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Friday, October 9, 2009

Don't Mess with me! COMMUNICATE

It is a shame I had to go to TWO of the hospital administrators to tell of the flubs and dubs we encountered at the hospital last week. Thanks goodness I am back at my keyboard and my husband is home with me.

He has an IV pole and Home Health came to teach us how to use it twice a day to still get the IV antibiotic he will still need for three plus weeks till we return to see the infectious disease doctor for another detailed work-up on his blood. I hope he finds great improvements and I believe he will.

We also have two other follow-up appointments next week.

My largest problem was Communication with the doctors, especially his primary. We will never attend that hospital again. Now, this is not to say the MAIN UAB Hospital is out of the question, if fact, IF EVER need BE, That is what will be requested.
UAB Highlands is outdated, antiquated, and the bottom of the heap for UAB equipment.
Also conveniences at a hard enough time in one's life, you have no food services except machines on the weekends and if in ICU and from out of town like one lady I encountered, no place to shower and clean up. Tragic for a facility with such outstanding resources.

We have the hospitalist's who work at the hospital for Doctor's like ours who do NOT do routine daily rounds. We were assigned a doctor of the Internal Medicine Group. She was young and maybe the reason for no bedside manor plus very out of touch except for an AM visit for what is going on. I found out more from all the others Doctors that were called in to see my husband's records and help make decisions but I had to remain at his side constantly to find out information. We never knew who would drop in when as most came form the other UAB campus facilities to make rounds. In fact, the day we arrived, he had three large wounds that went unattended till the third day of admission. IN fact, they contained the vital information needed to know what to treat him with as far as antibiotic's so they were just giving him the whole boatload of antibiotic's they have available to treat everything.

I was given the information when we arrived that he was being treated for low blood pressure and Yes, It was extremely low, like half of what it should be, at admittance 77/44 with 98.2 temperature and they gave him 14 liters of bolus fluids.
When the doctor said she would like to more him to ICU to monitor the blood pressure closer, I agreed and I did not know how shorthanded this hospital is at that time. A GOOD decision!

My other daughter by friendship has known us since my daughter's childhood and came to visit the first night Wednesday Sept. 30, 2009 in intensive care and was with me when we were told we had to leave, visiting hours were over. She works with UAB on the computer end and even said, Good thing he is at Highlands, it must not be life threatening.

So, I went on home that evening and came back the next day 9 AM, and stayed with him all day in ICU, thankfully no one ran me out of his room between visiting hours. We were told from the first day's blood draws it would take 24 hours to GROW cultures and just see if anything grows, 48 hours to see what SHAPE grows and 72 hours for WHAT is growing. SO, we were both anxious to see what happened at 24 hours. He was attended to all day routinely with blood draws, IV fluids, Blood Pressure readings and he was alert and doing fine. We talked and I keep a journal of all the happenings since I had chronic pain. It is just normal for me to take it to Doctor appointments and weird happenings to remember and also to let it go if something bothering me. I recorded all the visits and readings just as I always do.

When the doctor left and told the nurse goodbye without stopping in for the 24 hour reading update we wondered if someone else would let us know as on admittance, I ask for communication "PLEASE" since I learned as I kept notes that is the ONLY way to know what is happening to you when you are down and depending on other people.

The TV was also Green Blobs that first room we were in so we ask for maintenance or new TV, they said it needed re-placed was our first knowledge that old and ancient was a word to add to many items in this hospital. They did move us to another ICU room with better something to do all day while Wait, Wait, Wait. They also brought him breakfast that day which was not what he should have had since he was scheduled for an ultrasound so THAT was delayed till afternoon after 6 hours of empty stomach. He had dabbed at it which was not much but still too much! He went for MRI and Ultrasound later that day and just more of same hourly readings. After not hearing any results I went to the nurse station and ask for help in finding results. OK, after one day and lousy hospital surroundings and now getting lousy service, I said they were crossing my excellent hospital finding over the line since we were not getting what we had ask for . A Simple Thing but, no one had time.

The next day we had still not seen dermatology and hematology and when told they had come and left after he was not in room I got very upset. He had only been gone for another MRI and Ultrasound, why did they not tell me waiting in the room they were there and could not wait as they had other campuses to visit? WHY?

I could go on and on but I will not bore you. Just be very careful, anyone who is ill needs a patient advocate! Were were discharged Wednesday afternoon, October 7, 2009 after a scan through of how to do our Home Health IV chores twice a day with a visit when we did get home with an RN, who again went over how to do it and got his evening line going with us helping to do it. Well, so far we have flubbed up two RX bags trying to get the line air out. We change them daily but have to use one line twice. We are learning and we have a new outlook, Life is GOOD, so please cherish every day. Neither of us had any idea how bad he was ill, until Friday PM when the primary doctor did return to our room on orders of the Risk Management Lady in charge after she was called to come talk to me and I explained what all was happening with no communication. Well, that visit was when she told us, " She did not think he was going to make it through Wednesday night" and another nurse later also told us that very few people survive septic shock especially as bad as he was.

Well, he was walking and talking so I just had no knowledge that when admitted and sent to ICU that he was critical. Myself and my daughter had a RIGHT TO KNOW of his condition when I went home Wednesday night. Of course, I would have stayed there all night if I had to sleep on the floor(there was a crowded sofa in the family waiting room.My daughter would have come up to the hospital for sure. We live about an hour away.

So my next post will cover how I learned to wash for a sterile situation. I believe we all should know these easy steps just for a cold or flu in our own homes and how to prevent maybe getting where we were, of course he had had a recent back surgery August 20, 2009 for a second fusion. They have tested everywhere and the infectious disease Doctor is baffled at where it came in and how, but at least now we know what it is and how to treat it. It is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection and takes a very powerful antibiotic to treat. The wounds came up to tell us " Hey, you have infection to get treated" since he had been on antibiotics and running a fever for almost all of September 2009. We had been to two doctors, had blood tests and an MRI with nothing showing it. The MRI shows a whitish area which is normal after surgery for swelling so if infection there, it just blends in. That is why the sores appeared. At least we finally got answers after the weekend. We had 55 degree temps in the room over the weekend because the air needed maintenance and it was also scold outside so now I am also sick with no fever except a sore throat, cough and yucky feeling. I will get strong again as will my husband. We do cherish each other more if that could be more as we have been married 43 years and were high school sweethearts, we are habit. Life is Good! Lets make memories!
Smiles, Cyndi
~ Make Memories because no one can take them away ~


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

What a horror story! I am incensed at the treatment he received which seems very lackadaisical, dangerous and just uncaring, and the lack of communication! Is everything falling apart in the medical field unless you have money and clout??? I hope you and he both feel better soon and get stronger with each passing hour.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I think my blood pressure is up after reading this post! This is dreadful and I pray your husband improves and you both have the strength you need to get through this ordeal.

Dani said...

wow..after reading your post..that hospital gets the prize of being most uncaring and irresponsible..I thought ours was bad....we are getting a new one though, thank the Lord that has a better reputation....

Cinderella Moments said...

Hi Cyndi!
It's been a while since I checked in with you. I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. I'll pray for a quick and good recovery. I know all about those hospitals. My mom was a chef at one of those upscale ones. Let me tell you I heard some stories that would make the hair stand on the back of your neck! The least of which was nurses leaving patient files on lunch tables! I'm hoping for the best for the two of you.