I’m having my gastric sleeve done at a hospital in Dallas. It’s a good 50+ miles from where I live, but my youngest daughter, a nurse there, insisted that next time I willingly put myself in the hospital (i.e. an ambulance is not bringing me there because it was closest), I was not allowed to have anything done at our local hospital.
I can’t blame her; if my surgeon for the procedure (in 2003) had not been on staff there, I wouldn’t have gone back after another procedure I had done (also by him, in 2013).
A decade prior, just prior to going back to the O.R., a nurse quizzed me about my laundry list of allergies to nearly every antibiotic. She said she was supposed to give me one before the surgery: Rocephin.
I told her, “I’m allergic to anything ending in -‘in’–as in, PencillIN, ArythromycIN, etc.”
She said, “Well, let’s just try it and see what happens.”
I’ll note here that I was not the person I am now; the person I am now would say, “Fuck no, you’re not giving me that. I could die.”
She shot it into my I.V., and I began breaking out in hives, then my throat began to itch and feel funny, as in, getting tight and threatening to cut off my airway.
My husband buzzed the nurse. I showed her my hives. Told her my throat was itchy and tight.
She looked genuinely shocked and said, in a deep East Texas twang, “Oh, ah guess yew really are allergic to that drug!”
She gave me a steroid to stop the reaction, then left. I turned to my husband: “Don’t leave me alone with these people. They are going to kill me.”
In 2013, my daughter was ever-present for me, and, my God, she was a saint.
I’d wake in the middle of the night and groggily ask her to hand me the bed control/remote. We still joke about this:
[Whispers:] “Hey. . . Kristen . . .are you awake?”
[Startles awake on the excruciatingly uncomfortable God-knows-what chair/cot combo]: “Huh? Yeah.”
“Can you hand me the remote? I can’t reach it.”
[Works the control through the bed rails]. “Here.” [Reclines once more on the hybrid bed-chair.]
[Moments later, I whisper:] “. . .What do you want to watch?”
[Exasperated yet sleepy at the same time:] “I DON’T CARE.”
What can I say. . . I’m a considerate pain in the ass?
I had some complications and was in the hospital longer than I thought I would be, and I think she was afraid if I was left alone for long, I’d not be cared for adequately, seeing as how when she left to take a shower one day, I buzzed the nurse for help getting up to go to the bathroom. I was assisted in sitting up on the edge of the bed, then left alone to make my way, catheter bag & I.V. stand accompanying me, to the bathroom. I was still heavily medicated and a “fall risk”, and I should not have been left alone to attempt this. At the time, I did not realize I was a fall risk, but I’m also a pretty non-demanding person (unless I’m waking my daughter in the middle of the night to hand me the remote then asking what she wants to watch, ha ha ha)–and–had I been told I was a fall risk, I probably would have told myself, “I’m not going to be a baby about this. Surely I can go to the bathroom like a grown person …”
I didn’t fall, but when I moved the tray table out of the way, I ran over my catheter tube and leaked pee all over the place–and I honestly don’t remember if I was aware of it since I was on drugs. When Kristen returned, freshly bathed and ready for another day of binge-watching “Intervention” and “Snapped” with me, she discovered the mess.
Sidenote: I credit my youngest child with introducing me to any and all trash TV that I watch.
(Have I mentioned she is a saint?)
Kristen cleaned up the puddle of pee, bitching the entire time about the staff at the hospital, muttering that she ought to open up the entire bag; that is, my angelic daughter considered aloud dumping the whole damned thing on the floor seeing as how I’d been left alone to go to the bathroom. (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…is all I’ll say…) Alas, she did not do it.
I’m so glad she was with me. When I was told I’d have to have a blood transfusion, I cried and told her, “Don’t let me die.” I was dehydrated and my head hurt SO BADLY. I’ll chalk up my hyperbolic reaction to that. (Actually I was seriously scared. Especially when the only vein they could find was in my neck.)
Aside from learning that accidentally running over a catheter tube with a tray table is a bigger deal than one would think it would be (you’d think those things could take a lot of punishment, you know?), I learned that I am NEVER NEVER NEVER allowed to ever again tell medical staff that Kristen is a nurse, because if they know, they won’t “do their damned jobs.”
For my upcoming stay, I hereby vow to maintain, to the highest degree of integrity, my catheter bag and tube, should I have one. Kristen is a nurse in a different department, and of course if she stops by in her scrubs, my caregivers will know she’s a nurse on staff there, but I have faith that this will be a much better experience. I’ll do my best to be a model patient. And I’m always nice. Really, really nice. I say “Thank you.” A lot.
Besides, having a kid who’s a nurse and having heard horror stories of badly behaved patients, my goal is to avoid being the subject of conversation at some later date.