Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saturday: Venita Goes Postal!

I wrote this early Sunday morning, but it got lost in cyberspace. Steve was kind enough to find it.

Saturday started out really good. I called the ICU nurse and she said Jim was especially alert. I did the happy dance, and went about my morning. The nurse called back around 10 and said Jim was refusing to eat his breakfast until I was there. I ran through the shower and got there about 15 minutes earlier than I would have.

Jim was indeed very alert, but still having some episodes of confusion. He wanted to talk to me in private, so I closed the door, and he explained (with tears in his eyes) that he wanted the peripheral IV removed from his hand. I said sure; it had been put in 4 days before, the hospital's policy is no peripheral IV more than 3 days, so why not. I asked the nurse to remove it; she said removal wasn't really needed but if Jim wanted it out, she would take care of that. Jim said he wanted it out. Unfortunately, the morning nurse did not take it out, and it became an issue in the afternoon session; an example of how the staff is not responsive to requests.

Jim and I sat and had his breakfast. Jim had watched game 5 of the World Series the night before and he read the sports pages from all 3 papers I brought (first time in more than a week). He watched the Penn State Purdue game while I read. A pleasant, happy morning. As Deb says, when Jim is good, I am good.

I returned at 5. A nurse I never met before stopped me on my way in and told me Jim was being transferred down to the regular floor. I asked why. She said because the DR ordered it. I asked why the DR ordered it. She said because he did.

Well those kinds of sophomoric answers drive me through the roof.

Me: We want to see a DR before Jim goes anywhere.
Her: It is the weekend and there are no DRs on the floor.
Me: I'm sorry, this is ICU; I don't care what day or time of day it is, I want to see a DR.
Her: We can set it up for you to talk to a DR by phone.
Me: I want to SEE a DR.

The egotistical bastards. The DR involved is the internist. Dr. Kahn, a member of that group, told me just Friday that he was ready to send Jim to hospice, and now Dr. Egotistical Invisible Cozamanis decides Jim is not "critical" enough to keep in ICU even though as far as I know his platelets have only risen from 4 to 10 (140 is low normal). So he's no longer critical, but he's terminal. Please someone with the very important MD initials behind their name, explain to me, to my face, exactly what your action plan is, because I am having a difficult time figuring it out. I'm just a lowly accountant.

After more than an hour, they got the DR on the phone. My biggest issue, and the reason why security was called (I'll get to that) was that I had pulled the electrical power on Jim's IV. Notice, I did not pull the admin line from his central line, I did not cut the admin line. I simply unplugged the metering machine. I thought carefully about it and did it in the manner that caused the least harm.

Why did I do that (of course with Jim's concurrence)? Jim is the Michelin Man. The edema in his arms and legs is so severe that his ankles are "weeping" fluid. His belly ascites is so pronounced that he is having trouble breathing. Why are we still putting fluids into him? If it is for the purpose of administering multi and B vitamins (which this bag was doing), Jim can now swallow a pill! The DR said the vitamins could be by mouth, but started into some medical mumbo jumbo about keeping his fluid levels up to keep his blood pressure up, and every 3rd sentence or so kept saying "Do you finally understand." No I didn't, because he kept talking doctoreze, and I almost hung up on him but the nursing supervisor took the phone and finished the conversation with the DR.

While I was on the phone with the DR, the nurse and the nursing supervisor were in Jim's room whispering who knows what to him. Two security officers (faux cops, you know how they are) were less than 5 feet from me, glaring me down in case I were to do some major harm to the telephone.

After I left the phone, I went back to Jim and the nurse wanted to stay in the room with me. I asked for privacy with my husband. She stepped out and I closed the glass door. She said I should not close the curtain. She and the nursing supervisor told me their purpose was to protect Jim from me. I told them it was my purpose to protect Jim from them.

I could go into a lot more of the details, but suffice it to say that all involved were upset, except the two faux cops who live for the chance to cuff and drag out a feisty 5'4" 130 lb cancer patient.

This was about 6:30 pm. They said I could stay for Jim's transfer, which was imminent. I left at 8--too tired and upset. Jim got transferred at 10:30. Bastards. I don't think I ever want to deal with this hospital again.

So that's the postal story. I actually held my wrists out to the youngish too-pudgy-to-ever-have-gotten-a-real-cop-job faux cop with the rocking pelvis look, and I swear he really wanted to slap the cuffs on, but he didn't have any!!

Jim was a real gem through this. He kept trying to comfort me for how upset I was. And he didn't get his dinner. The oh-so-chipper dietary aide brought the tray in right in the middle of the cuffing scene.

So, Jim's now back down on the medical floor. I plan to continue my crusade to get a DR to talk face to face with me. I talked yesterday with Jim about getting to the Select Care Rehab unit over at St. Francis. Jim is all for it. We need to figure out what kind of medical (GI) support he could get over there because his GI guy does not practice there and Jim will need a paracentisis. We also have the issue with the clots in his legs.

The biggest ray of sunshine yesterday (besides Jim's smiles for me) is that Betty is coming up from FL to help me. I've talked about Betty before. She'll be here Monday night. My brother and sister in law, Les and Donna, also are standing by ready to come. Thank you thank you for helping. I can do this alone physically, but I can't do this alone emotionally, and these people understand where I am in needing Jim. They know that Jim is my love and my life.

That's all for now. Thanks to the time change, I have a little more time for myself today. Because of the move out of ICU, visiting hours on the main floor start an hour earlier, so it all washed out.

1 comment:

Alice said...

So glad Betty is coming to give you support. She is a blessing. Sending you lots of love and hugs.