Managing Your Own Care…

I had previously written about my mother being diagnosed with cancer.  Well, we just had the surgery for the tumor removal.  Surgery went well.  Recovery was a different story.   

Let me start by saying the team of doctors is, has been and continue to be wonderful.  I truly have only praise for them regarding the success of the surgery and the way they were able to manage the post-surgery complications and avoid having to undergo another operation. 

That being said…  I am truly shocked by the care my mom received from the nursing staff during recovery.  We were at a very prestigious, high-ranking, world-renowned (blah, blah, blah) hospital…  one of the “you need to go HERE” kind of hospitals.  I had high expectations that my mom would be receiving the “best of the best” in care.  Let me just give you a run-down of what the “best of the best” entailed: 

1.  A faulty catheter.  Can you imagine that for the first three days of the recovery, my mom had to ask a nurse to come in almost every time she had to pee?  And that after three days, we had to get pretty vocal to get the catheter changed out so my mom could lay on her back, immobile, in peace without having to feel like her bladder was going to explode. And have to wait 20 minutes for a nurse to respond to the “call” button.  Seriously?  No one could figure out it wasn’t working? 

2.  She had a lumbar drain in.  They were draining 30 cc’s every four hours.  Pretty important to monitor that, right?  My dad had to call the nurse back in after he/she had left and FORGOTTEN THEY WERE DRAINING HER.  Wow. 

3.  Nurse walks in with eyedrops.  My mother (in her semi-conscious, medicated state) acts confused…  we’d been there four days and she hadn’t been given eyedrops before.  So (now that I’ve witnessed the competency level of the staff and no longer assume they know what they are doing) ask the nurse to double check and let me know why we need eye drops. 

Oops!  They aren’t eye drops!  They’re antibiotics for the nose. The nurse was actually going to put nose drop antibiotics in my mom’s eyes.  AWESOME. 

4.  And the winner is… I don’t even know how to say this.  Since my mom has to be flat on her back, immobile, for five days…  the initial bowel movement had to be in a bed pan.  Nurse comes in to remove the bed pan, takes a towel to clean my mom up, and LEAVES THE TOWEL ON THE SINK.  For lack of a better word…  a POOPY towel.  On the sink.  In our room.  Now I know why infections run rampant in hospitals.  At this point I was thinking the safest thing we could do for my mom was to get her OUT of the hospital. 

I could keep going, but I’ll spare the rest of the gory details.  I’ve learned a valuable lesson and would like to pass it along…   

Manage your own care.  Listen to the doctors, ask questions, stay informed.  Take care of yourself, or your family member.  No one else cares the way you do. 

And just a side note:  This is not meant to bash nurses.  I had two c-sections and my nurses were PHENOMENAL.  Loved every single one of them.  In my mom’s case it was the nursing staff that dropped the ball (repetitively) but it could just as easily be the doctors.  My husband’s grandfather died as a result of being prescribed Amiodarone for too long and it ultimately did too much damage to his lungs.  So I’ll say it again…  stay informed and manage your own care!!

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