Monday, November 22, 2010

Excuse me, am I in Las Vegas?

Note: If you want to read these stories in sequence, start with
1. A funny thing happened after work Wednesday
2. Emergency Room Visit - "There's an 8-percent chance you will die."
3. Exuse me, am I in Las Vegas?

Exuse me, am I in Las Vegas?3:45 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 18
I decided not to write too much here about the transfer from the emergency room to my semi-private room in the cardiac/telemetry unit of the hospital. It was not pleasant -- nor were the next 16 hours that followed any better.

But I will say that you would have never guessed that I was in a hospital. Bright lights, loud noises, including a blaring television all night long, beepings from all directions, clanking, constant hitting of my bed, and freezing room!! And those were the more positive things I can say about the experience.

I'll leave it at that for now. Some things are just too horrible to mention -- and I experienced a couple of those not so nice things during those first few hours. (had to do with roommate care)

But I will share a couple of "funny" moments (if you can call it that) that happened during my stay. Not in any particular order.

Nurse walks in: "Would you like some reading material?"
Me: "Yes! Thank you." (I lOVE to read)
Nurse: hands me a booklet "After your stroke" and walks out.
What the ???? -- I mean, ok, but it just seemed weird.

My mirror on my bed table was broken.
me to nurse: "Oh no! My mirror is broken."
She looks at it, "It's not so bad."
(it was totally shattered in one section and had a huge crack all the way through it.)
me: "It doesn't seem very safe. This glass can get on the table and into my food. Can you please find me another bed table."
Nurse: "I don't think that's necessary. It's not like you need it."
WHAT the ??? -- come on now - just what every girl who just suffered through what I did, wants to hear.
Nurse: "I'll see if we have another table, otherwise I'll have to send someone from maintenance to pick it up."

Man walks in with clipboard and tells me his name, which I can't remember.
Man: "I need to look at your laptop."
(I honestly thought he was kidding.)
Me: "Are you from Maintenance?"
Man, looking annoyed: "Why do you say that?"
Me: "Are you here for my mirror? It's broken really bad. It's dangerous."
Man: "I'm here to look at your computer or you will have to put it away. It might be interfering with the equipment."
Me: "Oh, sorry. I thought you were kidding."
Man: "Why would I kid you?" (but he sounded so angry. Geesh.)
He then grabbed it off my lap and turned it around, put a blue sticker on it that said "Electrical Safety tested" and walked out. If it WAS interfering, he never checked it to know. He just slapped the sticker on. (of course, I had a new laptop)
Me: "What about my mirror?" (I thought he was rude but I wanted to joke)
Him: "I'll put an order in for it. It will take about 7 days to get it fixed."

Me: "Nurse, this IV is bleeding all over me" (as I wipe it up with a towellette.)
Nurse: "That's normal" (What the????)
Me: "Ok - if you want blood all over the place." (it was literally rolling down my arm!!)
Nurse: "Why didn't you tell me it was bleeding." (she tapes over it/pushes it in further.)
Me: "That's it? It's kind of messy. It's all over my gown and all over the sheets." (referring to blood)
Nurse: "We'll take care of it when we come freshen your bed and get you set up for a bath."

Well.....they never came. i spent the whole time in the hospital with a bloody gown in a bloody bed (literal) and no one ever changed it nor offered to give me a clean gown. I was really tempted to sign out AMA.

Lunch was late -- 1:30 p.m. (and since I never ate breakfast because the nurses decided to change the diaper of my roommate - who was a handicapped woman in diapers and the smell was absolutely horrific - I was starving.) Of course, when lunch arrived, the nurses came in and did their thing again -- diaper change -- (did they think I could not hear them - they were right next to me -- and they kept talking about how horrible the smell was, describing it too.) So, of course, I couldn't eat. Too disgusting.

When I went to get my MRI/MRA -- I was gone more than an hour -- we had to stop at the front desk to get disconnected from my wires. The nurse reached under my gown and then lifted my gown and in front of everyone "ripped" the stuff off me.

OK -- I was totally embarrassed!! There must have been at least eight people there -- all workers but some were male.

"STOP!" I yelled. "Can't we do this in the room?" (I really had no idea I was getting wheeled to the nurses' station to have that done to me.) The nurse mumbled an "all done." and they wheeled me away fast. I covered my face. I was so embarrassed and I cried silently all the way to the unit -- which was across a small plaza. Luckily the guy who picked me up gave me a sheet to cover up with and I literally draped it over my head. I didn't want anyone seeing me. We went down the elevator, through a lobby full of people, into the plaza, across a small street thing and into another building. It was probably one of the worst things to happen to me.

When I returned to my room -- my bed was still bloody. My lunch tray was still on the bedside table and the mirror was still broken. My gown was still bloody too. But by now, I didn't care. All I wanted to do was to get out of that hellish place they called a hospital.

When the physical therapist and his female assistant arrived -- which by the way, was the funnest part of the whole visit (and he made me laugh a lot and vice versa) -- I told him I was ready to go home. That I was signing out AMA.

Then neurologist came by with my results and said I did not have a stroke and I can be moved to another room. YAY!! I was so excited. I needed to get out of that room.

Nurse came in - hospital full. I would have to stay in the room through the night. I had not slept in more than 24 hours, I was in pain, exhausted and humiliated by then...... I couldn't stay. I said no. I wanted to go home.

My doctor came in on rounds, and said I could stay the night or go home if I preferred. I said I'd go home......

UPDATE: A month later, my bill for my one-day stay came in. That one night cost more than $44,000! And since I make less than $2k a month as a hometown news reporter, it would take me two years of work to pay it off! Thank God for health insurance - but still, after insurance - my part was $11,000 - and it still took me two years to pay it off. But I did. :)

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