Tooth Saga—Day 4. Parole?

Sitting in the hospital room waiting with bated breath and fingers crossed for the warden (i.e., doctor) to do rounds and finally agree to break me out of here. Honestly, I’m getting out with or without his approval. Do you know how ridiculous it feels to be in an inpatient when you’re not really sick? And there are people all around me who are really, truly, seriously, sick? I mean their faces are the color of their sheets and they can’t go to the bathroom themselves and they need help eating. Here I am popping up and down, going for walks, teasing the nurses, and writing “going stir crazy” on my white board under the part that says “Patient is at High Risk For:”

I’m tired of being woken at 3 a.m., for another antibiotic or steroid infusion; tired of bad coffee; tired of fluorescent lights. And I think I’ve got Stockholm syndrome; for some reason, I keep finding myself back in bed like an invalid.

To be fair, the nurses and aides here are great. They truly are amazing and if I were really sick, I’d want to be here. My docs seem fine, although both are pretty flummoxed as to how I can have such an apparently severe infection with cellulitis and yet have no fever or elevated white count; and as to why the thing hasn’t completely cleared after 4 days of IV antibiotics.

I’m little flummoxed myself.

Since I’m a medical writer, one who writes ad nauseam about the shortcomings in our medical system, you know that I can’t resist giving my 2 cents about what I saw during this stay that, despite the excellent medical care, could use some tweaking. So here goes:

Sick people need rest. So why don’t you put a white board on the door that says “Do not disturb unless medically necessary.” That means do not knock and come in to take my food tray; do not knock and come in to change my trash, or deliver towels, or even take my vitals when it’s clear on my chart that my next meds are due in an hour and maybe that’s a good time to take vitals?

Provide better communication tools. Explain to me why in this day and age of wireless everything I am still tethered to a wired call button that I have to press, wait for someone to pick up, then tell that person what I need. Why don’t I have a little wireless “phone” I can use to text the appropriate person: the nurse if my IV is finished or is beeping or I need pain meds; the aide if I need water, or help getting up?

Along those same lines. . . why don’t I have direct access to my doctor in the same way? Give patients their doctor’s cell phone numbers so they don’t feel like they are constantly waiting. . .if it’s about patient-centered care, make it about patient-centered care.

My room is nice. . .Love the wood floors. But a little warmth in the form of a regular lamp would really be lovely. Thanks, though, for the window overlooking the air conditioning ducts.

Watch out for patient privacy. I know the HIPAA rules inside and out. But I also know some pretty intimate details right now about the patients on this floor just from leaving my door open. Just sayin.

Where’s my electronic medical record? My healthcare system puts all my outpatient information online for me to access; but there’s no record of me being in the hospital, let alone any of my information. I’d like to be able to track that in order to track the quality of my care. Why isn’t it updated?

Ok, that’s it for now. Still waiting for doctor. . . remember, I’m breaking out today with or without permission.

PS: After writing this blog this morning I was released and I am home. Puppy on my lap and happily ensconced back at my desk.

One Response to “Tooth Saga—Day 4. Parole?”

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