Friday, September 5, 2014

First, Do No Harm

While Hubby's surgeon was great at understanding this, I fear the majority of the medical staff we encountered after surgery were not familiar with the concept.  I understand those folks have a difficult job to do, but it's not easy to remember that when they keep telling you to get some rest...then take turns waking you up every 2 hours to "check" something. 

It wasn't the nurses who were the problem, (well, except for the chubby chick we dubbed "Nurse Ratchet" who'd had her personality/ability to care surgically removed).  No, it was all the "Specialists".  The surgeon came by the afternoon and morning after the surgery, then advised with a sigh, that he'd done his job and Hubby would have to deal with, "The others".  Sounded like a bad horror movie title... which wasn't far from the truth.

From taking blood to checking for skin breakdown (a mere 10 hours after surgery) and rotating physical therapists with contradictory advice,  there was the introduction of the newest medical fad: "The Hospitalist".  Interesting concept.  Take a physician who doesn't have a private practice, let them do a history on the patient, then check in from time to time to insure he/she is still breathing. Because even though the Hospitalist is a full fledged physician, another "Doctor" on call decided on the meds. When Hubby mentioned his recent trip to Africa, it's a good thing I was in the room.  I have to wonder about medicine when the spouse has to volunteer the trip's location was nowhere near the Ebola outbreak, because the Hospitalist was more interested in the animals which were seen.  Her reply to my information?  "Oh.  Well, I guess that's good to know."

Hubby's personal physician came by the next  morning and informed him with a grin,"Your chart is an interesting read.  Besides your total knee replacement, they noted you hunt in Africa."


But of all the future billings we will receive, there will be one from a "doctor" whose name I still don't know.  Probably because she never came any closer than one foot inside the door.  She did announce her name and rank among the medical experts, but she never laid a hand on Hubby.  In fact, she didn't even get close to him until the day of his discharge when he challenged her observation that he needed a CAT scan.  He inquired as to why, she stated she didn't like that his oxygen level went down the night before.  I wasn't there, but I can just hear Hubby telling her through gritted teeth that the level barely dropped and it was because he hadn't gotten more than 2 hours sleep there in 4 days!  She said he might have a pulmonary embolism, which is life threatening.  Hubby shot back that he had none of the symptoms and again questioned it. She listened to his chest and when he asked Doctor Who? if there was a problem, she merely walked out.  An hour later the test was canceled.  Two hours later I was taking Hubby home.

He's not exactly comfortable yet, but it's only been a week since surgery and today was Day 3 of outpatient physical therapy, which continues through early October.  His personal physician, who's also an archery customer, called us the first day home to see why the CT scan was canceled...and agreed with Hubby that in this case, it was medical overkill.  If the doctor had truly been concerned, a simple blood test would've made the determination.

So you may not hear much from me, but I'm still reading what you're up to.  It's a long road ahead, but I hear in the long run he'll be glad he did this.  Which is good...since he needs to have the other knee done as well.

Thanks for good thoughts and appeals to whatever you believe in to keep my patience level appropriate.


Ponita in Real Life said...

Oy. Well, at least the hospital part is over and done with (other than the billing), and he's in good hands. If he'd had a pulmonary embolus, you'd have both known it. The difficulty breathing is pretty intense and it's not just a slight drop in blood oxygen. Sounds like that doc was just trying to justify her existence. It will take a few months before his knee feels really good, but yes, it will be worth it. Keep up the good work, Hope and Hubby!! Sending healing vibes your way. :-)

hope said...

Thanks for the reassuring words. We knew pain was part of the results, and Hubby has a very high threshold for it, but he does seem to be experiencing more than anticipated. Then again, the Doc said Hubby had the toughest bones he's ever encountered, so I'm guessing that was medical for, "Man, is THIS gonna hurt for a while!"

Ponita in Real Life said...

Bone pain is one of the worst, and it can take a long time to settle. It's one thing to have chronic pain that develops over time, and another to have this that is caused rather abruptly by his procedure. Don't forget they sawed away part of his bones to make room for the new knee. While he should not 'baby' himself more than necessary, he does need adequate pain control, the need for which will decrease as he heals. Give it time... it hasn't been very long since his surgery! I'll keep those healing vibes flowing. :-)

savannah said...

i'm late reading, but sending tons of love and positive thoughts for your Hubby! xoxoxo