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Zoethe

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Angry [Jan. 18th, 2013|07:18 am]
Zoethe
I'm sitting in the waiting room after getting a desperate 5am text from Ferrett. Nothing is working, and he was awake all night again. This was after Erin and I made an extra trip in here last night to check on him, because he had suffered a sleepless night the night before.

He wanted a Xanax because the anxiety is making it very hard to sleep. He has wearing the CPAP mask because the nurse told him it would help force air further into his lungs and speed his healing. His understanding was that his reward for sitting up with the CPAP was that he would get a Xanax after a couple hours of it. When I asked the nurse, he said in a patronizing but reassuring way that, yes, he would give Ferrett the Xanax as soon as he could.

All of which was a lie by omission. He has Xanax prescribed 3 times a day, which means every 8 hours. So "as soon as he could have it" turned out to be 5am. I went home thinking that he was going to get it by midnight or so. Instead he was up all night, frantic. The nurse was all, "well he just stayed on the phone all night" like Ferrett was intentionally avoiding sleep. Then he asked what he took at home to sleep--which is NOTHING.

But hey, my saying "please call if he's having problems" apparently just meant that I'm a dumb bitch who should be ignored.

I am exhausted, and I am angry about the whole process. I don't know who they think they are making feel better by telling them that three to five days is the normal hospital stay. We're on day 3 and he's still in ICU--and nurse friends are saying that this is good progress. I feel like we've been misled, and because of that none of us have paced ourselves for this. A more realistic assessment of the situation would have been helpful, because, hey, if he's beating the timeline, we feel better. As it is, we all just feel behind and frustrated and so very sick of the hospital without any realistic idea of how much longer this is going to be.

By tonight he will be in a room (dear god I hope), and at that point I figure I am just going to have to sleep here with him. Because this is terrible.
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[User Picture]From: horizonchaser
2013-01-18 02:51 pm (UTC)
Seriously, that nurse should be reported. Tra la la, the patient was on the phone, didn't want to disturb him? That is BS. The nurse isn't a maid, they've got a patient to help get well.

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[User Picture]From: merle_
2013-01-18 12:28 pm (UTC)
Just be sure to take care of you, too. Waking up to exhausted and drained friends increases worries and you want to look on top of things even when you are frantic. Take loads of snacks and a comfy blanket, and something to distract you. Maybe a book to read aloud to him too? Smothering the "wow this sucks for everyone" feeling is hard but a believable facade can help.
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[User Picture]From: brujah
2013-01-18 01:37 pm (UTC)
Go over the shift nurse's head. Talk, personally, to the surgeon or to someone in the administration staff.

He has a history of anxiety and I can't think of a damned thing on this planet scarier than having your fucking body rebuilt. Shame on the lot of them for being emotionless twats.

The pace in which he will heal will be his own, having his pace set by someone else will just put pressure on him (and you.)

You're both in my thoughts. Love.
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[User Picture]From: brujah
2013-01-18 01:39 pm (UTC)
Just for information's sake, my Dad was home within 8 days. Maybe that'll give you a more solid timeline from someone else's experience?
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[User Picture]From: ccr1138
2013-01-18 02:00 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain. Hospitals are not the place to get any rest. As a patient, I remember them coming into my room every hour to do something to me -- the worst was the blood draw out of the wrist for pulse-oxygen levels. They don't let you sleep. When Jeff was in for his various problems over the last few years, I camped out as much as possible, and yes, there were good nurses and bad. All I can offer you is, this, too, shall pass. In a few days, it will be a horrible memory. Definitely not uncommon, though.

Also, it might help if you change your thinking. It's not a competition, so beating the timeline of the normal recovery process has no real value. It takes as long as it takes, so setting artificial goals for when you get out of ICU or when you go home just makes you crazy. Go with the flow. But don't put up with incompetence; you can definitely make your complaints known. I think I would start with the nurse in question, pointing out that you don't want any more miscommunication. They need to understand that patients often stew in misery with the only glimmer of hope being that promised pill. When it doesn't materialize at the promised time, it's devastating.
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[User Picture]From: ccr1138
2013-01-18 02:05 pm (UTC)
One more thing I forgot to mention. Jeff's stay in cardiac ICU was extended three days because he had a fever that wouldn't go away, and the surgeon/infection doctors wouldn't sign off on moving him. Later, our insurance company tried to make us pay the difference for those three days because they weren't pre-approved. I hate to add to your burdens, but if they are keeping him longer than estimated, make sure to get your insurance ducks in a row now, rather than be blindsided. I protested and they eventually paid, but there was a scary number of dollars on that bill for a while.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2013-01-18 02:07 pm (UTC)
I know you don't want to hear this, but a hospital is a terrible place to be sick. (Those words from my hemophiliac brother, who spent LOTS of time in the hospital).

Still holding you in my best thoughts, and if you will accept my reassurances, this will get sorted out and he will be better.

It's great he has you to help advocate for him.
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[User Picture]From: stonehenge1121
2013-01-18 02:26 pm (UTC)
I'm an ICU nurse (trauma, not cardiac, so I have a smaller idea about timeline). I have been for a long time. Get the unit manager involved; this sounds like a nurse who really is a piece of shit. Even in a good unit, you get nurses who are pretty much a waste of space, and unfortunately it sounds like you ran into one. His manager needs to know, and I'd advise making it a formal complaint. Yes, talk to the surgeon too, but make sure that the manager has a talk with you. To treat a patient like that is pure BULLSHIT, and a disgrace to my profession.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2013-01-18 02:55 pm (UTC)
I had surgery last month. There was a whiteboard in my room (visible from the bed) where they wrote the time my next pain meds were due. And updated it every time I got more meds. My nurse's names were on the whiteboard, as was the head nurse's phone #. All my day's tests and activities were written up there too. Admittedly that wasn't ICU, but there's no reason why a conscious patient shouldn't have access to that information. Knowing what's going on goes a long way to relieve anxiety.

There's absolutely no reason why they couldn't have either told you or Ferrett when the next Xanax was due. Or if the dosage wasn't adequate, got a doctor to review it.

Talk to the unit manager or the patient services people. Make a formal complaint. Because that is not kosher.
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From: anonymousalex
2013-01-18 03:00 pm (UTC)
Not knowing how long things will be, or having your estimates turn out to be wrong, can be one of the most frustrating parts of the whole experience, I know, though sometimes that is unavoidable. But having a nurse like that just makes the problems exponentially worse.

Further to what others have said, some hospitals actually have an ombudsman or patient advocate whose job it is (amongst other things) to deal with patient-staff issues like this. Seek them out if there is one available.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2013-01-18 03:00 pm (UTC)
i'm in tears. but i agree - that nurse needs to be reported. ask to speak with a patient advocate; they have to provide one.

Edited at 2013-01-18 03:02 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: cindyg
2013-01-18 03:22 pm (UTC)
Oh gah, get that nurse up for disciplinary measures, stat! That is a terrible way to treat patients.
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[User Picture]From: sterling_raptor
2013-01-18 03:37 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how helpful this will be but, when AJ had his heart attack, he was in ICU for 7-10 days, and then in regular care for around another week. AJ did NOT have to have surgery beyond angiograms and stents, however, he did have to have CPR and was intubated for around 4 days. I had the luxury of never having to leave AJ so if he wasn't getting meds, I made the nurses' lives a living hell. And that is what it takes sometimes. We had one really great nurse, a slew of ok ones, and a hot mess of ones that we either never saw, never answered the call button, or didn't listen. I had a medication timetable in my head and if meds were more than 15 minutes late, I went to find out why. Watching AJ in pain tore me apart and I was so glad when we finally got the great nurse. I do recommend staying with Ferrett when the hospital lets you because he is just another patient to them, no matter what they say. If you need to talk feel free to drop me a line: 931 980 0446
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[User Picture]From: darthfox
2013-01-18 04:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, this. Even to the best nursing staff, one patient is one among many - these people are at work, after all, and they can't possibly be as invested in every patient as that patient's family or else they'd burn out. Not that this excuses the nurse you mention, mind. But one of the biggest things you can do is advocate. Some time I'll tell you the story in which I appear as The Daughter, clearly with exactly those capital letters. I should get a big D logo and a cape.
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[User Picture]From: mariness
2013-01-18 03:40 pm (UTC)
Echoing everyone else here: report the nurse.

I don't think it's particularly unusual or alarming to spend three days in the ICU after a major operation, but obviously that's easy for me to say.
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[User Picture]From: smldada9801
2013-01-18 04:03 pm (UTC)
Hugs. Just hugs. That is really frustrating.

Echoing everyone else, please report that nurse. That type of treatment is unacceptable. Perhaps beware that you may be assigned that nurse again on his next shift if you re still in that unit, so know that you can speak to the head nurse or floor supervisor and demand a different nurse be assigned to Ferrett.
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[User Picture]From: bart_calendar
2013-01-18 04:08 pm (UTC)
Why are they being shitty about giving him Xanax?

Hell, this morning I was out of Xanax, tried to see my doctor but he had taken the day off, so I just walked into my pharmacy and asked for some and they sold me a 30 pack.

Recovering from heart surgery would give anyone anxiety - and that's what xanax is for!
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