05 August 2016
Eleven Lessons Learned From Hospital Life
1) Nurses are the back bone of the hospital.
Holy shit, you guys. Look, all I know about hospitals I pretty much learned from Grey's Anatomy and, lemme tell ya, nurses do everything. It killed me that my ability to get discharged resided with the attending who saw me for maybe a grand total of 15 minutes the entire six days I was there and not the men and women who took amazing care of me on a daily basis. Especially the ones up in the ICU who bathed me, handled my catheter, bed pan, and all that really gross basic human living stuff we take for granted. (I mean, I get it: he has the advanced degree and education and sees the big picture of it all, but still.)
2) Surgery is a birthday suit situation.
During my pre-op, the nurse was going through the checklist of things not allowed, like anything with metal which meant my bra. Because I was hooked up to the IV and my bra wasn't the kind where you can unhook straps, they had to actually cut it off of me. (Most of this was stuff that should have been taken care of by the ER but everything happened so fast I think there were some ships passing in the night situations.) But it also turns out contacts aren't allowed either. They didn't have contact containers ('cause, hi, why would they) so my contacts spent the week hanging out in ... wait for it .... urine sample cups.
3) I lost all modesty.
When you have a complete stranger giving you a sponge bath, modesty is for the birds. When they took me in for surgery the second day to check their progress, the surgical nurse was trying to delicately cover up my vajayjay area and I told her to not worry about it. Like, at all. Pretty sure the entire surgical staff saw my bush but whatever.
4) My high tolerance for pain may be my undoing.
I know I mentioned this a bit in my last post, but seriously, yo. My leg had very little circulation, to the point that it was blue and purple, and my description of it was "uncomfortable." When you think about it, this is not really a good thing. Pain is there for a reason. Pain lets you know that something is wrong. It seemed like this came on really sudden, but for all I know there had been some level of pain going on in the immediate return from FitBloggin but because of my high tolerance I didn't notice it. So this is something I'm going to have to keep a careful eye on.
5) At this point I'm sure I can sleep through anything.
I was in ICU from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon. During that time I was hooked up to several machines, including a blood pressure monitor which took my bp automatically every hour on the hour. I was also getting blood drawn every 4 hours or so, including in the middle of the night. Slept through many of those late night / early morning arm squeezes and by Monday and Tuesday, when the blood draws became less frequent but still just as early, I was pretty much sleeping through those, too.
6) Needles schmeedles.
I used to be one of those weirdos who was all "I have tattoos but I hate needles." Bitch, please. After all this and especially now that I'm self-injecting syringes into my belly, needles are so whatever.
7) I have never said my name and birth date so often.
Every time a nurse or phlebotomy technician or doctor or anyone came in to do anything, they'd ask me my full name and birth date. Hell, even the food service workers when they brought my meals. Speaking of ...
8) I didn't overthink my food choices the whole time I was there.
I come from a long, long history of way overthinking food. It's why I decided to ditch dieting a month ago. While in the hospital I didn't overthink my food choices at all. I ordered what I wanted when I wanted, including dessert. That said, depression and hospitals don't mix well: By the time I was allowed to eat (due to surgery schedule) I had gone 40 hours without food but even when they gave me the go ahead I didn't have an appetite. Like, at all. My parents visited almost every day and one one of those days she said "Make sure you eat dinner." When she called the next day and asked if I ate the night before I said "Um, I had one of those granola bars you brought me."
9) Hospital food doesn't have to suck
Maybe I just got lucky being at the Cleveland Clinic (recently named #2 in the nation!) but the food was not too bad. They have it set up like room service with a menu you can order from and -- best part -- ALL DAY BREAKFAST. The pancakes were top notch.
10) Snoopy is still a girl's best friend
After I was admitted to the ER, my bestest most awesomest boyfriend ever BC got off work early and stopped at home to pick up some things I requested. One of those was my childhood stuffed animal, Snoopy.
My original Snoopy was given to me at birth but he was lost at Disney World when I was, like, 8. My grandparents bought me this one as a replacement (8 year old Jill was a little miffed at the idea that Snoopy was replaceable but she adapted). He's been to college, my first apartment, and now sleeps on the guest bed in my office here at the house. This dog never left my side in the hospital and I had several of the nurses and doctor's comment on him, saying they would have requested the same thing. He has some battle scars -- mostly small patches of dried blood from when my main IV got loose and, hi, blood thinners so that was fun -- but it's good to know that 25+ years later that stuffed animal from childhood can still get the job done.
11) There's no place like home
I will happily give myself twice daily shots in my belly if it means I get to sleep in my own bed every night and get woken up by the cats instead of the lab.
Love from the ashes,