Monday, February 01, 2010

The One About Hospitals and Help

After less than a month away from the great Southwest, I'm back here again. After a phone call involving the words Flipper, hospital, and complete renal failure, I hopped a plane the same evening and, by midnight I was back in the desert. No one faces anything alone. It's how Momma did it, it's how I do it, it's how it's done.

I am a fierce advocate. I expect nothing less than full cooperation, I demand nothing less than the facts. It took me less than fifteen minutes to scare the crap out of an unsuspecting urologist. (he has since recovered and become a valuable team member) I am not a medical professional (though I'm asked if I am continually) but I am fluent in the language, I have a better than average knowledge of the human body and its workings and I am blessed to have friends that are medical professionals who are tops in their field. My challenge, at this point, is that my resources are 1800 miles away. I'm making evaluations of people, at least, without the personal recommendations of those that I trust. I haven't second guessed myself yet, but I fear that it's coming soon.

Back in the windy city, we deal with nothing but university hospitals. Here in the great southwest, our only choice right now is a community hospital. Although highly rated, my opinion of community hospitals is not rising. I am the advocate that will seek out cooperative staff, but I'm finding that the kind of quality I'm used to seeing in the big city requires a heck of a lot more seeking down here. And the mechanics of the hospital itself? Not so much. In 36 hours, I've endured lost or incomplete medical records (I literally fixed that in less than 5 minutes), staff that has no idea where anything is located (to the weekend ICU staff that I asked for help? Endoscopy is ONE HALL up from the ICU door) to areas that where not staffed AT ALL. As an aside, many thanks go out to Ronald the security guard, who not only found me, but found Flipper and the doctor. He spoke directly to the doc, let him know where I was and that I would like to speak to him after the procedure. And then gave me his extension number if I needed more help. Ronald my dear, you ROCK. I'm sending a letter to the House Manager, I hope it helps you out, it's the least I can do.

Speaking of folks who are awesome, I'm a little bit in love with the nurse on Flippers floor. A Russian immigrant and transplant from NYC, she is everything that nurses should be. We see her often, she never administers anything without telling us what it is, why you need it, and what it's supposed to do, and I've seen her run down doctors to help patients out. On top of that, she actually brings me test results so that I can know what's going on. Awesomeness! As always, nurses are under-rated, many folks forget that they are the ones on the front-line. Someone once told me, if you want to know whats going on, ask your nurse, skip the doc. It's totally true.

For the rest of the "family that isn't family" down here? You all are superb and I can't thank you enough. I will ask you to stop being so damn nice to me, it makes me cry. I can't do the crying now, I have business to attend to. Years ago, when Momma died, I learned all about "family". The conclusion? Family has nothing to do with the people who are actually related to you, it has to do with the people who "show-up". Each and every one of you has "showed up" and offered me more than I could ever wish for. I will be forever grateful.

This last part is about something that I rarely talk about, but I really should. And that is the man I married. I am grateful. Though whatever trials and tribulations have been thrown our way, he continues to work with me as one half of our "team". There is no obstacle that is too large, he accepts the "crazy" without question, and supports whatever adjustments have to be made. No one could ask for a better partner. Once again I will be forever grateful that this person has chosen to be with me. Of course, none of that will keep me from bitching about the little things....

1 comment:

Startup Wife said...

Oh my goodness, hugs to you. Navigating a hospital and treatment, especially in a sudden situation, is so tough. All the best to you and your family.