Saturday, February 18, 2006


A tip for those who plan to spend a significant amount of time in the hospital, any hospital:

No matter how long you plan to stay, or how important you think you are, please do not bring your own furniture. And try to keep the amount of stuff in your room to a minimum. Three potted plants and a couple of tchochkes, fine. Twelve, not so good.

Because after I'm done hauling your console table bedside table potted plants various knickknacks bedside table chest of drawers ottoman clothing books magazines two bags full of makeup up three floors and installing them in another room, I will have a serious talk with you and your wife.

And your wife will cry. Not because I'm being mean, hard as it is to believe, but because she wanted to make your room "homey" and "comfortable" and I'm telling her that that's a no-go. Because, see, when the room is full of stuff of varying sizes, purposes, and fragilities, it's very difficult to see how I'll get a code cart into your room if, Frog forbid, I should ever need to.

And, you know, no matter how long you're staying here, please remember that it's a hospital, not a studio apartment. When three-quarters of the stuff I've humped on the elevator is your wife's, there's a problem.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, needs to be keeping a three-quarter length fur coat with fox trim in the closet in their hospital room. Really.

Aside from that forty-five minute period when I was wondering what, exactly, the facility was paying me for as I moved furniture, this was a good week. A busy week, true, with every floor full to the gills and overflow all over the post-anesthesia care unit, but a good week. Nobody coded, the person who *did* seize on me lo those many months ago went home mostly intact, and I only had to pull out the Mean Nurse Jo persona once, on a guy younger and stronger than me with an inch-long incision in his back.

All the faceless people have gone home to heal. One of them will be coming back next week for further plastics work, but that won't be the same caliber of treatment he's undergone thus far, so he ought to bounce back pretty quickly.

The two difficult folks I had this week, one with status epilepticus and one with status migraine, both seemed to respond to the massive doses of drugs we kept throwing at them and have left. Migraine Man went home with a drug that might destroy his kidneys but will keep him pain-free, while Epilepticus Woman went over to the monitoring unit to make sure that she's not having subclinical craziness in her head even on drugs.

The very nice man who came back completely unresponsive died easily and quickly, saving his family the hell of having to wait a week or even two while his breathing slowed down and he got more agonal. That's an odd thing to be thankful for, I guess, but I'll be thankful nonetheless. Occasionally a massive heart attack or pulmonary embolus or re-bleed can be a merciful thing, and not just for the patient.

Drama-filled weeks at the hospital make for great blogging but hellish working conditions. As does hauling furniture.


PaedsRN said...

See, I come from a part of the world where humping means... you know, the other thing. Which makes sentences like "When three-quarters of the stuff I've humped on the elevator is your wife's, there's a problem" difficult to parse without a certain amount of hilarity... :)

Devorah said...

Having recently spent a week haunting a local ICU I feel that you are absolutely correct -- a quick death is easier on all involved. Fortunately for all of us, mom was cared for by the most wonderful medical staff any of us have ever encountered. You sound like one of them.