I tried to write up the saga of my husband’s kidney stone woes, but it began to resemble an epic poem, without the meter. Here are my key take-aways, as we say in the business world.
Hospitals have changed a LOT since I last had to be in one. I noticed that the plant (building, furnishings, etc) looked great – very modern, everything digital. My husband’s room (once he finally got one) looked more like a hotel room. I asked his nurse about that and she explained the reason for all the ‘luxuries’. (Aside – I’m so old that I remember when you had to pay extra for a TV, for a phone, the majority of the rooms were multi-occupancy, food came on its schedule, not yours and there was no comfortable area for visitors.) Apparently the state funds the hospitals based on reviews from patients/visitors. The higher your score, the more $$ the state will give you. Hence the need to make things LOOK good. I like that, but I sure hope that some of those $$ are going to the staff as well. Each time I went back to the hospital to visit my husband, I brought more “stuff”: clothes because it’s freezing cold there, pillow for trying to sleep on the chairs in the emergency room, food, water, and then on the day he was scheduled to be ‘fitted in’ for the procedure, all of my work computers. That last stay was amazingly comfortable – like hanging out in a hotel room but with better lighting. 🙂 In the picture below, those are my husband’s legs/feet as he rested in the reclining chair. It was a single occupancy room.
Emergency rooms are not a great place to hang out. We were lucky enough both times I brought him in to get seen quickly and get a bed in a room in the ER (once at midnight, once at 6:30 am). When I poked my head out the next morning it was wall-to-wall patients – literally. The stretchers and wheelchairs lined the hallway. I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were patients sitting on the nursing station. Even so – everyone but one we encountered in the ER was upbeat, patient and helpful. Even the one was not rude or aggressive, merely cold and aloof. And he used the wrong words to describe my husband’s condition which led to misunderstandings and stress. But that was resolved to our satisfaction and preferences, so aside from an hour of unnecessary fear and stress, it wasn’t an issue. One out of all the many is not a bad ratio. I will say that this hospital was NOT very good at communications – to us, among themselves. That’s an area that would benefit from oversight and clarity. I saw someone on FB slamming this hospital’s ER room and service saying they never go there – they go to the OTHER big hospital down the street. Honestly, I hope I never have to go back to EITHER ER, but this was okay. Yes, it could be better. But they are already expanding it for the 4th time in a matter of a few years. The more they expand, the more patients get sent to it from all over. You don’t want to be in an ER if you don’t have to go, that’s the bottom line.
There are actually some very funny stories from that time in the ER, if I can convince my sister to write them. As it happens, while I was there with my husband, she needed to bring in her mother-in-law. They were part of the wall-to-wall stretchers with no chairs and no room. As I pointed out to my sister, timing is everything in these matters and you need to check-in EARLY if you want the BEST seating. *grin*
Kidney stones appear to be one of the most excruciating ailments you can have. I have never seen my husband writhing and moaning in pain as he did with this kidney stone. A few years ago he fell 20 feet from a ladder onto a concrete floor and I don’t think he was in such pain. When the pain medicine took effect, he was asleep. If he was between doses, he was in agony. I hope this is as close as I ever get to a kidney stone. The stones are so weird. You can have one, and you don’t know it (yet) and there’s no pain because it’s not sticking you anywhere or blocking anything. You go merrily along your way. Then it MOVES. You drop to the ground thinking someone has skewered you with a flaming iron rod. You drink lots and lots of fluids. If you are lucky, the stone goes out with the fluids. If you are only a little lucky, it moves to where it is not hurting you. If you are not lucky, it doesn’t leave, it sticks you or blocks you and you need a procedure. My husband got a little lucky, and came home for approximately 12 hours. Then the stone moved again so we went back to the ER. He went in for a procedure to remove it and it had moved yet again. It couldn’t escape, however. They plucked it out, made sure it hadn’t left any little friends, and they were done in under 90 seconds. 90 seconds, not a typo. My husband then spent approximately 36 hours recuperating from the anesthesia.
Anyway, the good news is that the kidney stone is gone. We are resuming normal daily routines. I don’t know what YOU would do while you waited in the ER, but I wrote a cheer to encourage the kidney stone to get out of town.
Move it, Move it, Kidney Stone,
Ride that water, GO GO GO!!!!