The first four days of my hospital stay were torturous as I lay paralyzed with very little help. My visit was like living in the movie Groundhog Day, as each day was the same, though the staff changed every twelve hours. Accomplishing tasks like bathing, brushing my teeth, and eating hot food while paralyzed was a rarity, to say the least. So let me tell you some of my specific situations that show why this was such an awful hospital experience to avoid in the future.
Although I always had a jovial disposition and sought laughter from everyone I interacted with, most nurse visits were brief and strictly medical. Nurse Jackie, who came in and talked for a few minutes, surprised me with what seemed like bragging that the Hospital had a two-star rating. It perplexed her why they did not have a better rating, as if there was nothing of inferior quality. This talk was the first lengthy conversation with a nurse I had in several days, and it was the beginning of her shift, so I said nothing to oppose her theory. However, I did not see the rainbows and butterflies she saw in this medical facility, as there was more wrong than right in this environment.
On the twelfth day of my fourteen-day stay, there was still no insinuation, inference, or even implication regarding my departure date. So when Dr. Benes, my doctor of twelve days, entered the room, I perked my ears to hear any of her words of wisdom. I listened intently to what she had to say, hoping to pick up a reason for my issues and when I could head home. However, after hearing her following words, I was speechless as her question was, “what brought you here to the hospital again?” I was stunned at the ignorance of such a query from my doctor that it put me in a quandary.
Day thirteen: My worst experience with a nurse at this medical facility was with Night shift nurse Nikki, who was only interested in being in command. Health aide Amanda, a fantastic person, helped me into the chair next to my bed in the morning to help avoid bedsores. After dinner, Amanda reminded me she would help get me back into bed before her shift ended, as no one else would help. When I told Nikki that Amanda said she would help me get back into bed before she left, Nikki quickly said that Amanda was gone for the day. Then I told Nurse Ratched, I mean nurse Nikki, that I could hear Amanda’s unmistakable voice. I was not trying to call her a liar, but maybe I should have because I did not think Amanda left, but Nikki fervently reiterated Amanda was gone. I lay uncomfortably in the chair and waited until 1 a.m. when the only person who could help me get back into bed did.
Later, nurse Nikki came to give me medication in an IV port when I told her the previous nurse shared that the port clogged. This statement let Nikki know she needed to insert a new IV somewhere else and remove the clogged one from my arm. Nikki replied that she would have absolutely no problem with the IV, as the other nurse obviously must have been new. Unfortunately, she had three failed attempts using the clogged port, but luckily did not blow my veins trying to prove she knew better than all others.
Every nurse and phlebotomist had told me my veins were perfect, yet night nurse Nikki would push my pain tolerance too far. I did not know how terrible things would go when Nikki tried to insert an IV and how badly it would hurt. Her first attempt was a vein on top of my left wrist, although apparently too complicated. She repeated four times in total that something did not go right and to let her try again. Blinded by the pain, it would have been nice to hear her say she was sorry because it felt like she was digging with both hands and a hacksaw. Empathy and kindness go a long way toward making the terrible treatment tolerable, but I received no apologetic words.
When the left wrist did not work, Nikki moved to the top of the right forearm and found a tiny vein to chisel into. I felt scared because the previous vein was more prominent, yet her attempt to use it was extraordinarily torturous and unsuccessful. Typically, when giving blood, I am told I will feel a slight pinch, yet I think Nikki used a jagged pipe. I am a Marine, so I have quite an extensive and colorful verbal dictionary that I rarely used trying to better myself. However, her excruciatingly painful skills brought out a venomous vocabulary that I did not direct at her, nor did I raise my voice, but they understood the sentiment.
So the question is, can I or should I avoid this two-star maniacal mayhem medical facility in the future? Although, to be fair, I have heard many horror stories about most of the emergency rooms and hospitals around town. The next bit of chaos in my life was that when I left the hospital, they sent me to a Rehabilitation Center and it was not pretty either.
Pain and strength are not mutually exclusive.