoon.”

For about 8 or 9 weeks, I have been fighting a Urinary Tract Infection. My doctor would have a culture showing the infection was sensitive to one antibiotic so he would place me on that antibiotic and three to five days after I finished it I would take another sample which the laboratory would culture to see if the infection was gone and if not what antibiotic it was sensitive to. This cycle went on as I have said for 8 or 9 weeks. This past Friday afternoon my doctor decided the time had arrived for placing me on an IV antibiotic.

I was admitted to a local hospital at 2:30 Friday afternoon and taken to a Medicine Surgery or Med/Surg room. However, once there and the nurses discovered I was on a ventilator, the Med/Surg nurses didn’t feel comfortable caring for me because of my being on a ventilator. By the time everything was figured out and I was brought down to the ICU floor it was past 5 PM. Because of the hour and it being Friday all of the people who would normally take care of arranging with my nursing agency and with a local home pharmacy making certain I would receive everything I would need to administer the IV antibiotic once I was discharged had gone home for the weekend. So the ICU nurse in charge of my care spent most of Saturday and Sunday morning arranging everything and I was discharge at 2:30 Sunday afternoon.

My wife P also spent most of the weekend talking to the nursing agency and to the local home pharmacy’s Indianapolis office, which covered for the local branch on the weekends. However, on Monday morning we found out that everything we thought was arranged and in place was not in place. The pharmacy had questions about the method, using a Peripheral Intravenous Line (PIV), for the length of time my doctor ordered. The pharmacy also requires a blood test every 3rd day I am on this antibiotic to check that the dose is actually the correct dose. Also the doctor requires a different blood test every 3rd day to check on my liver functions. It turns out that while this drug is a powerful antibiotic, it also can cause serious side effects. Because of all of these blood draws and the fact that the PIV would have to be moved every 3rd day, the doctor has decided that I will need to have a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) line inserted today. I need to be at another local hospital at noon for a scheduled 2:00 PM procedure to insert the PICC.

Yesterday evening P told me that when the number of phone calls reached 20 she stopped counting the number of phone calls she either received or made about this yesterday. If this wasn’t enough busyness, the nursing agency had to send out a supervisor nurse to reinstate me as their patient because my hospital stay had been longer than 24 hours. The nursing agency told me that the supervisor nurse would have to come and complete all the paper work before my new nurse would be allowed to come, my other nurse has taken a job somewhere else. Finally at 11:30 my new nurse arrived. Unfortunately by this time it was too late for P to show the new nurse what and how I like my lunches. Now with my entire schedule all out of sequence the afternoon began. Around mid afternoon, the nurse and I managed to get my shower out of the way which was a good thing because shortly after I was back settled in front of my computer a huge box of IV Antibiotic supplies arrived.

For the second time the supervisor nurse arrived to start my PIV and to begin my first dose of antibiotic. It took about 45 minutes to get everything set up before starting the IV which takes one hour to finish. By the time the antibiotic was finished and I completed my last nebulizer treatment of the day I was exhausted and ready to go to bed.

After spending such a busy day, I spent a relaxing evening watching some TV shows and visiting with my sister N, who with her family, is visiting. However, with all that is going on with my health situation, I haven’t had much time or energy to visit.

Then to top it all off, I couldn’t sleep last night. Every time I would fall asleep I would wake up about 10 minutes later. Then I would start thinking about the past couple of busy days, thinking about having to get use to a new home nurse, wondering how many things I would have to change, wondering if this nurse would be easy to get along with, and wondering how I would react if she made suggestions that I disagreed with. Finally in the early morning hours I managed to get about 2 ½ hours of sleep. However, now in the light of day, I am certain that all of my concerns will turn out to be of no concern.

So as I said at the beginning “Don’t start this type of hospital stay on a Friday afternoon.”


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