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Being Hospitalized …… the 5 percent

09 Feb

I have been hospitalized since the 21st of January.  The 1st week was a complete glaze over.  Meals came, hair grew, television on, doctors slip in and out of the room, they all talked at me, and I don’t hear crap, but heard a lot, but didn’t understand much, and the hours and days just slipped by.

I am forever surprised when the doctor asks me how I am doing, because of all the people here I would hope he or she knows how I am doing, they see the x-rays, they see the test results, they order new tests and medicines based on their years of education and knowledge.  Yet they look at you and ask that key question, “How are you feeling today,” yes it’s a validation of expertise if you say fine, they really smile when you say you feel great, and they grimace when you say not better or marginally better.   I don’t mind validating their thoughts I just wish it wasn’t so difficult to get them to commit to their thoughts.   So going full circle I tell the doctor how I feel.  And with each trip to the hospital I find I am more and more and even more honest to that simple question.  But I will also say that after my long response, I look the doctor dead in the eyes and ask what to the tests and x-rays and your observations tell you about my condition. Now that I am somewhat alert there has been much more information shared during these conversations between Patient and Doctor.

So I have gotten that out-of-the-way, I want to speak of the 5 percent.   At this point I have been in the hospital for 18 days, I am told that I will be released most likely Monday the 11th of February.  If that is so, that will be 22 consecutive days in the same 10 by 12 room with no bathroom, no shower, and no clock.  Yes it has a TV but it’s not like my 42 inch HD at home, and yes there is access to the internet (thank GOD), and last by not least, the AC works like a champ.  So all things considered the accommodations have been okay, not enough to bitch about, all things considered.

I decided to write about the 5 percent. But to write to the 5 percent I must 1st say something about the folks making up the 95 percent that have been tending to my hourly and daily needs, helping me wash, ensuring the urinal is empty, shaving me, making the bed, taking the food tray out, just stepping into the room to chat for a minute, doing their best to ensure I can rest in peace, helping keep the room tidy, and on and on these folks have been super beyond words. The smiles, the encouragement, the realization that I am sick, these 95 percent have been wonderful, and I have thanked each and every one of them.

I feel I am becoming an expert (being here and somewhat alert) for part of the 18 days makes me a semi-expert.  I have been under the care of every nurse in the intensive care isolation ward for 18 days.  I have met each CNA, I have encountered every person from housekeeping, I have breathing treatments from all the various respiratory technicians, and each of the vampires has made a serious effort to draw blood.  Then there are the technicians that need to take your vitals every 3 or so hours depending.  I have had x-ray at the bed side, and I have been delivered to the x-ray area for picture time.  I have received every possible treatment or service a respiratory patient could require in the process of becoming better.  And thru it all the 95 percent have been wonderful.  They realize that the patient isn’t there because they want to be, they realize that the patient for the most part doesn’t understand what is happening to them, they act like the patient is the most important thing in the world to them, and they do it with a smile on their face, cheerful words, a bit of teasing, and hand holding with warmth and caring.

The 5 percent is made up of a bunch of shitbird assholes.  These folks really don’t care about the patient’s needs.  They have a form to fill out, a defined task to complete, a specific agenda that needs to be addressed, that requires them to interact with the patient, at specific intervals, if it is convenient to them.  They could care less if the patient is sleeping or eating or taking a dump, or chatting with family, they will interrupt in a heartbeat and give you attitude if you question them.  If you have the nerve to turn them away they don’t come back for hours, and are very quick in wanting to leave you hanging again, to teach the patient a lesson.  For the most part (Thank God) they have very very little impact in the patient’s actual recovery.  They are the ugly part of being in the hospital that every patient remembers.  Family members remember encounters with these shitbirds, and that’s what they talk about over drinks later, or in a gathering of friends, it’s these 5 percent that give a hospital a bad name.  Rarely is the reputation truly earned but the 5 percent make sure the institution is thought of in unkind terms.

It is because of these 5 percent that when I am home chatting with folks about this extended hospital stay I will only talk about the 95 percent, I will only speak to the care and kindness I got, I will only speak to the level of professionalism that I saw and given to me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and if you choose to offer comments, I will as always appreciate them greatly.  Please take care and have a great day.

 
18 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2013 in Humor, Observations, Ramblings

 

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18 responses to “Being Hospitalized …… the 5 percent

  1. tashastraveltroves

    February 9, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    22 days (if 11 feb takes place) will be a long time but I am happy to hear that you have paid more attention to the 95% and not the 5% that disregard you as a human being. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It gave me a new perspective of fellow co-workers in the hospital setting.

     
    • FlaHam

      February 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on my current post. I started that post with full intent of land blasting the 5 percent and only expressing thanks to the 95. But as I started I realized I really shouldn’t waste my time on the 5 so I didn’t. The 95 have been wonderful to me, they have made these 3 weeks bearable. It is them I thank. Please take care, and hopefully you will find other of my writing enjoyable. Take care, Bill .

       
    • FlaHam

      February 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      I really appreciate your comments and if it gives you anything at all we both win. The 95 are the important ones, and they need to be recognized as much as possible. But the 5 pct can not be ignored, they need to be trained or sensitized or head slapped like on NCIS. Again thank you for your comments and concern I really appreciate them. Take care, Bill

       
  2. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    February 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Hey Bill! What a great post. You make an excellent point with the asking of the question, “How are you feeling?” Communication is so vital and the more real and authentic the better each feels when involved. I remember a friend, a UCLA ER Teaching physician, telling me that communication isn’t taught to the medical students. Nursing students don’t get much either, outside of some on empathetic listening. I just wonder how a patient would feel if “we” walked in the room and said, you’d don’t look too good? Even writing it here makes me cringe because it feels like negative feedback and “we’re” so programmed to want to help, give positive feedback, hope, but then where’s the real and authentic? I loved that you brought that up and thank you. It made me look at my own area of discomfort.

    About the 5%. That’s a real tough one, for a patient and others who work with them. And, the worst part is that 5% seems like act like a gas, doesn’t matter the size of the particle-it permeates the whole space it occupies. Being kind can change the way someone thinks and positive thought enhance the immune system (release serotonin and endorphins) where as “negative” attitudes tend to do just the opposite and release adrenaline and cortisone which in fact suppress the immune system. I don’t know why “we” can’t tackle these bad attitudes head on for the sake of healing and those we so dearly care about really helping but “we” for the most part tend to let them go.

    I sure do hope you get to go home on Monday but more significantly I hope you’re well enough to go home on Monday. Thank goodness it’s even a question on the horizon. I’m rooting for you, my friend. Paulette

     
    • FlaHam

      February 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      Paulette, If the doctor walked into the room and told me I didn’t look good and could attribute to something, a test, a x-ray, hell even a feeling, or whatever and then proceed to have a useful dialog from that point it would be great. I think a lot of us patients know we look like shit, and having a doctor start at a known point would be quite beneficial. But questions without dialog are useless. This is the longest period of time I have been in the hospital with pneumonia. It wasn’t until the last couple that I even cared how long. I know when I am alert and conscious of what’s going on around me I have made the turn. Now thru the rest of the weekend I need to continue to make positive progress. That will be the key to me escaping Monday.

      Take care and have a great weekend. Bill

       
      • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

        February 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm

        Thanks Bill. That’s a really great point about opening up a useful dialog from a point of trying to resolve something with open discussions, tests, and working together to sort out how to help someone feel better. It is a long time to be in the hospital and I sure do hope that you continue to be well enough to go home Monday. Sending you good thoughts that you do continue to make positive progress. Hugs, Paulette

         
  3. jmgoyder

    February 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I know those 5% too from my previous experience as a nurse so I was terribly worried about this when Ants went into the nursing lodge, but so far so good, fingers crossed.
    I continue to keep you in my thoughts, Bill, as you recover. Juliexxx

     
  4. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    February 11, 2013 at 11:21 am

    It’s Monday and I am wondering how you are doing, Bill? Praying it’s well enough for you to be home when you read this. Paulette

     
    • FlaHam

      February 11, 2013 at 11:25 am

      Paulette. Soft gently little kiss, thank you so much for your ongoing concern and warmth. I was discharged from the hospital at 5pm last night, I am now home and starting the recovery process. I am sure glad you stumbled upon my blog and posts. It has been a great please getting to know you. Take care, Bill

       
      • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

        February 11, 2013 at 11:35 am

        Happy dance that you’re home, Bill. And I am very grateful for this really lovely connection with you, you handsome devil! 🙂

         
        • FlaHam

          February 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm

          Paulette, I don’t know about handsome, right now I look like the pillsbury doughboy grizzle Adams love child. I look forward to a continue dialog with you. You seem like a very sweet and lovely woman. Take care, Bill

           
          • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

            February 17, 2013 at 10:11 am

            Just checking back in to let you know I’m thinking of you and sure do hope you’re stable, comfortable, and happy to be home. Big hug to you, Bill. Paulette

             
  5. cnotez

    February 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Your opening description is so perfect. When I had spinal cord surgery, that’s exactly what it’s like. My mom shows me post surgery photographs and I have no recollection of any of it. It’s not funny at the time, but looking back, I can chuckle. Seeing pictures of myself relearning to walk makes me laugh. In the midst of all the medical crap that happens, we must find humor in it. Like the doc asking you how you feel. Really? How do you think I feel? I enjoy your insights. Thanks for sharing.
    Best wishes
    -cnote

     
    • FlaHam

      February 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Cnote, You have your own challenges and I wish you great success overcoming those that face you. Keep your spirits high. I am glad though that you found a tiny bit in my post to put a smile on your lips, and a touch of understanding. Please take care, Bill

       
  6. rebecca2000

    February 16, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    The 95% is who matters. 100% of us adore you. 🙂

     
    • FlaHam

      February 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Rebecca, Thank you for your kind words. I adore you as well, and truly enjoy our exchanges. Please take care, and btw I do believe you are much funnier than #44 I would have voted 100 times had I had 100 days. — Bill

       
  7. Gabi

    February 17, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I´m glad that you are at home now and that you feel better!
    Best wishes
    Gabi

     
  8. Debbie

    February 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Glad that you are home and starting the road to recovery!! Take care oxox

     

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