Tag Archives: Intensive-care medicine

Some Observations on Hospital Stays

English: Symbol of hospital. Italiano: Indicaz...
English: Symbol of hospital. Italiano: Indicazione di ospedale. (Fig. II 104 art. 125 CdS) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

missjunebug is not an authority on much. She’s a self-described dilettante and proud of it. Knowing a little about a lot is not a bad thing, but she knows she’ll never be called to testify as anyone’s expert witness, unless, maybe the subject is hospital stays.

Sad to say, missjunebug is becoming something of an expert in this area completely against her will. But there you have it. All that hopeful nonsense in her first post of 2015 about being cancer-free and happy to be was short-lived indeed. That is the very tricky nature of this very tricky condition as no doubt so many of you know.

The other tricky part is not just surviving the recurrence of cancer, but surviving the hospital stay that follows the required surgery. Although her surgeon would probably not agree, the easy part is the surgery. missjunebug has no idea what goes on during her six-hour stint in the operating room (Praise God for anesthesiologists!). It’s the aftermath that she is keenly aware of for what feels like forever and then some.

To continue her slow but sure healing, missjunebug is doing a little therapeutic venting of her most angst-ridden hospital stay highlights.

missjunebug’s Most Hated Things: The Hospital Stay Edition:

1. IVs and NG tubes (the WORST)

2. Foley Catheters

3. Alarmed machines triggered by random movements especially in ICU (Boo ICU!)

4. TPN: Total Parental Nutrition (IV-fed glucose breakfast, lunch and dinner)

5. Blood test for Blood sugar/insulin imbalance every six hours (because of #4)

6. Insulin shots every 6 hours depending on results from #5

7. Vital signs checked every few hours (4? 5? 6? hours–missjunebug can’t remember, but trust her–it was frequent!)

8. Early morning blood draw every day for other blood testing

9. Nightly protonics shot or port injection, the bulwark against indigestion and gastric issues–missjunebug is super thankful for her little power port!

10. The deadening power of too much terrible cable television

11. The endlessness of a single day where there are no normal meal times and no spontaneous moments of social conviviality

12. The inability to shower

13. The complicated nature of sponge baths

14. The itchy over-sized hospital gowns

15. The parade of doctors (all skilled and good and dedicated) checking on their part of the patient they are in charge of

16. The relentlessness of the insufferably upbeat physical therapists to teach missjunebug the log roll and the reverse log roll and the mastery of the walker and eventually the stairs. It makes her tired just thinking about it again.

17. The continuous postponement of departure to the next day, no not today, maybe tomorrow, says her doctor.

18. The gradual re-introduction of clear liquids, full liquids, soft, low residue diet, and finally REAL FOOD.

19. The question asked and answered daily, “Have you passed gas? Had a bowel movement?” Yes and yes. Believe missjunebug when she says BMs are a very big deal after pelvic/abdominal surgery.

20. Until finally the last hurdle: the first round of chemotherapy administered. This may seem impossibly counterintuitive, but as they say “Studies show…” that the quicker the chemo is after surgery, the less likely the cancer will regroup, regrow, and return. Hmmm. missjunebug is not entirely convinced. It might be more accurate to say it will delay the return of this most miserable of maladies.

So there you have it. Haters gotta hate and missjunebug HATES being in the hospital.

That being said, missjunebug’s stay was survivable for two very important reasons:

1. The push-button dilaudid drip.

2. The compassionate care of the cadre of oncology nurses administering missjunebug’s Most-Hated Things list. Thanks, thanks, and thanks again to the nurses at LRH! You rock! You roll! You rule! missjunebug hopes not to see you again soon.