As I tried to get a bit of sleep in the Emergency Department, I was actually listening to those around me and realizing even more than ever the decline of our healthcare system. The majority of those behind the curtains around me, were there with issues that could/should have been dealt with by their family doctor, if they had one. Innumerable cases of flu were assessed and the fact they had to attend the Emergency Department due to the lack of doctors accepting patients, is asinine.
Anyway, after not getting any sleep, the nurse arrived at 4 am to advise they’d found me a bed. As I climbed into the wheelchair to make my way to my room I commented, “This is stupid. Who the hell is released at 4 am?” She smiled and said, “No-one, but the beds manage to not show up in the system until, whenever. ”
We made our way to the fourth floor of the hospital, and my new home for the next few days. I couldn’t wait to be somewhere quieter where I might be able to get a bit of sleep. Mind you, I’d spent the last week sleeping 16-18 per day but my body had obviously been telling me it needed the rest to repair itself. When we arrived the nurse apologized and said she had to take my vitals, again, before signing me over to the nurse here, who would also have to take my vitals. Not that I want to knock them having to do their jobs but the nurse who took over also had to ask me a series of questions. Excuse me! I’ve been up most of the night, my brain is recovering from a major shock, it’s 4:30 am and you want a freakin’ history? Whatever. I answered the questions and lay back to try to get some rest. Good luck with that one. Between my roommate snoring – she was too far away to poke to make her roll over – the call bells going off constantly, and the noisy wheels on the various carts roaming the halls, sleep was not to be had.
You soon learn the rhythm of the hospital and the lights in the hall brighten at 7 am. The nurses change shift at that time and suddenly folks start arriving. There’s the vampire from the lab to take more blood, the day nurse to check vitals, then by 8 am the gal is there with breakfast. Sadly, I hadn’t seen the dietitian yet so I couldn’t say what I wouldn’t ear and most of my first breakfast and lunch went uneaten. I’m not a picky eater but porridge and food with mayo where there is more vinegar then egg….not to my liking.
By the time breakfast arrived, the doctors were starting rounds. Well, I had the best seat in the house! The doctor would meet each nurse at a station right outside of my door and, while I avoided listening in on the info of other patients, my ears perked up as soon as I heard “Middleton”. Me being me, I figured maybe I’d overhear more than they might be willing to tell me. It never happened.
I’ve now completed some research and the first three doctors to see me, other than the one in emerg, are internists and I, was an anomaly. I didn’t fall into any of the groups likely to have a stroke; non-smoking, not a heavy drinker, no diabetes, no blood pressure issue, no cholesterol issues, no recent trauma to the head. I was a mystery…should we be surprised? Anyway, they decided I needed an MRI and MRA (MRI with dye to show the veins) before release. Sadly, I’d been admitted on a long weekend and no-one staffed that machine on weekends or holidays. My luck!
To keep me busy, there were doctors and nurses arriving throughout the day to give me various balance and cognitive tests. I really got tired of repeating them over and over but some were done daily (I was in hospital for four days) to ensure I didn’t deteriorate. By the last day I started telling them I could do the tests, and I could answer for my roommate as well. My legal name is Merri , pronounced Mary, and my roomie was Mary as well. She was born August 28th, 1932, in Croatia. She emigrated to Canada in 1957. She has one daughter and two grandchildren, one boy and one girl. She is diabetic and had issues with some of the tests due to language barriers and being able to read or write particular words in English.
During my time in hospital I also saw an intern specializing in neurological medicine, as well as a neurologist – she’s the one I get to see again after my follow-up CT scan in early September. I also met with a stroke team; occupational therapist, physical therapist, stroke nurse and speech therapist. They, and the rest of the medical staff quickly learned, I don’t let things get me down or hold me back. I was told I wouldn’t need any speech or occupational therapy and, it was suggested I use a walker they brought, for walks in the hall. My first walk, with the physical therapist and a nurse, I went twice the distance they expected me to and the nurse wandered off as she saw she wasn’t needed. My second walk, with my kids, I just rested the tips of my fingers on the walker as I didn’t want to be dependent on it. The next day the physical therapist arrived again to see if I could do the walk without the walker. Just watch me go lady! I was wearing my own pj’s, one of the items my partner brought up to me to help me cope, and while they are the most comfie things imaginable, they aren’t something to wear when you’re slightly off balance and trying to impress the therapist. However, I held the pant legs up and did a full circuit of the hallway without any help. Sure, I was still off balance a bit, but I wasn’t bouncing off the walls anymore.
The internist came by to see me shortly after this and advised that it had been decided I wouldn’t need any assistance upon leaving the hospital and we were just waiting for the MRI and MRA, so they could try to determine, why this happened to begin with. As he put it, “You don’t seem to have any major disabilities.” My immediate response, “You obviously haven’t met my family!” Sorry, folks but I’ve had two CT scans, an MRI and an MRA, they’ve found proof I have a brain and the stroke didn’t affect the smartass section!
Signing off for now. I may post more later, maybe tomorrow. We’ll see. Take care all!