Thursday, May 16, 2013

On Hospitals

I spent Monday night and half of Tuesday at the hospital with my daughter. She had persistent abdominal pain, which eventually had us headed to the emergency. Different tests were done and an ultrasound was scheduled for the morning because appendicitis was a concern. We were given a choice to go home and return in the morning, or to stay overnight. My daughter opted to stay because they have, as she said, “the good drugs.” That really help ease pain. I stayed and insisted hubby go home. “I’ll call you if there’s anything” I said. He went very reluctantly.


I was given a chair, a blanket and a pillow --- my bed for the night. When my daughter seemed comfortable enough, I curled up in the chair like a pretzel, planted both feet up along the bed railings, changed positions several times, and dozed on and off for the next few hours.

 
Across from my daughter, an elderly woman who had fallen and fractured her right shoulder got up in the middle of the night extremely confused. She wandered around the ward convinced she was in her home. Got upset and even aggressive at times. Accused the staff of a variety of things. Pointed at another patient and accused him of sleeping in her bed. Wandered over to my daughter’s bed at 4 AM and insisted that it was her son. Even hit a staff member at one point when she felt they were maltreating her as they patiently directed her back to her space. It was all so very sad. This could be my mother, I thought. Or me, in the future.


As we waited outside the ultrasound rooms in the morning, many other patients were wheeled in alongside my daughter for their own appointments. Some of them quite frail. In pain. Lying helplessly on their beds or sitting hopelessly in their wheelchairs. There was some optimism in their eyes. But mostly distress. And fear. Everyone has their own story, I told myself. And there are people who love and care and worry about them. The way we love and care and worry about my daughter.


Hospitals are unnerving. They make me anxious. The last time I’d been in one was when my father passed away. I had just visited him a few hours earlier and then had returned when I received a call after midnight of his passing. It’s not a pleasant memory. And hospitals are a reminder of that. Of his death. And of all the terminally ill people I saw every time I visited him during the three weeks he was in the cancer ward. Lying in their beds. Frightened. Resigned. Waiting for that final moment.


Whenever I'm at a hospital, the gloominess of it all disturbs me. Why are the rooms and hallways so dingy? Cold? Colourless? Why can’t they be slightly more pleasant? Brighter? What does it take to add a nice colour to the walls and hang up a pretty picture frame or two? Why can’t the ailing be in visually satisfying settings? Why do they spend days, weeks or months in such drab and depressing surroundings? I honestly believe that this has a profoundly negative psychological impact on them. And that no patient should be placed in an environment like that, particularly the terminally ill. Whether we can or cannot cure the bodies, we should nourish the minds. The souls.

Sigh...


The hospital rooms and corridors were depressing, but the staff was wonderful. In the end, there was nothing conclusive. “If it is appendicitis” the doctor said “The pain will return within a day or two, at which point you will bring her back in.” She also suspected that it may have been an ovarian cyst, which technically is something that ovulating women have every month. They are usually painless and unnoticeable, and dissolve on their own within several days. But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they rupture and the pain experienced is akin to passing a kidney stone. Ouch...

Everything has been fine up until now, and I am so grateful for that. I pray that it stays that way.

38 comments:

  1. I'm glad your daughter is fine, and has easy access to quality medical care -- both of you are in my prayers! I totally understand what you mean about hospitals. These days some of the better ones do try to renovate into a more "hotel-y" style, but I guess it's hard when many of the people themselves are uncomfortable, sad or fearful.

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    1. Brighter surroundings provide a more serene and uplifting environment. I think that this is important psychologically. I am grateful, though, for having quality medical care.

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  2. Oh I know how terrible hospitals are, I truly hope you and your daughter will get out of there soon...Healing thoughts to you and your family.

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    1. The wonderful staff makes up for the dreary surroundings. Thank goodness for them.

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  3. I'm so glad of the outcome for your daughter - and I'm sooo with you on hospitals and their lack of color and blandness - they make an already uncomfortable time even more so.
    XOX

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    1. Some of the wards are so horribly depressing. A little colour and an uplifting environment would be nice.

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  4. Very glad your daughter didn't require a longer stay. Hopefully,she won't experience any more pain. Hospitals! I agree, they could be much cheerier looking.The sad fact is that most of us end up there because something has gone wrong. It would be more uplifting to at least have pleasant surroundings.

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    1. A little boost to the morale with a brighter environment certainly wouldn't hurt. We are visual creatures, after all.

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  5. Sorry to hear about your daughter, but good to know she is feeling better. I've been spending my fair share in the hospital and nursing home with my very ill father and I've been praying God takes him soon because he has absolutely no quality of life.

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    1. I'm so sorry about your father. I hope he finds peace soon. It's heartbreaking to see someone you love in such a state.

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  6. I know how you feel... My husband broke his leg in March and had to stay with temporary cast for a weekend before surgery. They put him in the stroke ward, drugged him up good and didn't feed him for 4 days! I sat in the chair, and watched him sleep and listened to the hospital sounds around me. There are some excellent people working those brutal 12 hour shifts. Hope your daughter bounces back!

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    1. The staff was amazing. They really had their hands full that night. I admire the work that they do, and the care that they provide.

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  7. A hospital stay is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. Last time I was in hospital, some guy in the next room went berserk (the DTs or something, I suspect) and trashed his room. They had to hose it down afterwards. He disappeared, probably to the psych ward. Thank goodness he wasn't in MY room, LOL!

    Glad your daughter is okay now -- may she continue to be so.

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    1. Yes, a hospital stay is definitely not for the faint of heart! Thank goodness that didn't happen in your hospital room! Poor guy... I hope they were able to help him.

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  8. I agree, hospitals are unnerving
    hope we all always get healthy
    Health is precious

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    1. There is nothing more important than good health!

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  9. Hospital psychosis is a very real condition that can happen when there is a prolonged stay... When I was working, we would often try to move patients at risk to the sunny side of the floor and give them the window bed to help... not that it always did and it's very sad.

    I'm glad your daughter is okay and hope she stays that way.









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    1. A window and a little sunshine can do wonders. It's nice that you would do that!

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  10. I hope your daughter stays ok and I hope they can help that older lady too. I agree that hospitals should be cleaned and brightened up. I love the pics!

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    1. I hope they help that elderly lady, too. The state she was in was quite heartbreaking.

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  11. Hi Martha,
    I also hate hospital, bad memories...
    Hope your daughter gets well soon!
    Nice series of photos here, thanks for sharing!
    You have asked a question about what camera I used and what lens:
    Cardinal rouge
    It's all written in my blog in the Page Menu under the banner.
    For macro it is the Sigma 150 mm and the camera is a Nikon D2100.
    Cheers, XOX

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    1. Thanks for the info! On another visit to your blog, I did notice that you had that information available. I didn't pay attention the first time!

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  12. Well, at least the staff at your hospital was wonderful.
    The last time Richard was in hospital, the nurses LAUGHED at me when I tried to explain celiac disease to them.
    By the way, has your daughter ever been tested for this? It is only just becoming better known in the USA. (Due to the efforts of a great doctor from Italy who lives in Baltimore, Maryland now.)
    Hope your daughter is better soon!

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    1. I've heard of celiac disease, but don't really know exactly what it is. I suspect most people don't. Sometimes you have to push a little to get some answers.

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  13. i hope your daughter is doing okay. My mother used to get a lot of those cysts you mentioned, she had a large one in her left ovary once which would not dissolve on its own at first but eventually it did, i get them too.
    As for hospitals you're right, the energy is very depressing in those places, i truly admire all the staff that work there. i always shield before going into one otherwise i come back with attachments and emotional ones aswell which arent my own!

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    1. I admire the staff, too, and how they manage to stay sane surrounded by all that they see and deal with on a daily basis. It is a very tough job.

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  14. Poor kid. Poor you! Hospitals are truly places that make you think...

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  15. I'm glad that your daughter is doing well! Definitely scary. I've spent a lot of time in hospitals with my mom, my mother-in-law and myself ~ so I can relate to all that you were experiencing. As a patient, I found it all quite fascinating! Many of the employees are compassionate and kind. Ovarian cysts are no fun, and boy can they hurt! I hope your daughter doesn't have that! Take care

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    1. The employees were wonderful. This is the first time I'd been to our local hospital, and I was very pleased with the staff.

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  16. Martha, I am grateful you balanced this post with wonderful photos that offered hope. I know what you mean about the 'state' of hospitals in general. You know, I feel they look so bad because the powers that be have their priorities wrong....I know, what else is new....if we hollered loud enough as a group, they would listen and do something. People need to care enough to do anything I guess.
    I really hope your daughter is feeling better soon. And that you catch up on your rest.

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    1. Yes, the powers that be certainly have their priorities wrong! So much money is wasted on nonsense. If we only budgeted properly, and got rid of that waste, all these little things would be possible. And yes, we need to holler! LOL...

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  17. I hope your daughter is on the mend now and has no on going problems, have a restful weekend.

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  18. Unfortunately, so many of the memories associated with hospitals are negative. I completely agree that the surroundings have an effect on the patient, and it seems this is now recognized in hospital design. Our new hospital here in Brampton is relatively bright and cheery compared to its predecessor. Very best wishes going out to you and your daughter for a good outcome.

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    1. The Brampton hospital sounds great. Perhaps it will encourage other hospitals to do the same. I certainly hope so.

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  19. Well, that sounded quite nightmareish, but at least she was in the right place. I hope that her troubles never came back and that she continues to thrive now.. Thanks for sharing this, it reminds one of the good work they do in very difficult circumstances and financial cuts..

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    1. Indeed. Even with all the circumstances and cuts they face, the staff does an amazing job.

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