For quite some time, I have been putting off cervical neck surgery. Unfortunately, disk degeneration goes on hiatus for no man. Finally, one is forced to accept the truth–it’s time to face the music and have surgery.
Too bad the surgery requires a stay in the hospital afterwards, because things ain’t like they were “in the old days.”
First off, if you don’t have nice, big, juicy veins…beware. Don’t go in the hospital expecting to find a crack-team of phlebotomists, those dearly loved persons who specialize in taking blood. I don’t think they exist anymore. Invariably, as a last resort, someone will have to insert the needle into a vein on your hand, because no one is adept at hitting a vein in your arm. Let me tell you, a needle stuck in the top of your hand is a whole lot more painful then one in your arm.
I’ll refrain from going into my entire bathroom fiasco. Suffice it to say that after the first horrendous trip, I suggested to the nursing assistant that it might be easier for all concerned if she supplied me with a commode next to my bed. Puzzled, she responded, “Oh, you want a commode?” The thought of a commode appeared to be a totally foreign idea to her. I can only assume she preferred yanking all my IV lines as she “helped” me back and forth from the bathroom.
24 hours later, and after at least two assistants heard and saw me cough up thick mucous, I asked one of them for a breathing machine. Again I was greeted with that surprised, kind of blank, look, “Oh, you want a spirometer?” After searching through the cabinet in my room, and finding none, she left, returned with one and handed it to me. It had no sterile wrapping, so I had no idea where it came from, or where it had been.
This is what should’ve happened long before it was necessary for me to ask for the contraption myself.
Your nurse will explain the deep breathing and coughing exercises you will need to do after surgery. These are done to improve lung expansion. This helps prevent infection and other lung complications. You will be shown how to use the incentive spirometer. This is a tool to help you breathe deeply. Coughing is needed when you have secretions in your lungs.
That is the procedure that is recommended at Incentive Spirometry, and has actually happened to me on previous visits I’ve made to a hospital.
About Medications–Prior to entering the hospital, I was told that the hospital would provide all medications that I normally take on a daily basis. The first night, I was offered the wrong blood pressure pill. Believe me when I tell you this, and I can’t stress it enough. Don’t accept any medication until you ask and understand what you are taking. This is by no means an isolated incident. See a post put up by Solid Geekery, a blog written by a group of people who are studying, working in, or are just plain interested in the shoddy treatment being dispensed by hospitals today. This particular post was written by Miranda, who is in her third year of graduate school, pursuing a Ph.D in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis.
Getting back to my particular nightmare, the second night, after having my blood pressure checked, a nurse came in and said, “Your blood pressure is normal. Would you like to skip your blood pressure pill tonight?” I was actually struck speechless for a few seconds before I could answer, “My blood pressure is normal because I take my prescribed medicine.”
During my second day in the hospital, I asked the nursing assistant to write her name and the name of my nurse on the board supplied for that purpose at the foot of my bed. She couldn’t. Want to know why? Because someone had used permanent marker on the board, therefore it couldn’t be erased. Think about that for a minute, because it is really scary. Someone, who dispenses medicines and supplies hospital care to patients, used permanent marker on an erasable board.
I’m not one to rant. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I ever have on this blog…ever. However, just for the record, I could write another four or five paragraphs about the oversights and lack of knowledgeable help I received. But I won’t.